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Matchups to Watch revisited: Week 3 @Ravens

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

DeForest Buckner vs. Josh Simpson / Kevin Zeitler

Buckner was not as dominant as the first two weeks of the season, registering just one pressure and two run stops, as it was evident the Ravens were trying to avoid him, but the rest of the defensive line once again stepped up, with Samson Ebukam and Kwity Paye leading the charge. This is a very fun to watch unit, and the first time in quite some time that I can remember the Colts’ defensive line as such a cohesive and productive position group.

Odafe Oweh vs. Bernhard Raimann / Braden Smith

Thankfully Odafe Oweh was not active against the Colts, but it was former Texan defensive end Jadeveon Clowney who stepped up to the plate, registering 6 total pressures and a sack. Smith was his main victim, as the right tackle once again had a rough game, being the weak link in the Colts’ offensive line. Hats off to Bernhard Raimann, as I don’t feel he is getting nearly enough credit as he deserves. Remember last season when the left tackle position was such a mess it was close to being a nationwide scandal? Well how many times did you hear Raimann’s name this year? The Austrian giant is playing like a top 10 tackle this year, continuing his impressive play from last year.

Gardner Minshew vs. Ravens’ pass defense

Clean, but unimpressive game from Gardner Minshew, as the faults that prevent him from being in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks were on display against the Ravens. The sample size is not big enough to analyze, but there is a trend of Minshew going to his checkdown way too much, instead of taking the big play downfield, and at times it was wide open. This is great because it keeps turnovers low, as once again he finished the game without interceptions and has one of the lowest interception rates of the NFL, but at times it meant that the Colts left points on the field. Also, while Minshew is no statue in the pocket, he does not have good mobility or scrambling ability, which is almost imperative in today’s NFL.

Matt Gay vs. Baltimore’s stadium/weather

Oh my! Talk about establishing yourself as a big game kicker. Gay had the best performance for a Colts’ kicker in Baltimore since Adam Vinatieri’s 5 field goal day in the 2007 playoffs. Four 50+ yards kicks, perfect on all 5 kicks, game tying field goal with less than a minute remaining, and then the game-winner in overtime. It simply does not get any more clutch than that. How nice it is to have a kicker that can routinely get it right from 50+, and is almost automatic inside that range.

Shane Steichen vs. John Harbaugh

There were some nuggets here and there, like Steichen forcing Harbaugh to waste a timeout in the first half, and the Colts kicking the ball deep after the safety trusting that instinct would kick and the Ravens would call a fair catch right before the two-minute warning (if that was planned it is ridiculously genious). Through 3 games I am thoroughly impressed with Steichen’s intellect, play-desing, and adaptability. We definitely got ourselves a good one for the upcoming years.