Kravitz Dopey Report Card: Colts at Ravens (Dec. 23, 2017)

Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore (23) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Saturday, Dec 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Bob Kravitz

RUN OFFENSE

GRADE: C-plus

A couple of weeks ago, I was casually shooting the bull with Frank Gore when the great running back asked me, “Do you think I should keep playing? Do I still have it?’’ First, I was dumbfounded; this is one of the all-timers, a guy who has every chance to reach the Hall of Fame, and he’s asking me if he still has the goods. After regaining my composure, I told him the following: You can still help a football team. I’ve seen lots of guys who need to hang them up, and you’re not one of them. I just hope you can find a team that is a few pieces away from a title so you can go out like Jerome Bettis did for the Steelers. He seemed to like that response. I believe Gore comes back next year, but not to Indy. A shame things never worked out the way we all thought they would work out, especially after the Colts reached the AFC title game. But he’s been a pro’s pro, and a joy to watch.

RUN DEFENSE

GRADE: B-plus

The last two weeks, the Colts have given up more than 200 yards on the ground in consecutive games, which is, well, awful. Saturday, they gave up 103, but it came on 32 carries, a 3.2 yards-per-carry average. All year, Al Woods and Jonathan Hankins have been solid. Jabaal Sheard’s final numbers didn’t jump off the stat sheet, but it felt like the Colts’ linebacker was all over the place against the Ravens. Margus Hunt also added two tackles for loss. Clearly, this defense needs some playmakers as it gets rebuilt by Chris Ballard.

PASS OFFENSE

GRADE: C

This was a different sort of experience for Jacoby Brissett; namely, he wasn’t running for his life all afternoon. According to Pro Football Focus, he was only pressured nine times. Ordinarily, he’s got defenders in his face nearly half the times he drops back to pass. When he did get pressured, he struggled, per PFF – just 1-for-7 for nine yards and two sacks. The offensive line held up quite well, but Brissett didn’t get much help from his receivers. Chester Rogers had a drop. Kamar Aiken had a drop. And once again, the Colts struggled terribly in the red zone, going 1-for-4. Solid game for T.Y. Hilton, who had just 150 yards his previous three games but had six catches for 100 yards.

PASS DEFENSE

GRADE: C-plus

If you’re in the mood for good news – why not, it’s Christmas Eve? – here is some: Quincy Wilson is starting to look like a football player. The second-round pick has been forced into action, and while there have been growing pains, he’s shown some flashes. In 40 snaps Saturday, he was targeted just once, giving up a reception for two yards. Kenny Moore III also had a strong game, giving up just four receptions for 40 yards, according to PFF. The problems came when the Ravens picked on the Colts’ inside linebackers. Nate Hairston, who has had a very good year as a rookie, was penalized twice on third downs to keep a Ravens’ scoring drive alive. The Colts’ pass rush, well, let’s just say that Priority Numero Uno is finding a pass rusher in the draft and/or free agency – not that those kinds of valuable commodities often become available in free agency.

SPECIAL TEAMS

GRADE: C

Want the good news first, or the bad? OK, we’ll start with the bad, and we’ll cut the Colts some slack because when you’re decimated by injuries, it’s the bottom of the roster, where special teamers generally reside, that gets impacted the most. But basically, the whole right side of the offensive line crumbled on the blocked field goal, nor did it help that Luke Rhodes’ snap was a bit on the high side. The good news came with Anthony Walker’s late-game punt block, which would have been a game-changing or even a game-winning play if the Colts had been able to punch it in. Loved what I saw of Marlon Mack the one time he ran back a kick, going 34 yards. That’s something the Colts should strongly consider next season.

COACHING

GRADE: C

We have officially entered the clubbing-baby-seals zone. I have no idea what Chuck Pagano was thinking when he accepted a penalty to give the Colts second-and-7 rather than take the play and end up with a third-and-almost-2. Naturally, the Colts’ drive stalled. Honest, it’s the little things, small details that add up and ultimately result in close losses. Give this staff credit in one area: They haven’t lost this group. They’re still playing with purpose, for the most part. But it’s those small tactical errors that get you beat week after stinking week.

INTANGIBLES

GRADE: B

After 12 losses in 15 games and 15 of these report cards, I’m crying “uncle.’’ I have no intangibles. None. Gave them a B, simply because it’s the holiday season. Merry Christmas. Or Festivus. Whatever you celebrate.