INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts face a big test on a big stage as they try to pick up their second win of the year.
The Colts were gifted a little extra time off this week after picking up their first win of the year last Sunday. Normally, the team returns to the practice field on Wednesdays, but this week, they got back at it Thursday, with a Monday night matchup with the Baltimore Ravens ahead.
Indianapolis has been anticipating the game for months. They dedicated time during training camp to the Ravens because of how dynamic the Baltimore offense is with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson is currently ranked ninth in the league in rushing, one spot ahead of Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. The Colts know that just like they paid extra attention to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry in Week 3, all eyes are on the Ravens quarterback.
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"Lamar, obviously we all know he’s an elite quarterback, but I mean he’s an elite runner. We’ve got to treat him obviously like a running back. This week is all about assignment football. Guys have to be in the right fits at the right time, got to read your keys and the main thing is we have to trust one another," said Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
"He’s as elusive with the ball in his hand as anybody, not just quarterbacks. A guy that I know I respect a lot and everyone in this organization does and knows what he brings to the table. He’s a playmaker that we have to take control of and for us offensively, we know that they’re going to be running the ball," said Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. "They’re going to try and limit our possessions and so, we have to know that going into it and really make a conscious effort on offense to keep the ball, convert third downs and sustain drives so we can keep their offense off the field.”
The Colts offense knows it has to do its part, too, the Ravens' defense is known for its ability to force turnovers, they've made a living off of it for years. A year ago when the teams met, the Colts turned the ball over twice and Baltimore turned those into touchdowns, so protecting the pigskin is priority.
"It’s really in all phases of ball security, whoever has it. We always talk about the ball is everything in this game. The goal is at the end of every play, give it back to your team. This ball is sacred. When this play is over, envision yourself walking over to the bench or to the huddle and say, ‘Here guys, I brought it back for you,'" said Colts head coach Frank Reich. "I mean that’s the mentality you’ve got to have. So no matter who has it, that’s the mentality we’ve got to have.”
Baltimore may have a little history on its side, as well. In their last 15 prime time games at home, the Ravens are 14-1.