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  1. This is gonna be ugly. Usually, even in a blowout, you can point to a handful of plays that could have gone differently and resulted in a much closer game. I don't really feel that way in this one. Even without the two INT returns, we got outscored by 21. Sad outcome after waiting 8 months for a real Colts game. Box score Snap counts Offense, D: 49 plays, 225 yards, 10 first downs (6 passing, 3 rushing, 1 from penalty), 0/10 on third down, 0/1 on fourth down, 1/2 red zone, 4 turnovers (including the safety), -7 points (gave up 16 points on turnovers and the safety); calling this offensive showing "pathetic" is too kind, the aggregate grade doesn't emphasize the putridness of this performance QB: Tolzien was awful. Inaccurate throws, late throws, no poise in the pocket, no calm under pressure, was rattled from jump, and just got worse. Didn't keep his eyes downfield when he felt pressure, he missed almost every down field throw he attempted, and just generally played one of the worst games of QB we've seen in a long time. We had 11 total completions, and didn't have any yards in the entire third quarter. Brissett showed that he's far more talented in just 9 snaps. The sooner he learns enough of a package to start, the better. F, Brissett saved the minus Backs / receivers / TEs: The backs ran well. Gore churned out yards, Mack needs to be a tad more patient but showed his defining trait, and they both caught the ball well and earned yardage after catch. Mack's fumble is disappointing, but when you get held up and a defender starts raking, you're in trouble. Hilton's fumble was bad, but he did his job as a receiver. Not a good game to judge pass catchers. C, ball security is the only negative OL / blocking: Leaky pass pro, jumbled run blocking. There were some good individual moments, and there's reason to believe the line can play well enough if the offense ever gets into a rhythm. They created some small holes in the run game, and Gore did a good job of finding them and getting through. AC got whipped at LT, Good was decent at RT, and everyone else had good and bad moments in both phases. Still struggled picking up stunts and delayed rushers, still not good in the screen game. I put 75% of the blame for sacks on the QB. C-, so sloppy you'd think 80% of the line is changed... Defense, D+: 64 plays, 373 yards, 19 first downs, 13 passing, 5 rushing, 1 from penalty), 5/14 on third down, 2/4 red zone, 0 turnovers, 30 points; good run defense, awful pass coverage, no pass rush, no playmaking Defensive front: The run defense was pretty good. The only times Gurley got out of the backfield were when the Rams held, and those plays came back. Missed some tackles, including on the TD, which was ridiculous. Overpursued on the couple of designed counters, but for the most part they held the edge and stayed strong up the middle. Al Woods was much better than I anticipated. Pass rush didn't get home pretty much at all, and that's because we don't have pass rushers. Mingo had a couple nice rushes, Ridgeway had a couple nice beats, and Hunt got home once, but the pressure wasn't anywhere near consistent, and that's problematic because we can't cover. The ILBs were hit and miss, had some nice stops and then some poor tackling efforts, some nice covers then got beat. Bostic was very active, but his hand limits him. Morrison started out well, then faded, and maybe that's because of the injury. George was active just like in preseason, he might get more and more time with Morrison and Walker hurt. I'm continually impressed by the way Hairston supports the run and tackles. C+, the front was by far the best unit of the day, and that's with zero pass rush Pass defense: Unsurprisingly, they struggled to cover at almost every level. Any misdirection -- play action, screens, whatever -- was successful for the Rams, and then they still were able to beat us deep on a couple plays. Second level coverage had blown plays also. Top to bottom, bad coverage. There were some decent plays, but they went 22/30 on us, so we didn't cover well. The TJ Green experiment continues to have mixed results; he was flat footed at the top of Kupp's TD route, which is a continual problem for him. Melvin is not a good player; he used to at least tackle well, but no more. Wilson struggled at the point, but was again in good position; he needs more reps. D-, I knew McVay would upgrade their passing attack, but we put up zero resistance Special teams: Sad that we couldn't even get this right. Got blown up on punt returns, gave up a 35 yard kick return, and missed two field goals. Recovered a muffed punt, but not really of our own doing. And then the missed kicks by AV... when it rains, it pours. I think Sanchez's holds were bad, the ball was leaning away from the kicker on both. They'll figure that out. D, mistake city Coaching / play calling / game management, D-: Monachino didn't dial anything up to manufacture a pass rush, but really didn't have the situations to do so. The Rams countered any pressure with quick hitters (imagine that!) and kept the QB out of trouble. I didn't have any problem with his approach or gameplan, but we have to cover better. If we had a pass rush, I'd suggest more Cover 3. C I have the usual issues with Chud's play calling -- some nonsense route combos on 3rd and short, etc. And again, the inability to run a screen is a coaching issue. But inept QB play and leaky protection are the bigger issues. C- Why not challenge the goal line play? We went hurry up like we thought there was a fumble or something... And then the general lack of execution points to a lack of preparation and ability to refine your gameplan into something the team can actually perform at a winning level. Awful coaching performance from the top. F Game ball: Yeah right... Callin 'em out: Later this week, I'm bringing back "Callin 'em out," which will be a thread where we post who needs to play well for the team to win, what adjustments have to be made, what you'll have your eye on, etc., and I'll reference that thread in the grades. Next, home opener vs the Cards. Still no Luck. Who will start at QB (we already know it will be Tolzien, but here's hoping it's not), will the offense convert a third down, will we give up less than 40 points, etc. Kind of a sad state of affairs right now, but it can't get much worse than Sunday's game. GO COLTS!
  2. Week 9 grades Box score Offense, D+: 69 plays, 406 yards, 21 first downs (18 passing, 0 rushing, 3 from penalty), 2/12 on third down, 0/2 on fourth down, 1/5 in the red zone, 5 turnovers (4 interceptions, 1 lost fumble), 8 points; terrible execution early, too many mistakes as the game went on QB: Worst game of the year. Missed wide open receivers for big gains, held on to the ball too long, missed hot reads and dumpoffs in favor of highly contested throws, and the overthrows caught up to him with the pick in the middle of the field. The misreads caught up to him with the first pick in the end zone. The third pick wasn't all his fault, Fleener should have at least defended it better, but at his size, probably should have brought it in. Luck was hesitant to pull it down and run, and then came up short on the fourth down scramble. Some of this was due to poor protection, but in rewatching the game, his protection wasn't all that bad. More on the line play later, but the QB really didn't pull his weight. A couple of drops and a couple of bad hits, but I'm putting the majority of the blame for this poor passing performance on him. Of course, he's still the freakin' man, let's not let that be misunderstood. Made some big throws and wound up with 353 yards, had us in the red zone multiple times, and still showed the stuff with some zippy throws. But a real stinker of a game for Luck, both the stats and the film. D+, (too many bad throws and poor decisions) Backs / receivers / tight ends: Best offensive unit, but that's not exactly high praise. Hilton did his business, aside from tripping over his own feet on the long play... should have been a TD. A few other plays by the receivers, but most of it came after we were already down by four scores. The backs got no love, whatsoever. They did a good job catching the ball and getting some YAC (did anyone else hear that BOOM?!) Richardson must have taken dizzy pills because he was running like this on a couple of plays: http://www.pbh2.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/funniest-kid-gifs-dizzy-soccer-kick.gif Need some burst from our 2014 first rounder. Fleener was targeted 10 times, only came down with 4 catches + the extra point. Can't be too critical of the skill guys when the QB was missing throws, the offensive line wasn't blocking well, and the play calling was bipolar. C+, (productive catching and running, but too late in the game, and nothing else) OL / blocking: No run blocking. Whiffed a ton of blocks, multiple mistakes on each run play, got overpowered, showed poor technique, just plain missed defenders at times. The pass blocking suffered some key breakdowns early on, most notably the Long sack where Castonzo got beat (but Luck should have gotten rid of it sooner, I think). The pass blocking started to improve as the game went on, but part of that was the Rams rushing straight up more often. They hit us with a stunt that Havili and Luck didn't see, which wound up as a sack. And Link missed his block on the heavy left play action on first and goal, which was an inventive way to bust our own trend of running to the heavy side, but got blown up after the play fake. The Rams have a really good defensive front that shut down the Seahawks a couple weeks ago, so this isn't surprising. Overall, these guys owned our blocking unit: http://forums.colts.com/gallery/image/2071-rams-dline/ D, (should be pretty obvious) Defense, C: 55 plays, 372 yards, 12 first downs (7 passing, 5 rushing, 0 from penalty), 7/15 on third down, 0/1 on fourth down, 1/3 in the red zone, 1 turnovers, 24 points; just a few big plays, but that's two weeks in a row that we got busted for big plays Defensive front: Best unit of the day. I thought our front played really well. Not a lot of chances to rush the passer, with only 21 dropbacks, but Mathis got two sacks (should have been two fumbles, also, but Clemens obviously has a ridiculously strong right hand), and there was more pressure throughout the game. The run defense was kind of inconsistent, letting a couple gains out for decent yardage, and then there was the big 56 yarder late in the game, against a bunch of backups up front (Werner was way out of position). But for the most part, the run fits were solid, the tackling was good, and we stopped runs at or behind the line of scrimmage pretty well. Franklin got pushed around again, winding up on his back more often than not, and he was the primary culprit in a lot of those solid gains, but we shut down the outside and corralled the ball carriers well. Take out that 56 yarder and Clemens' scrambles, and they averaged 2.5 yards/carry. Not too shabby. B- Pass defense: I don't know what to say. Davis is lacking in concentration, and sometimes our safety play is just awful. Bethea has to be better at playing the ball. The linebackers got caught watching a couple dumpoffs/screens, and got rubbed off their man another couple times. But most of the issue here was with the deep coverage, again. Outside of Austin's two catches, the coverage was there, but it wasn't really tested too much. There was a blown coverage by Cassius Vaughn on third down, which isn't surprising. We just have to stop making mistakes. Eleven yards/pass play is terrible. C- Special teams: So much for being the 7th ranked special teams unit in the league. Chad72 jinxed that... Unacceptable execution on the punt return TD, but the writing was on the wall. We've been playing with fire all season long, missing immediate stops and letting them go for 15 or 20 yards, and that's how Austin got warmed up in this one. Then the big mistake. I hope that means we got it out of our system, and this was the perfect game for that to happen. Why not let everything go wrong all at once? Then our return game was pathetic, and that's being very nice. I'm sick of David Reed. At least our protections weren't off like they were against the Texans, and we almost blocked a punt. Really, just two slight mistakes on punt coverage, but they both went for big yardage. D+ Coaching / playcalling, C-: Again, I have no problem with Manusky's play calling. I do have a problem with relying on Cassius Vaughn on the outside, but I don't know that we have any better options right now. (What's Justin Tryon up to these days? Kevin Thomas?) A busted coverage, then poor help from the safety, and that sums up the passing coverage. That's not Manusky's fault. The run defense was sound. We got pass rush. It's weird because the defense gave up 31 points, but I think the defensive schemes were just fine. I'll say again, poor execution and too many mistakes. B- Hamilton can't figure out what kind of offense he wants to call. Does he want a vertical passing game, or a quick hitting attack? Does he want to throw screens, or keep the backs in to block? Does he want to run the ball up the middle, or does he want to attack the edges? I understand having some unpredictability on your offense, but you first have to allow your team a chance to execute the basics. His plays did get some receivers open, though, and Luck missed the throws. We had some draws and traps that had a chance to get yardage, but the line didn't block them well. I absolutely hated some of his play calls, including the 3rd and 3 sack early on (there were no short options for Luck to go hot to). I still contend that the offense will find a rhythm, but it's getting harder to give Pep the benefit of the doubt. D+ Pagano let me down at the end of the first half. You're down four scores and if you have any chance of winning, you have to give your team a chance to establish some momentum. The defense did a nice job stopping the Rams, and we had three timeouts, but he decided not to use them and let the half end. Didn't like it. And it's his job to readjust his team after big plays, and he simply didn't in the first half, until it was too late. Not sure why we went for two, or why we went for it on fourth down after Luck was already pulled, but whatever. We got blasted by four scores at home. The coach doesn't get to hide behind poor execution. Sorry. D Game ball, offense: N/A Game ball, defense: N/A Good Guy Colt Award: Pat McAfee. If there was any positive yesterday in LOS, it was this: http://fox59.com/2013/11/11/colts-pat-mcafee-makes-a-soldier-and-his-familys-day-at-lucas-oil-stadium/#axzz2kOIueuiS On to the Titans. What a week to have a Thursday night game. Get over the stinky loss and go out and hit somebody. GO COLTS!
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