5 takeaways from Colts’ 17-16 loss to the Eagles

When the Indianapolis Colts opened up the game it looked like the Jeff Saturday era was going to be off to a hot start but as the game went on they let the Philadelphia Eagles hang in it.

A mixture of penalties and missed opportunities helped keep Philly alive throughout the afternoon. The Indy offense scored on their first possession of the game which ended a drought that dated back to last Christmas.

It looked like the offense was set up for a successful day but they would go on to sputter for the rest of the game and never found their way back into the endzone. Gus Bradley’s defense had a solid performance but eventually broke down in the fourth quarter.

To their credit, they did their job and held the Eagles to 17 points. It was a battle to the end but the Colts came up just short in their effort to upset Philadelphia.

Here are my five takeaways from the loss:

Missed opportunities

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Colts look back at this game they are going to regret the missed opportunities they were presented within the second half of the game. On the first play of the third quarter, Yannick Ngakoue created a strip-sack fumble to give the offense the ball at the PHI 22-yard line. The offense went three-and-out and had to settle for the field goal.

Instead of making it a 17-3 game, it’s 13-3 at that point. The Indy defense was on fire in the third quarter and they end up forcing a turnover on downs on the next drive to give the offense the ball at the IND 47-yard line. They follow that up with their second straight three-and-out to give the ball back to Philadelphia.

The defense steps up to force their own three-and-out and the offense finally started to move the ball again. They manage to get into scoring position but settled for a field goal attempt. Chase McLaughlin missed it from 50 yards. If he hits it then it’s a 16-3 game.

The Eagles would end up scoring a touchdown after that but the Colts responded quickly and got across midfield. But, on a third down run by Jonathan Taylor that would’ve resulted in a first down, he fumbles the ball away. Luckily, the defense would end up forcing their own fumble to get the ball back to the offense.

The last missed opportunity is the one that will hurt the most. Matt Ryan made a couple of big-time third-down throws to get the offense to the five-yard line. Indianapolis failed to do anything with that great field position. Ryan would end up getting sacked on third down and they had to settle for the field goal.

There was a missed facemask call on Ryan but you still want to see them convert that into a touchdown. It would’ve made it a 20-10 game if they got the job done. The Colts had plenty of chances to open up this game but they didn’t capitalize and it cost them in the end.

Rough second half for the offensive line

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

When the Colts opened up the game with the touchdown it looked like the offensive line established a tone on how they were going to play. They were opening up rushing lanes for Jonathan Taylor and were giving Matt Ryan time to throw the ball. By the time they got to halftime, they only gave up one QB hit and zero sacks.

It was a different story in the second half. Taylor got 49 rushing yards on the first drive of the game but ended up only finishing with 84 yards. He averaged 3.8 YPC on 22 attempts. The Indy line just couldn’t generate any push against the Philly defensive front. The Eagles forced seven TFLs throughout the afternoon.

The pass protection started to break down as the game went on. Philadelphia started to get after Ryan often. After only giving up one QB hit in the first half, the Eagles finished with eight QB hits and four sacks. They took over in the second half of this game.

One other thing that was a killer for the Colts was the penalties by the offensive line. Any time the offense had some positive plays going for them they would get derailed by a flag. Three of the four times they punted were a result of a penalty that came from the offensive line.

It won’t get any easier for this unit when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers with T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward next week.

Winning the turnover battle wasn't enough

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The old saying is if you win the turnover battle then you should win the game. That wasn’t the case for the Colts today. Both teams entered halftime playing mistake-free football and it felt like whoever could create a turnover in the second half can help win their team the game. Yannick Ngakoue gave his best effort to make a game-changing play on the first play of the second half.

As I mentioned earlier, unfortunately, it wasn’t rewarded with a touchdown but this was one of the better plays by Ngakoue this season. He had a solid afternoon. Later in the fourth quarter, the Eagles were able to tie up the turnover battle with the recovery of Jonathan Taylor’s fumble.

Philadelphia had all the momentum and looked like they were going to march down the field to take the lead. But, Zaire Franklin made a great play with the peanut punch to force A.J. Brown to fumble the ball.

That gave a chance for Indy to go up two scores but ended the following drive with a field goal. It has to hurt that the offense was only able to turn the two turnovers into six points. At least one touchdown would’ve helped them win the game. The Colts’ defense gave their team a chance to put it out of reach but they couldn’t get it done.

No answer for Jalen Hurts in the fourth quarter

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the first three quarters of the game, the Colts defense did a great job at bottling up Jalen Hurts and not letting him take over the game. That changed in the final quarter. The defensive front couldn’t get any early pressure on the quarterback which allowed Hurts to create more time for plays to develop.

Despite having the coverage, the front couldn’t get to the quarterback and he was able to scramble for 22 yards to put the Eagles in scoring position.

You could tell the defensive front was gassed after that and two plays later, Hurts had plenty of time to find Quez Watkins for the touchdown.

Then with 4:37 left in the game, Hurts was able to march his team down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. It was kicked off on a third-and-two when he had all the time in the world to run around and heaved it down the field. The ball was short of his receiver but Zaire Franklin had no clue where the ball was and in his attempt to deflect the ball, he caused a defensive pass interference which put Philly at the IND 28-yard line.

That play flipped the field position and gave all the momentum to the Eagles to finish the drive in the endzone. It was a third-and-goal from the seven-yard line when the Eagles caught the Colts’ defense slipping and Hurts was easily able to trot in for the touchdown.

Hurts went 18/25 for 190 yards and a touchdown through the air. He was his team’s leading rusher with 86 yards and a score on the ground. He accounted for 87.8% of the total yards by the Philly offense. When the Colts are on the search for their quarterback of the future, they are going to remember Hurts running ability killing them and why they need to find themselves a mobile quarterback.

Penalties were a killer

Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Missed opportunities and mistakes were the themes of the Colts’ loss to the Eagles. Two drives in the first half of the game were derailed by two penalties on Bernhard Raimann. The rookie tackle got hit with a holding call which took away a third-and-one. On the next drive, he was called for being ineligible down the field on a play that was going to give the offense the first down.

Then it was a string of bad plays for the Colts following the turnover on downs. Following a Matt Ryan sack on first down, Michael Pittman Jr. was caught holding and it put the offense in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

The most costly penalty was the previously mentioned DPI call on Zaire Franklin. Philadelphia went from having the ball at their own 33-yard line and moved them all the way up to the IND 28-yard line.

The final penalty on Indy came on the potential game-winning drive. A third-down sack put the offense in a fourth-and-16 situation but Will Fries was called for a false start to push them back five more yards. Ryan and the offense once again were put in a deep hole they didn’t have an answer for.

Overall, the Colts were penalized eight times for 90 yards. When you play great teams like the Eagles, you can’t afford these types of mistakes. They will have to get things cleaned up with teams like the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings that they will play over the next few weeks.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire