Kravitz Dopey Report Card: Colts at Eagles (September 23, 2018)

Indianapolis Colts' Ryan Grant (11) catches a touchdown pass against Philadelphia Eagles' Ronald Darby (21) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Every week, Bob Kravitz offers his Dopey Report Card on the Indianapolis Colts' performance. This week, he breaks down the Colts' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.


The first problem: They never had the football. We're talking 19 minutes and 40 seconds of possession time. They ran 13 times for 68 yards, which sounds reasonable until you consider that Andrew Luck had that one, 33-yard rush (the longest of his career) early in the game. Take that out of the equation, the Colts ran 12 times for 35 yards, which won't win you many, if any, games. Anthony Castonzo cannot return fast enough. Joe Haeg was injured and will be out a while, which makes the unsettled offensive tackle position even more difficult to fill. The Colts' inability to run on early downs made Andrew Luck's life miserable on third-and-long situations. Would Le'veon Bell help? Clearly. Would they make a run at him? Nothing in Chris Ballard's recent history suggests they would. When you can't run, you can't convert in the red zone, and that was true Sunday when the Colts went a putrid 1-of-5 from the red zone.


Talk about balance: The Eagles, who held on to the ball nearly the entire game, passed 37 times and ran it 35. And for good reason. They were effective while doing both. Philly ran 35 times for 152 yards, a 4.3 average. This is just what Carson Wentz needed, a running game to keep him out of third-and-forever situations where the Colts' surprisingly strong pass rush could get to him. In our weekly Darius Leonard update, the rookie second-rounder had 13 tackles, two sacks, five – FIVE! – tackles for loss and a pass defensed. He had some issues in coverage, but overall, another Darius Leonard game. Clayton Geathers had 11 tackles.

Andrew Luck
Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Look, there are a lot of reasons why Andrew Luck has failed to break the 200 yards passing mark in the last two games. For one, he's usually under pressure from the edges, the Colts playing depth guys like Le'Raven Clark and Denzelle Good at the offensive tackles (Haeg was injured during the game and he's week-to-week.) Two, Luck doesn't have anybody besides T.Y. Hilton who can get separation downfield. Three, the game was played in a steady rain, which makes throwing the ball more difficult. There is no question, though – at least no question in my mind – that Luck is still going through the process of strengthening his arm, which is something we all should have expected. It will come in time – he's not DONE, people – but for now, the Colts appear to be a dink and dunk team. It should also be noted, they came into the game first in the league in third-down conversions, but went just 2-of-12 Sunday.

Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


The good news is, the pass rush was relentless, sacking Carson Wentz five times. The bad news is, he was 25-of-37 for 255 yards and a touchdown. Too often, the Colts busted coverage, especially early in the game when the Eagles' corps of tight ends found themselves running free, especially up the seams. I thought Malik Hooker, who has been ordinary the first two games while coming off a devastating knee injury, played his best game of the young season. Nice job by linebacker Anthony Walker, who had an interception. The pass rush is the most hopeful sign, where the Colts had five sacks and men like Margus Hunt, Leonard and Jabaal Sheard were dominant against a strong Philly offensive line. What's frustrating is, if the Colts were going to face the defending champs, the best time to do it was on a day when Wentz was making his long-awaited return and the Eagles were playing without running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles as well as receiver Alshon Jeffery…and it didn't seem to make a massive difference.


On Sunday, Adam Vinatieri tied Morten Andersen (Ben Davis High School) for the most made field goals in NFL history (565). By next week, he should have the all-time record and is rapidly closing in on Mortensen's mark for the most points in league history. I didn't get this quote in the column, but Andrew Luck really captured the essence of what it's like to play football with Vinatieri: "…I was sitting at lunch with him Friday and remember telling some stories. I think I was a 6-year-old when I went to watch him play in NFL Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals in 1996 with my dad. I think I take him for granted and don't appreciate that man enough. What he's done in the NFL and who he is as a teammate, he's awesome. He's the epitome of a professional, he's got a young heart and he's got a monster leg. He still booms 60-plus yarders in practices, which got everyone hyped this week. He's a treat and a pleasure to be around. I get to tell my grandkids someday that I got to play with Adam Vinatieri, the greatest kicker in the history of the NFL and hopefully the first, first-ballot Hall of Fame kicker in the NFL.''

Chester Rogers
Indianapolis Colts' Chester Rogers, left, cannot catch a pass against Philadelphia Eagles' Ronald Darby during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Defense was great, more than good enough to win. But on Frank Reich's side of the ball, the offense, the Colts were, um, less than dynamic. For the life of me, I don't know why they wouldn't throw the ball downfield on that final, desperate drive of the game. It also came to my attention well after the game that Philly receiver Nelson Agholor was out of bounds short of the first down on a third-and-nine from the Colts' 36. The Eagles surely would have gone for it – or tried a long field goal – but Agholor stepped out of bounds before he leaped over Hooker and made the drive-sustaining first down. Honestly, from my vantage point in the press box, it was difficult to see, but the officials didn't have that excuse. Nor did Reich, who failed to challenge the play – a major mistake, a potentially game-changing mistake. He's got to be better than that.


Clearly, the Colts came to compete, even on a day when they were playing without Castonzo, Marlon Mack, Jack Doyle and Denico Autry. They played like they believed they had a chance to win, especially on defense, where they've been terrific two weeks in a row. The problem was the punchless offense and the lack of possession time, not to mention committing 11 penalties (four on the long TD drive) for 77 yards. The margin of victory is very slim for this team right now; that's the second time in three games that late-game defensive penalties have wounded this team and played a role in their demise. I love that they play with a lot of heart and passion; they've just got to be smarter.

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