Kravitz Dopey Report Card: Colts vs. Jets (October 14, 2018)

(Photo: Indianapolis Colts/Twitter)
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 New York Jets.


You may be looking at the stat sheet, the fact the Colts rushed for 127 yards on 23 carries for a 5.5 average, and you're wondering how that can possibly merit a 'C-minus.' Well, here's why: In the first half, when the game still was competitive, the Colts ran 10 times for 20 yards and failed to punch the ball in from the 1-yard line. It was only after the Jets scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half, putting them up by a 30-13 score, that the Colts began to run the football with some success, largely because the Jets were playing the pass and the pass only. They were empty, meaningless garbage yards, which served just one purpose, and that was to show that Marlon Mack remains the best running back on the team by a large margin. Again, when the game mattered, they had 20 yards on 10 carries. Enough said.


One week earlier, the Jets had rolled the Broncos with 325 yards on the ground. Sunday, the Jets ran 36 times for just 107 yards. Even without Denico Autry and Margus Hunt, the Colts held their ground and limited New York to just three yards per carry. As always, Darius Leonard flashed. The Colts have a ton of problems, but the run defense doesn't appear to be a major blemish. Currently, Indy is 17th in the league in rushing defense, a major improvement over last season.


First, the good stuff. The offensive line, which featured newcomers Braden Smith and Mark Glowinski, didn't surrender a single sack. The Colts have played every conceivable offensive line combination this season, but they've improved markedly in recent weeks, at least in pass protection. And yes, it was good to have Anthony Castonzo back. Andrew Luck was Andrew Luck, which is to say, he played well enough to win. But this receiving corps is a hot mess without T.Y. Hilton, and it makes me wonder what Reece Fountain has to do to earn a spot on the active roster. I counted around five or six more drops, although I still haven't seen a replay yet to determine whether Ryan Grant should have caught the pass that was eventually intercepted. Eric Ebron has become a weapon, especially in the red zone, but beyond him, there's not much. Consider, if you add Mack's drop, which resulted in seven Jets points, and Nyheim Hines' drop of a TD pass, which forced Indy to kick a field goal instead, that's 11 lost points. They lost by eight. Math is fun.


Sam Darnold, the rookie quarterback, had played like a rookie most of the season. Some good moments, some rookie moments, but the Colts, who didn't seem to know which way was up Sunday, allowed him to complete 24 of 30 passes for 280 efficient yards, two touchdowns and a 113.9 quarterback rating. They played zone, they got wrecked. They played some man-to-man, they got wrecked. Receivers were wide open all afternoon, especially over the middle. And it's not like injuries were an issue. Nate Hairston, Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore II, all the regulars were back there, and they were embarrassed. The only highlight was a Malik Hooker interception, his first of the season. The Colts have given up a lot of points this season, but that was easily the worst performance of the season, especially by the perpetually confused secondary and linebackers.


Honestly, I don't even know why I have a special teams section in the Dopey Report Card. Virtually every kick is a touchback. Virtually every punt is directional and pins the opponent against the goal line, killing any chance of a return. I miss the good old days when special teams made a huge difference in a game. I understand the necessity of changing up the kickoff rules to limit injuries, but from an entertainment perspective, kickoffs in particular have become a giant yawn. The good news, though, is that Adam Vinatieri is now just 10 points shy of breaking the record he wants the most, the mark for most points scored in NFL history. He could very well do it this Sunday against Buffalo.


If the Colts made any defensive adjustments in the second half, either I missed them completely (which is possible) or they simply didn't work. Get this: The Jets – the J-E-T-S – scored on their last eight possessions, if you don't count the end-of-game kneel-down. Touchdown, field goal, field goal, touchdown, field goal, field goal, field goal, field goal. The last three games, the Colts have surrendered 37 points, 38 points and 42 points. Abysmal.


The Colts have struggled all season but this was the low point, without question. They committed four turnovers, all of which led to New York points. They couldn't run the ball until the Jets ran out to a 17-point lead in the second half. The secondary was a disaster. They can keep talking about how close they are to winning some games and how they're just a play or two away from a better fate, but the bottom line is, this is a lousy roster, and when you throw in all the injuries, it might be the worst roster in football.

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