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 Jacksonville Jaguars.
RUN OFFENSE: A-
The Jaguars’ run defense has improved from 32nd to 16th since the arrival of defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, but the Colts had a lot of success on the ground – 26 carries, 141 yards, a 5.4 yards-per-carry average. The big news of the day – the only news of the day, from a Colts perspective – was that Frank Gore bypassed Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson into fifth place on the all-time rushing list. It was also nice to see Marlon Mack go for 46 yards on six carries, a 7.7 average. These last four games, I’d like to see more of Mack, just so the Colts can get a sense of whether he’s a three-down back or merely a change-of-pace guy who needs to share the load. He did whiff on at least one blitz pickup, so the answer may ultimately be, no, he’s not a three-down back.
RUN DEFENSE: B-
If the Colts can hang their hat on any area of the team, it’s their run defense. Johnathan Hankins and Al Woods have been very good and very consistent in recent weeks. Leonard Fournette, who is still not 100 percent after his injury, ran 20 times for 57 yards, a 2.9 average. In total, the Jags ran 27 times for 96 yards, a 3.6 average. Bring back Henry Anderson next season, and this has a chance to be a much-better-than-average run defense. They started slowly this season, but they’ve come on lately. It was also good to see Clayton Geathers, a noted run stopper, getting integrated back into the lineup, getting 16 snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Geathers was in the game for five Jacksonville runs and made two run stops.
PASS OFFENSE: D
It really didn’t matter whether Jacoby Brissett was under pressure, which he was on 33 percent of his dropbacks (per PFF) or whether he had a clean pocket; he struggled badly for the second week in a row. Even when he had time, he was just 16-of-27 for 107 yards and an interception. This wasn’t like the first meeting between these teams when Brissett was forced to run for his life and was sacked 10 times. This time, he was sacked four times, which must have felt like a Caribbean vacation. Still, though, he held onto the ball for far too long; his average time to throw of 3.18 seconds was the third longest of all Week 13 quarterbacks (per PFF). Donte Moncrief had his best game of the season, catching five passes for 37 yards – which tells you what type of season this has been.
PASS DEFENSE: F
Ugh… When did Blake Bortles turn into Ben Roethlisberger? The guy absolutely feasts on these Colts. Explanations, not excuses: The Colts were without Rashaan Melvin and lost their other starting corner, Pierre Desir, during the game with an injured shoulder. The good news is, we got to see Quincy Wilson. The bad news is, we got to see Quincy Wilson. The other corner was Kenny Moore III, who is a backup under normal circumstances. Nate Hairston, the nickel corner, has been quite good all season but struggled Sunday. Bortles had a huge game throwing intermediate passes (10 to 19 yards), completing 8-of-9 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, according to PFF. It didn’t help that the pass rush was nonexistent, finishing with one sack and one quarterback hit.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
When the Colts try fake punts, they turn into memes. When opposing teams try fake punts, they’re works of art. The Colts were caught napping early when punter Brad Nortman threw a pass to a wide-open receiver for a big first down that turned into Jacksonville’s first touchdown. Even Rigoberto Sanchez was just average.
Here’s my bone to pick with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski: This team is not built to play that Norv Turner deep-passing game, not with this offensive line, but still, the Colts insist on using seven-step drops and trying to go deep downfield. According to PFF, 60 percent of Brissett’s passes were on seven-step drops, with all four of his sacks coming on those longer-developing plays. The Colts simply haven’t routinely committed to getting the ball out of Brissett’s hands more quickly with short drops and quick-hitting passes, putting this offense at eternal peril.
It’s always interesting to gauge a team’s effort level when their season is circling the drain. Have they quit on themselves and their coaches, or are they still trying to win football games? This is also the portion of a season, a doomed season, when Chris Ballard finds out who will continue to sell out when there’s no chance of having a winning season or reaching the playoffs. Here’s my take: They’re still trying. I didn’t see or sense that players were quitting, which is always the default argument people use to explain why a team isn’t winning. I think it’s much simpler than that: They’re. Not. Good. Talent, people. It’s about talent. Or lack of same.