The Indianapolis Colts get back to their winning ways with their second consecutive ugly victory. But, in this league, a win is a win. Indy moves to 5-5 heading into the bye week with plenty to look forward to. The Colts are firmly in the playoff race and a mid-season bye is exactly what this team needed at this moment.
Indianapolis will return to action in Week 12 when they take on Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Until then, let’s take a look at the good and the bad from Sunday’s ugly win.
The Good from Colts win over Patriots
Pass rush led by Dayo Odeyingbo
Without question, the best performance of the season by this defense in the pass rush department. They were able to get five sacks on Mac Jones and they were especially spectacular on third down. Dayo Odeyingbo led the charge with his best performance of his career with three sacks. Kwity Paye and Tyquan Lewis chipped in with one sack each. Both Lewis and Paye were able to return after leaving early with injuries.
This Colts pass rush has been the subject of much criticism throughout the season but even going up against a lesser offensive line it was a much-needed confidence boost, especially with the bye week arriving.
This might be a hot take on my part, but I thought Gardner Minshew played a good game. I know the stats may not show it, but he did exactly what a backup quarterback is expected to do. The expectation is to keep the ship afloat and he has been doing that the past couple of weeks. The strong Patriots defense played well again on Sunday, but Minshew handled it. While he did have a costly interception, it was the only turnover he had in the game. Which is a far cry from what he had earlier in the season, when the turnovers were abundant.
The strong offensive line play helped Minshew immensely, and he was able to keep the team in the game, as his receivers stepped up with big catches in key moments. He did have some overthrows, but Josh Downs made a huge diving catch late in the game to keep the final drive alive and Alec Pierce had a key first down catch earlier in the game.
The Bad from Colts win over Patriots
While I attest that Minshew played a good (but not great) game, the overall effectiveness and efficiency was poor. Zack Moss was non-existent with only one carry and the pass catching was dominated by Micheal Pittman Jr. yet again. Downs was limited with a knee injury in the game and we did see Isaiah McKenzie more than ever because of that. The offense had just under a five-yards-per-play average and was only 5-of-13 on third down in 10 total drives. This is the second straight week of poor offensive efficiency after weeks of creative and dynamic offensive gameplans. Steichen will need to find a new way to get Minshew and this offense moving again after the bye week.
While the secondary had a terrific performance on Sunday, the run defense was bullied as the Colts continue to miss suspended DT Grover Stewart. Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott combined for a total of 142 yards on 33 carries. Of the 21 first downs that New England achieved, 11 of them came from rushing. The Patriots run attack single handedly kept the Patriots in the game and nearly won the football game.
In fact, the Patriots got into the red zone four times from the strong rushing attack, but the Colts defense was able to prevent a touchdown in any of those series and that was the one positive takeaway from that run defense. The Colts will have plenty of time to clean up the issue as they head into their bye week and return in Week 12 to face Tampa Bay.