The Indianapolis Colts are now on a six-game losing streak after falling to the New York Giants, 38-10.
It was an uninspiring effort from Indy. The offense was a mess as usual. They only were able to manage 124 passing yards despite going down two scores in the first half. 49 of those yards came on a Parris Campbell catch on the second drive of the game.
It was a split effort between Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger since Foles got injured in the final minutes of the second quarter. Sunday was the first time the Indianapolis defense looked unmotivated this season.
Most players seem to be going through the motions which led to a great day for Daniel Jones. The New York quarterback used his arm and legs to move the chains and to find the endzone four times for his offense.
The Colts can only hope to be in the Giants’ position this time next year. A team that found the right coach and found a way to the playoffs despite the lack of talent and injuries suffered to the roster.
For now, here are five takeaways from this matchup:
First quarter decision set the tone
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For a team that said they weren’t tanking and were playing to win games, Sunday certainly didn’t look like it. Not only from the effort throughout the afternoon but it was a decision on the Colts’ second drive of the game that set the tone for the rest of the game. Just not the one you’d want from your football team.
They were able to get the ball to the New York five-yard line after Parris Campbell’s 49-yard catch. But for some reason (hint: draft position), Jeff Saturday elected to not go for it on a fourth-and-one and settled for a field goal. The Giants would go on to score a touchdown on the very next drive.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis would go three-and-out on their next drive. A way too common theme for the offense this season after they would find a way to score a touchdown. Then on the following drive, Landon Collins read Nick Foles the whole way to get an easy pick-six to make it a 21-3 game.
The Colts would go three-and-out on the final drive of the first half which gave the Giants plenty of time to go get a field goal before halftime. The decision to not go for it early in the game proved to be costly. The only other time the offense was able to get inside the redzone was late in the fourth quarter when they were already down 31-3.
For a coach that is in the running to be the head coach of the future for this franchise, that decision isn’t a promising thing to see. Unless he privately has instruction from Jim Irsay on what to do in those situations this season.
No answer for Daniel Jones
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It was the Daniel Jones show for the Giants’ offense today. Whether it was in the air or on the ground, he was moving the sticks and finding his way to the endzone for New York. After punting on their first drive of the game, Jones was able to guide his team to three straight scoring drives to close out the first half.
Then following a Darius Slayton fumble to start the third quarter, he put together back-to-back touchdown drives to put the G-Men up 38-10 to put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Jones went 19/24 for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
But it was on the ground that he gave the Colts defense problems. He ended as the Giants’ leading rusher with 91 rushing yards on 11 rushing attempts. Jones also had a pair of rushing touchdowns. He accounted for 68% of New York’s total yards despite getting pulled with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter.
The more embarrassing part about him going to the bench with the win locked up was that he still outgained the Indy offense. Jones finished with 268 total yards while the Colts ended the game with 252 yards.
This game was just another sign of why Indianapolis needs to find a dual-threat quarterback to open up their offense in 2023.
Bobby Okereke was a bright spot
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It’s slim pickings to find a positive from the Colts but if there was a bright spot it was Bobby Okereke. He was flying all over the field to get stops for the defense. Whenever the defense was able to bring a Giant to the ground, number 58 was always around the ball. Okereke certainly tried to give his team a spark to start the third quarter.
With Stephon Gilmore holding up Darius Slayton he was able to come in and peanut punch the ball out to force the fumble. Rodney McLeod was able to jump on it for the recovery. This was the second time this season he pulled off a Shaquile Leonard impression. But in typical fashion for Indianapolis this season, the offense followed it up with a three-and-out, and Chase McLaughlin missed the field goal attempt.
Okereke finished with a career-high 17 tackles (12 solo), two TFLs, and a forced fumble. He’s looking to put some final touches on a solid season of tape as he heads into free agency this offseason. Next week will likely be his last game as a Colt since they already have money invested in Leonard and Zaire Franklin.
Okereke is going to make a nice addition to defense for his new team in 2023.
Third down conversions an issue again
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After going 0-10 on third downs last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, it didn’t get much better versus the Giants. They went 3/12 on third downs today and had three three-and-outs. Plus, the Landon Collins pick-six came on a third down.
For some context on how putrid the Colts have been on third downs, they have only converted nine of their 41 third downs over the last three games. Which would make sense why the defense looked so uninterested in playing today. They’ve been on the field so much over the last month.
For some very small credit, Indianapolis was able to convert both of their fourth down attempts today. It was quite opposite for New York’s offense. They were rarely in third downs. The G-Men had 26 first downs compared to Indy’s 14 first downs.
When they did get in third-down situations, they went 4/7. This all comes down to the lack of talent at quarterback and why they have to not only go find a solution but more importantly, a long-term answer.
Sam Ehlinger likely ending the season as the starter
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After the Nick Foles disaster against the Chargers last Monday, I thought the team should’ve just let Sam Ehlinger close out the season and after today, it looks like that will indeed happen for the Colts. Prior to Foles getting injured, he still wasn’t playing any better than he did against Los Angeles.
He was air-mailing most of his throws and not giving his receivers a shot to make a play. The pick-six was completely his fault as he stared down the receiver the whole time. In what could be his last appearance as a Colt, he finished 8/13 for 81 yards and an interception.
Ehlinger opened up the second half as the quarterback. He didn’t provide much of a spark but he was able to guide the offense for their first touchdown since the first half against the Minnesota Vikings. It was a pretty easy toss for Ehlinger to get the first touchdown of his career.
He ended the game going 9/14 for 60 yards and a touchdown. Plus getting 12 rushing yards on his only attempt of the game. The one question I hope someone asks Jeff Saturday is who was the emergency quarterback if Ehlinger got hurt.
Maybe, Jelani Woods, the former quarterback turned tight end? With how boring the Indy offense has been, that could’ve provided some excitement. For better or for worse.
The Foles injury didn’t look good and with the Colts looking to avoid Matt Ryan’s contract becoming fully guaranteed if he gets hurt, that sets up Ehlinger to make his third career start against the Houston Texans. It will be a shot for the second-year player to show he can compete for the backup spot for the 2023 season.