Why do the Colts Keep Blowing Leads in the Fourth Quarter?
The Colts are currently 3-7, but they’ve had multiple chances to close out wins in the fourth quarter this season. Why does this keep happening, and what can they do to fix it?
Here’s a quick recap of the Colts’ struggles in the fourth quarter this season: (You can skip this part if you’d rather not relive any of these games)
The Colts held a 10-point lead over the Cardinals in Week 2, but they let the Cardinals send the game to overtime where Jacoby Brissett threw a crucial interception that set up Arizona’s game-winning field goal.
Indianapolis had a 14-point lead over the 49ers in Week 5, and they also let San Francisco send the game to overtime. Luckily, the Colts were able to hold onto the win in OT.
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The Colts were tied 22-22 in a crucial game against the Titans a week later, and they ended up getting outscored 21-3 in the fourth quarter leading to a loss.
Indianapolis led the Bengals 23-17 in the fourth quarter before Cincinnati got a pick-six off of a tipped pass and won 24-23.
The Colts led the Texans 20-7 in the fourth quarter and needed a goal-line stand to hold on for a 20-14 win.
Last week the Colts were leading the Steelers 17-9 in the final quarter before Pittsburgh scored 11 unanswered points culminating in a game-winning field goal.
In my opinion there are four factors that are leading to these blown leads: bad luck, poor coaching, a lack of a run game, and an injury-depleted secondary.
You can chalk the loss to the Bengals up in the bad luck category with a fluke pick-six. Those types of things will happen in a league where the margins are so small.
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Poor time management and bad situational football has also contributed to this problem. This can be attributed in part to the coaching staff, but Jacoby Brissett‘s inexperience can also be blamed with just 11 NFL starts under his belt. Brissett’s costly interceptions directly led to three of these blown leads.
According to Football Outsiders, the Colts have the 24th-ranked rushing offense which prevents them from being able to close out games with the four-minute drill. Indianapolis has been unable to run the ball and drain clock at the end of games giving opposing offenses more time for a comeback.
Finally, the Colts’ secondary has struggled preventing big pass plays at the end of games in their two-minute defense. The loss of Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker has been detrimental to the team’s defensive backfield as safeties are obviously critical in keeping receivers contained in the deep passing game.
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Aside from the bad luck that should even out over time, all of these problems are fixable. The only question is whether the Colts have the talent and coaching acumen to make the necessary changes.