Will 3rd down be the deciding factor on Sunday Night Football?


Sep 29, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) passes the ball during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

More than 13 carries… That’s what the Colts need from their running backs if they want to be competitive against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. After Monday’s disappointing loss to the Chargers in which Trent Richardson and Donald Brown averaged 4.2 yards a carry, I was confused as to what the Colts were trying to do offensively. Rolling quarterback Andrew Luck to his left while forcing a throw across his body was not how I pictured the game going. An experienced defense that couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down whether it was a big play or penalty, not exactly the same unit that forced the Seahawks to go 2 for 12 on 3rd down.

The most crucial part of this game we will be the battle of the 3rd down conversion right now the Broncos lead the league in converting 57.5% of their 3rd down attempts. Meanwhile the Colts defense is ranked 7th in preventing 3rd down conversions and opponents are only converting 35.5% of 3rd downs. Last week the defense gave the Chargers 3 first downs via penalty and they can’t afford to be that generous to Manning who will take advantage of every opportunity.

As for the offense, the offensive line play has to be better because the Broncos will be getting their best pass rusher back from suspension as Von Miller will be playing his first game of the season. The loss of offensive guard Donald Thomas is starting to show, as this offensive line is struggling to get a push in the running game. Finally of course we have the drops Coby Fleener and Darrius Heyward-Bey must be able to catch the ball, especially on 3rd down. Of course there were other dropped passes but Fleener and Heyward-Bey dropped potential touchdowns in the first half.

Personally I’m not worried about the offense I think eventually the running game will be efficient and most importantly I believe in Andrew Luck. The 2nd year quarterback won’t have many games like the one he had on Monday Night, and the Broncos boast the number 1 ranked rush defense but make up for it with the 32nd ranked pass defense. So the time for redemption is now and it should be a heck of a game Sunday Night.