With each passing week, the Colts are unfortunately losing their identity as a run-first offense.
We wouldn’t fault any fans in Indianapolis who felt nauseous watching the Colts’ first-half performance against Cincinnati on Sunday as they found themselves down by three touchdowns early on in the second quarter.
As encouraging as it was to see Indy show some fight and pull out a thrilling comeback victory, we are noticing a concerning trend with the team over the last two weeks and it seriously doesn’t bode well for them moving forward.
You know how the Colts entered the season with an identity as a run-first offense? Well, these maddening lifeless starts are literally preventing that from happening. It’s impossible to establish the run when you dig yourself an early hole — let alone a 21-point deficit with not even a minute off the clock in the second quarter — and that’s on the coaching staff as much as it is on the defense.
What’s so infuriating is that the rushing attack looked dominant once Indianapolis found its way back into the game and ultimately took the lead in the fourth quarter. Jonathan Taylor had a couple of punishing runs and finished the afternoon with 12 carries for 60 yards (5.0 YPC).
Before that, however, the offense was all Philip Rivers, who bounced back incredibly well from his horror show in Week 5. The veteran gunslinger delivered a needed vintage performance, finishing 29-of-44 (65.9%) for 373 yards and three touchdowns compared to one interception.
Without him, Indy probably gets embarrassed and we spend the next several days eviscerating Frank Reich and the rest of the coaching staff for not having the team prepared for the game. If we’re being honest, however, they still deserve their fair share of criticism because it simply never should have come down to asking Rivers to bail them out.
On paper, the matchup against Cincinnati was perfect to get the running game back on track after a string of lackluster performances. Instead, the defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed for the first 18 minutes before it settled down and limited the Bengals to two field goals for the rest of the game.
This now marks three straight contests in which Taylor has failed to eclipse the 70-yard threshold. Again, it was nice to get a win considering how dismal things looked in the first half, but we’d be lying if we said we knew for sure what the Colts identity is right now.
To say Reich and Co. have their work cut out for them during the upcoming bye week is an understatement.