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Shane Steichen’s best/worst decisions: Week 3 vs Ravens

Reviewing the Colts’ coaching staff (or general manager) most important decisions made during the game

Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Best Decisions

Pressure designs on Lamar Jackson

17 pressures on 45 passing attempts on 2021, 16 pressures on 35 passing attempts this year, the Colts’ defense had a marked improvement bringing pressure on Lamar. The new and improved defensive line once again had a good game, and did not allow Jackson to get too comfortable in the pocket. With a more favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, this unit could blow up next week.

Giving Matt Gay the highest contract for a kicker in free-agent history last offseason

This is more of a Chris Ballard decision than Shane Steichen, but I have to give credit to the Colts’ decision makers for signing Matt Gay this past offseason. Gay is the reason the Colts won on Sunday, it is as simple as that. He made four 50+ yard field goals, including the game tying kick and the game winning. I can’t think of a more defining performance from a kicker in Colts’ history.

Deep passing play designs

The Ravens were blitzing like crazy and leaving the cornerbacks one-on-one with the receivers. Steichen saw that and there were several instances where the Colts’ receivers were wide open deep. There was also one particular play were Braden Smith lost his guy where if he had held on to him Pierce was wide open for six, and several instances throughout the game were Minshew went to his checkdown too fast, which I am not complaining about as that is his style of play, instead of throwing it deep to a wide open receiver.

Activating Julius Brents and benching Darrell Baker Jr.

The Colts’ secondary usually plays a soft zone defense, which relies a lot on physical tackling to prevent yards after the catch. Darrell Baker Jr. seemed to slack off a bit on several plays against Houston, and the lack of effort resulted in him being a healthy scratch against the Ravens, and rookie cornerback Julius Brents took his starting spot. Juju played 74% percent of the snaps, got 4 tackles, a forced fumble and recovery, and a key pass breakup on Mark Andrews. Brents is 6’3’’ and 200 pounds, and that size is an excellent fit for the Colts’ defense right now.

Worst Decisions

The final play of regulation

There were no meaningful bad decisions for the second consecutive week, which makes my job here much harder but makes me really happy about Shane Steichen. The one thing I did not understand was the playcall on the final play of the game, with the ball on the Baltimore 49-yard line. I would have understood a kneel-down and just going to overtime, but the Colts seemingly ran a screen pass that resulted in an incompletion.