The Colts were not atop their game against the Jaguars on Sunday.
The NFL is almost always guaranteed to provide fans with one or two big upsets each week. Unfortunately for the Indianapolis Colts, they were on the wrong side of this narrative in Week 1.
What was supposed to be an easy victory for Indy (they were favored by more than a touchdown) ended in utter humiliation as the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that is widely predicted to finish with the worst record in the league this season, pulled off a shocking 27-20 upset.
Losses really don’t come as inexcusable as this considering schedule-makers handed Indianapolis a seemingly cupcake matchup to open the year after having no preseason to shake off the rust. We won’t go as far as to say that the Colts took Jacksonville lightly as head coach Frank Reich normally has his players prepared for all contests, but it’s clear they weren’t up to the challenge.
After failing to take advantage of a favorable matchup, Indianapolis is now 0-1 and faces a tough test in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans, who are coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship Game and are returning most of their starters from 2019.
Before we dive into a preview of that now crucial game, let’s try to highlight some key takeaways from the Colts’ inexplicable loss to an inferior Jaguars side.
3. Why was the run game abandoned?
The Colts oddly abandoned their elite rushing attack against Jacksonville.
It’s easy to unleash criticism on a team from a keyboard while tensions are high following an embarrassing loss, but we know what we just watched, and that was the Colts completely abandoning the run after jumping out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter.
Other than Jonathan Taylor, who managed just 22 yards on nine carries, Indianapolis’ rushing attack was fairly effective on the afternoon. Before suffering a potentially season-ending injury, starter Marlon Mack tallied an impressive 26 yards on four carries. Nyheim Hines also rushed for 28 yards and a touchdown on seven touches. In total, the Colts rushed 22 times for 88 yards and passed the ball 46 times … when they led for most of this one.
For a team that ranked seventh in the NFL in terms of rushing yards per game last season, having the three-headed monster combine to log 20 carries is inexplicable. We don’t care that they failed to produce any big gains. The Colts are built to have their run game open up the aerial attack and it was the polar opposite against Jacksonville for some reason.
Make no mistake about it: This puzzling decision undoubtedly contributed to Indianapolis’ loss.