I usually highlight the good and bad after every game but there was nothing good about the Week 16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Nothing. You could argue the tight end play of Kylen Granson and Will Mallory was decent but that’s about it. The offense could not get into any sort of rhythm and the defense was an embarrassment. Indianapolis had no answer for the Falcons’ pass rush and the Colts’ often choppy secondary fell apart.
Still, the page has to be turned to the next week. Indy is still in playoff position with two weeks left, but the team can’t afford a repeat of Week 16. Let’s discuss what went wrong in Week 16 and how this team might go about fixing the problems for the upcoming game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
3. Colts must be better in the trenches
This was the most glaring issue from Week 16, as the Colts got bullied on both sides of the ball. The numbers told us that the Colts defense allowed 177 yards on the ground, and on the opposite side of the ball, the offensive line wasn’t unable to get any room for Jonathan Taylor to make an impact. Taylor had 43 yards on 18 carries. Tyler Goodson and Trey Sermon (a week after a stellar performance) combined for 18 yards on three carries.
Along with the inability to create holes for the backs, the line couldn’t stop the Falcons pass rush. Specifically, defensive end Calais Campbell was able to win the battle against rookie right tackle Blake Freeland. Campbell had 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and three more quarterback hits. Freeland got the start for the injured Braden Smith and hopefully he can learn from this because it was his worst performance so far in his rookie campaign.
Heading into Week 17 at home against Las Vegas, the job will not be any easier, and in fact might be the most difficult yet. The key point will be getting Braden Smith healthy but if not, the Colts line will be going up against one of the best edge rushers in All-Pro Maxx Crosby. He currently has a career high of 13.5 sacks on the season, besting his total from last season of 12.5 sacks.
The Colts may need to incorporate some chip blocks on Crosby to slow him down by pulling tight end Drew Ogletree to Crosby’s side and give some assistance to whichever side he lines up on, typically it is the side of the quarterback’s blind side.