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Matchups to watch Revisited: Week 8 vs. Commanders

Washington Commanders v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Sam Ehlinger making his NFL debut

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger had a solid, but unspectacular NFL debut. He made some impressive throws, including a beautiful deep strike to Alec Pierce. He was much more mobile in the pocket, avoiding what would have certainly been sacks on Matt Ryan, he established a rythm, and finished the game with a 70% completion rate. He did make a costly mistake fumbling a ball near the redzone resulting in a turnover, but overall an approved debut for the new Colts’ starting quarterback.

Colts’ IOL vs. Commanders’ defensive front

The Colts’ struggles along the offensive line continued on Sunday against a vaunted Commanders front that dominated the day. There was no push at all in the running game, and Ehlinger was pressured several times. Because of his scrambling, the Colts offensive line will also need to adjust the way they block to avoid holding penalties. Matt Pryor is still far and away the weakest link in this line, and he should not be starting next week.

Jonathan Taylor vs. Commanders’ run defense

JT reinjured his ankle early in the game after a 27-yard run and was clearly bothered by it. With a bum ankle, Taylor looks more like an average running back, and an average running back will not get much going with such a terrible offensive line and lack of creative playcalling. In the end Taylor with finished with just over 75 yards and no touchdowns, and as a JT fantasy owner I have to recognize he is among the biggest disappointments this season.

Grover Stewart vs. Tyler Larsen

Grover Stewart continued his amazing season establishing himself as one of the premier defensive tackles in the NFL. His dominance against the run is a joy to watch, and while he is not the best at rushing the passer, he can still be disruptive in that area of the game too. Stewart finished the game fourth on the team with 7 total tackles.

Stephon Gilmore / Kenny Moore vs. Terry McLaurin / Curtis Samuel

Receiver Terry McLaurin had quite a homecoming, making two big catches that led to the Commanders’ couple of touchdowns in the game: a 42-yard catch and run where he easily beat Kenny Moore and a 33-yard grab against Stephon Gilmore where he plucked the ball from the cornerback’s hands at the one-yard line. Overall not a great day at the office for the Colts’ cornerbacks.