The Simple: Colts allowed just 3-10 third down conversions, 1-2 on 4th down, 2-2 in the redzone.
The Colts’ defense did an amazing job on Sunday, containing the Chiefs’ offense to just a 30% conversion rate on third down, and managed to stop one of the two 4th down attempts (the fake field goal). This is exceptional because Kansas City has ranked top 3 in third down conversion every single season with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, so being able to get him off the field consistently was something I did not expect from a defense that had just allowed solid games to Davis Mills and Trevor Lawrence. The other stat that easily explains why the Colts won is that they were 2-2 in the redzone, after starting off the year just 2-5. A big reason for this is massive rookie tight end Jelani Woods, who caught both of his targets for touchdowns, the first for one-yard, and the other for the game winning 12-yard score. The Colts have a plethora of big bodied receivers, and also have the best running back in the NFL, so their redzone issues were most surely just transitory.
The Complicated: Colts had just 4.2 yards per pass, now rank third last in yards per play (4.8), third last in passing plays over 20 yards (just 3).
Let’s not let the win cover up the abysmal start the offense is having this year. After getting shutout by the Jaguars, the unit once again struggled, and had it not been for a muffed punt inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line, and the Chris Jones unsportsmanlike conduct flag (two unforced errors) we would be calling for Reich’s head right now. The supposed “offensive mastermind” is having the most awful start in his tenure as the Colts’ head coach. On Sunday, quarterback Matt Ryan averaged just 4.2 yards per pass, not ideal at all. Ryan’s 6.6 YPA so far this season has been Jacoby Brissett level of bad. No passing offense means that opposing defenses can key on stopping Jonathan Taylor, and the Colts now rank third last in yards per play this season. Not only are we not moving the ball consistently down the field, but we are also not getting any sort of explosive passing plays, with just 3 completions over 20 yards, and one was to Ashton Dulin in garbage time against the Jaguars. Of course, this could be attributed to the now patented Frank Reich slow starts (TM), and having once again a new quarterback to start the season certainly does not help, but the Colts offense has just too much talent to be performing this badly, and that falls on the head coach.