Why are the Indianapolis Colts so Terrible in the Second Half?
Indianapolis has been tied or in the lead going into halftime in five of their six games this season, yet the Colts have only won 2 of those games. What has happened in the second half, and how can the Colts improve on their second half woes going forward?
Aside from the opener in Los Angeles, the Colts have been leading in every game heading into the second half. Indianapolis has gone on to be outscored in the second half by 72 points in those games, which is an average of more than two touchdowns per game.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. The Colts’ best player, Andrew Luck, has yet to take a snap this season. Jacoby Brissett has filled in admirably, especially considering he did not arrive to Indianapolis until September 2. However, Luck is an elite-level talent who knows the playbook, and it stands to reason that the offense would perform better with Luck under center.
Brissett‘s continued understanding of the offense and Andrew Luck‘s eventual return will definitely help the Colts in the passing game, but what about the running game going forward? Marlon Mack has to get more touches on offense.
Mack only played 14 of 58 snaps from the running back position on Monday night. Mack has shown that he should account for more than 25% of the snaps with only 2 rushes in a single game.
Even with limited playing time, Mack has shown a propensity to make big gains on the ground. When you have the lead late in games, it is essential to have a player with the ability to milk the clock and sustain drives.
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Let’s face it, a healthy Andrew Luck at quarterback and an increased role for Marlon Mack won’t solve all the Colts’ issues late in games if they are not able to stop anyone. That brings us to the defense.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard spent a lot of money this off-season on the defense. In 2016, the Colts ranked 30th in total yards per game, 27th in pass yards per game, 25th in rush yards per game and 22nd in total points allowed.
Johnathan Hankins and Jabaal Sheard, were the two prize free agent signings this past spring. Along with Al Woods, John Simon and Jon Bostic, Hankins and Sheard were going to anchor the Colts’ defense in 2017. While the additions to the defense have helped in the run game (currently ranked 19th), the Colts’ opponents are shredding them in the passing game (currently ranked 30th).
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In the second half of games this season, the Colts have allowed scoring plays through the air of 53 yards (Titans), 27 yards (Seahawks) and 45 yards (Cardinals). All three of those games resulted in a loss for Indianapolis.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns for Indianapolis in the second half are the turnovers, some of which have led to scores, and others that have come at inopportune times. Brissett‘s interception against Arizona was in overtime as was the interception in the red zone against the 49ers.
Brissett threw a pick-six against Seattle, and Jack Doyle‘s fumble led to a field goal Monday night against Tennessee.
With all the troubles Indianapolis has had closing games, they still sit only one game out of first place in the AFC South. If the Colts can get healthy and correct their mistakes, they still have a very good chance to make it to the postseason.