The Simple: Colts ran for over 200 yards
The Colts’ running game was the staple of the offense last season, and the main reason the team was winning football games. This year, injuries to Jonathan Taylor, and a massive regression of offensive line play had the Colts ranked 31st in EPA per rushing attempt, and the passing game struggled mightily because of it. Against the Raiders, the Colts managed to put up over 200 yards on the ground, thanks in big part due to JT’s 66-yard touchdown and a surprising Matt Ryan 39-yard scramble. Even though the Raiders’ run defense has been terrible this year, it was definitely encouraging watching signs of life from the running game, and it will be interesting watching if this was just a mirage or if there really has been a turnaround against a stout Eagles’ front.
The Complicated: Raiders held to 3.2 yards per carry, Colts fumble the ball twice, Matt Ryan averaged 7.9 yards per attempt, Parris Campbell over 50 yards again.
The Colts’ run defense was once again dominant, spearheaded by an impeccable performance once again by DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, while linebackers Bobby Okereke and Zaire Franklin were 1-2 in tackles, as Josh Jacobs was held under 80 yards on 21 carries.
A worrying number is that the Colts had troubles with holding on to the football again on Sunday, a recurrent problem this year. Wide receiver Keke Coutee fumbled the ball after a big catch and run, and the Raiders recovered it, while MPJ recovered his own fumble luckily, as a turnover there would have been a killer for Indy.
With the emergence of the running game, the passing game was much better suited for the complementary role it was designed to serve. Quick hitters and letting the receivers get some yards after the catch, the Colts’ passing offense was rather straightforward on Sunday. Sure, this approach might not work against some better teams, but against the Raiders it worked to perfection, as Ryan was kept clean throughout the game and he finished with a healthy 7.9 yards per attempt.
Wide receiver Parris Campbell had 4 games with over 50 combined yards in his first 4 years in the NFL, he has that same number already this season, and on Sunday he even added a touchdown. He seems rejuvenated, and happy to be out there finally producing. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent once the season ends, but hopefully he sticks around long term for the team.