Colts' sputtering offense proves problematic in latest loss

USA Today Sports 1 day ago

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts won five games with the perfect offensive mix.

They relied on an offensive line widely considered to be one of the league's top units. They let Marlon Mack set up the passing game with his legs and stretched the field with four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Now, nothing is going right as evidenced by the Colts' first back-to-back regular-season losses in 13 months.

"Tough loss, tough to swallow — always tough to swallow when you're at home in front of your fans," coach Frank Reich said after Sunday's 16-12 defeat to the Miami Dolphins. "I thought we'd come out with a lot more energy and play better than we did. We got outcoached and outplayed on all fronts, so give the Dolphins a lot of credit for that."

The reality is Indy's defense is playing well enough to win.

It hasn't allowed an opponent to top the 24-point mark in regulation all season, and on Sunday it only allowed one touchdown despite three turnovers.

But the offense has struggled mightily for myriad reasons.

Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was knocked out of last week's loss at Pittsburgh because of an injured left knee and was held out Sunday, too. Hilton has missed two straight games with an injured calf and the Colts have been without their other starting receiver, Devin Funchess, since the season opener.

And the ensuing miscues have prevented the Colts from maintaining drives.

All of it was on full display again Sunday when Brian Hoyer was 18 of 39 with 204 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in his first start with the Colts. Miami (2-7) capitalized on all three turnovers, scoring 13 points.

Hoyer is not the only one struggling.

The Colts managed to gain just 300 yards against the league's No. 29 defense, Indy's vaunted offensive line has allowed 10 sacks in the past three weeks and Mack hasn't had a 100-yard game since Oct. 6.

Even the usually trustworthy Adam Vinatieri is misfiring.

Another errant extra point, his sixth of the season, meant Indy needed to score a touchdown after reaching the Miami 16-yard line with less than a minute left instead of kicking a short field goal to force overtime.

The result: Hoyer threw to the end zone three times, all incompletions, and then threw an 8-yard completion to Eric Ebron on fourth-and-10 to seal the Colts' fate.

"When they're playing man (coverage) you want to advantage of the opportunities and take a shot," Hoyer said. "So looking back, when I realize it's fourth down, you think back and maybe we could have taken a shorter gain, but those three opportunities before that, I felt we had legit chances to score."

Now following their first back-to-back regular-season losses in 13 months, the Colts need to break out of this funk.

Indy is one game behind AFC South-leading Houston and is still ahead of Tennessee and Jacksonville, with the Jaguars (4-6) coming to town next weekend. Then Indy visits Houston on a short week and hosts Tennessee.

While the Colts remain hopeful Brissett and Hilton could return as soon as next week, they can't afford to wait for guys to get healthy.

They must start finding solutions now.

"We should have scored so many points," center Ryan Kelly said. "We just left a lot of points on the board. We got in the red zone a bunch of different times and ended with field goals. In this league, you have to score."

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


Source link
Read also:
New York Post › Sports › 1 month ago
Favorable weather conditions will welcome the Colts to Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium for “Sunday Night Football.” The Chiefs’ passing offense is in position to dominate this Colts secondary. It is the NFL’s top-rated passing offense based...
New York Post › Sports › 1 month ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Indianapolis Colts accomplished Sunday night what they failed to do in January. They beat the Chiefs in Kansas City. Marlon Mack ran for 132 yards, ageless kicker Adam Vinatieri knocked through four field goals and the Colts...
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
Colts RB Marlon Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton active for the Colts' trip to Kansas City; Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill is inactive after returning to practice from a collarbone injury
Business Insider › Sports › 1 month ago
The Indianapolis Colts upset the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, taking the road win 19-13 against one of the best teams in the league. The Colts sealed their win by relying on the run game through the fourth quarter, rushing the ball on 17 of...
USA Today › Sports › 3 weeks ago
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich ready to roll dice again when Colts, Texans square off
USA Today › Sports › 3 weeks ago
The Colts could have had a QB disaster on their hands when Andrew Luck abruptly retired. Instead, Jacoby Brissett has the team atop the AFC South.
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
Colts start searching for answers after mistake-prone 31-24 loss to Raiders
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
The Chiefs were held to their lowest scoring total under Patrick Mahomes, who reaggravated an ankle injury in a loss to the Colts.
USA Today › Sports › 1 week ago
Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard field goal with just over a minute to play in the Indianapolis Colts' 26-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
USA Today › Sports › 1 week ago
The Indianapolis Colts have plenty of questions to answer after a 26-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR