First of all, a big thank you to Steichen for beating former Colts’ head-coach Frank Reich in his new home. That is a big baller move, beating the guy you replaced in his new stadium, and sinking him to a 1-7 record while having the opposing fans already calling for his firing is cold, and I really like having Steichen as the head-coach of this team.
This was a weird game to judge Steichen on, as the Panthers basically beat themselves with three interceptions by Bryce Young, and that offense is somehow even worse than the Colts were last season. Basically Steichen probably knew that if he got 20 it would be almost impossible for them to lose to this Panthers’ offense that scored over 25 points just once in the entire year.
Focusing the pressure down the middle
The Panthers’ interior offensive line has been abysmal so far this season, and Bryce Young is really short for a quarterback. That usually is never a good combination to have, and Gus Bradley took full advantage of that as this was clearly the most favourable matchup considering the Colts have a monster of a human at defensive tackle that is quietly having an All-Pro caliber season. Buckner finished the game with five total pressures and a sack.
Conservative play calling after the half
Yes, the Colts offense could barely get anything going after the half-time whistle, but it is because they did not need to. Already up 17 points against an offense that was barely moving the ball, and considering how the Colts have been having turnover issues recently, there was no need to let them get right back into the game by risking a key turnover. The Colts relied on their defense and in field position, and it paid out.
Giving Darrell Baker Jr. a third chance
I was really worried about how the Colts would try and stop wide receiver Adam Thielen, considering how gloomy the situation at cornerback is at the moment. Darrell Baker Jr. had a bounceback game and showed he deserves to start in Germany against the Pats (not like the Colts have much choices). Once Brents returns from his injury hopefully after the bye week he will most likely return to the bench, but it was nice watching him play well after such a hyped training camp.
Dancing with Jim Irsay after the game
Hold up, wait a minute, ya’ll thought we were finished. - Meek Mill (and also me) pic.twitter.com/itIc8xcNF0— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) November 6, 2023
That was overall a good moment, though a bit hard to watch being completely honest. Still, it is certainly nice watching Colts’ owner Jim Irsay still having fun and being involved with the team, and kudos to Steichen for holding his hand in what seemed like an awkward moment (this is not serious)
Conservative defense after halftime
The only thing I did not like too much was the conservative defense after the first half. The Colts allowed just three points in the first two quarters, allowing under 75 yards. After the Panthers had 77, 70, and 44 yard drives. One of those ended in the pick-six that basically sealed the game, but had Young not overthrown that screen pass then the Panthers would have been in business. I will never understand prevent defense instead of going for the neck against a rookie quarterback that was clearly struggling.