With the Kansas City Chiefs out for blood, which Colts players will step up? Who will make an impact?
Week Three for the Colts looks to be a tough test ahead. The visiting Kansas City Chiefs come to Lucas Oil Stadium looking like one of the top teams not only in the AFC, but in the NFL. Let’s talk about some of the players that need to have a big Week Three to ensure the first win of the season.
Colts Quarterback Matt Ryan
Decision making should be better this week and also a sense of confidence will be restored as Ryan gets two targets (Micheal Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce) back for Week Three. Matt Ryan comes into this game with 547 passing yards, one touchdown, three fumbles, and four costly interceptions. This week, he goes against the 18th-ranked defense.
Over the past two weeks, the Colts have dealt with intense pressure from several defensive fronts. This week, they’ll see defensive tackle Chris Jones and 2022 first-round pick George Karlaftis. Ryan needs to utilize the up-tempo game used in Week One against the Texans. His attempts to stay in the pocket and progress through his reads are not holding up for him and are hurting the team.
The biggest question for Matt Ryan is whether will he have back the production of his main target Michael Pittman, Jr.. Six touchdowns have been scored in eight attempts against the Chiefs and that seems to be a soft spot in their defense. The Colts have big targets in Alec Pierce, Mo Alie-Cox, and Micheal Pittman, Jr. that should hold up in this area and make it easier for Ryan to make better decisions. Also, the Colts have Jonathan Taylor. That’s a pretty handy tool, especially on the goal line!
Colts Running Back Jonathan Taylor
Last week’s nine carry game was not only out of the ordinary, but not conducive to the current Colts offensive mantra. Run The Damn Ball! Averaging six yards a carry, Taylor was taken out of the game by his offensive coordinator. To be successful, the Colts need to lean on their heavy hitter. Yes, the team has offensive line problems, but as seen in the fourth quarter of the Texans game, the run will bring you back (surprisingly) and set you up to have a chance at winning.
Taylor needs more carries this week. That’s it! Leaving him out of the game plan gives the team no opportunity to win. Look for Taylor to have between 20-30 carries. The Chiefs are a top 15 rushing defense, averaging almost four yards per carry and only giving up one rushing touchdown. There will be a fight but, there is optimism that Taylor will come out swinging.
Colts Defense – Containing Mahomes and Kelce Connection
Perhaps the best quarterback and tight end duo outside of Gronk and Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have been setting the NFL ablaze. It’s no secret that the Colts have struggled with tight ends this year and have been giving opposing offenses too much space to make quick and effective pass plays.
O.J. Howard scored twice and Evan Engram had seven catches on eight targets. It may not seem like a big issue, but those tight ends were arguably revamping their careers against the team’s defense. (They should not be able to perform like that.) The Colts are sorely missing help. As many know, Shaq Leonard has been out the previous two games and is out again today. This is another big blow, but the Colts need to push through and play hard, fast, and aggressive.
Lately, there seem to be many Colts defenders that are underperforming, but could it be the scheme? Gus Bradley’s cover-three defense and its weaknesses have been showing its nasty face this season. Opposing offenses will take what they are given by the defense: short, quick routes and targets down the seams of the field. The current up-tempo games have not given the defensive line a chance to get pressure, and the team’s cornerbacks are not playing close to their respective assignment. Keeping things in front is one thing, but there are also missed tackles, no pass rush, and yards after the catch. That makes this unit land in bottom of the league.
The Colts need to be more aggressive from here on out. This week, it’s imperative that Mahomes feels uncomfortable and has to think about his next move. The Colts have made Trevor Lawrence and Davis Mills look like All-Pros. The team should look to create consistent pressure, because if Mahomes and Kelce heat up, it will be another long afternoon in Indy.
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