Last week the Saints came into the game having struggled all season long to move the ball on offense, leading many to speculate if offensive Pete Carmichael would be relieved from his play calling duties. Instead the Indy defense bought Carmichael more time as last week we all watched as the Colts defensive backs made Derek Carr look like Drew Brees. And the New Orleans Saints left Indianapolis with a win.
Offensively the Colts moved the ball very well in the first half, mostly due to a strong rushing attack from Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor. They put up 20 points by halftime and it was looking like we were going to have a shootout. Instead the Saints took a page out of the Jacksonville Jaguars playbook and decided to load the box. Thus far under Shane Steichen the Colts offense has refused to run the football into a defensive front that they don’t have an advantage over. In general this is a good thing. Why run into a loaded box when throwing the football is so obviously the better thing to do given what the defense is showing?
The problem comes when your quarterback is unable to win despite the advantage the defensive is giving him and like it or not, so far this season, when teams bring in a base set that provides a large advantage to the passing offense Gardner Minshew has been unable to take advantage. Meanwhile, Zack Moss broke a 41 yard run after running into a loaded box in a short yardage situation. I’m not suggesting that running into a loaded box is something the Colts should focus on. What I am suggesting is that maybe when your two running backs are as good as the Colts are and you’re starting a backup quarterback who hasn’t been able to beat opponents with his arm when they take away the run game, maybe you should just continue to run the ball until game situation dictates that you stop. Don’t go away from what you do best, force your will on your opponent. Play choice needs to be smart, that’s true, but at the end of the day this game is about violently getting your opponent to do something they don’t want to do, against their will.
If the Panthers load the box and the Colts continue to check out to pass plays, today could be another very long day for Colts fans. And today’s game comes with the added joy of potentially losing to former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich. There is no way this game means as much to Shane Steichen as it does to Frank Reich, so if nothing else, today will provide a very interesting coaching matchup to watch.
This is your week nine open thread so hang out here, chat, celebrate, commiserate, and argue in the comments! Go wild (within reason)!