The Indianapolis Colts fall short of beating the Tennessee Titans, losing 24-17, and now find themselves 1-2-1 with a quick Thursday night game upcoming against the Denver Broncos.
COSTLY TURNOVERS STRIKE AGAIN
Sunday’s game against the Titans felt like one the Colts needed to get back into the AFC South race, and a near second-half comeback was stifled by costly turnovers by the offense in critical situations.
The offense got in its own way early in the first, as quarterback Matt Ryan fumbled, which Tennessee took advantage of, scoring a touchdown and taking an early 7-0 lead. Leading 14-0 after a nice drive capped by a Derrick Henry touchdown, Titans defensive lineman Teair Tart batted a pass right to himself a few drives later, resulting in an untimely interception and stopping yet another offensive drive for the Colts.
After the Colts’ offense got some momentum going, late-game fumbles from Ryan and running back Jonathan Taylor would end promising drives and cost the offense a chance a tying the game at 24.
Too many turnovers through the first four weeks have really hurt the Colts. Ryan leads the league in fumbles with ten. The offense is going to continue holding back this team until they can get their turnovers under control.
RUNNING GAME, OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY REMAIN AN ISSUE
Despite a productive day from quarterback Matt Ryan through the air (356 passing yards, 2 touchdowns), as well as wide receiver Alec Pierce (4 catches, 80 yards) and tight end Mo Alie-Cox (6 catches, 85 yards, 2 touchdowns), it wasn’t enough to overcome multiple turnovers.
The offensive line struggled yet again in pass protection, surrendering three sacks to the Titans’ defensive front. Running back Jonathan Taylor couldn’t find any room to run all afternoon and had only 42 yards on 20 rushes and averaged an abysmal 2.1 yards per carry.
Coming into the game, Tennessee had the worst-ranked run defense, and the Colts’ All-Pro running back just didn’t have much room to work with. Indianapolis’ offensive line, both in pass protection and in run-blocking, hasn’t played well for most of the season, and that has to change quickly.
BIG DAYS FOR ALEC PIERCE AND MO ALIE-COX
Several of the Colts’ pass-catchers stood out Sunday. Rookie wideout Alec Pierce had a career-high 4 receptions for 80 yards, and tight end Mo Alie-Cox had 6 receptions for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The early returns on several of Indy’s offensive rookies have been positive, as tight end Jelani Woods caught two touchdowns in the team’s Week 3 victory over Kansas City and Alec Pierce has had back-to-back games with multiple receptions on big downs.
While the overall results haven’t been there in terms of wins, the Colts have to like what they’ve seen from their rookies on offense through the first four games of the season. If the offense is going to pick things up in the coming weeks, they’re going to need the rookies to continue progressing.