Studs and duds from Colts’ 25-16 loss to Titans

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The Indianapolis Colts (0-3) came into Sunday needing a win in an important division game on the road. Unfortunately, they could not get that done falling 25-16 to the Tennessee Titans (2-1) and have lost the first three games of the season for the first time in 10 years.

There are many factors at play in why the Colts came up short in this game. However, one of the biggest may be a failure to stop or even slow down Titans star running back Derrick Henry who piled up 113 yards on the ground, and the offense’s absolute inability to capitalize off of the turnovers the defense did manage to create.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the studs and duds from a very deflating Week 3 loss.

STUD: DE Al-Quadin Muhammad

AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

Much seems to always be made on social media of the fact that Al-Quadin Muhammad has a heavier share of defensive end snaps over younger options. This game was a great example of why that is the case as Muhammad was possibly the only bright spot of a struggling run defense. With the Colts losing young first-round pass rusher Kwity Paye to a hamstring injury, Muhammad stepped up admirably to fill the void setting the edge, and was one of the only Colts to get much interior pressure at all or stop Derrick Henry behind the line. Muhammad tallied seven total tackles with one of them going for a loss on the day. Don't be surprised to see he receives even more of the lion's share of snaps going forward were Paye to miss any time.

DUD: HC Frank Reich

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The playcalling in this game seemed to not favor an offense with an already injured quarterback at the helm. With Carson Wentz coming off of sprains in both ankles just one week ago, many would expect the team to alleviate the stress put on the hobbled signal-caller. The Colts coaching staff did not do that against the Titans. Even with the Indianapolis running backs finding success in the small amount of carries they received, the Colts and head coach Frank Reich chose to throw the ball 37 times, while only running the ball 18 times. Reich will need to play more to the strength of this offense and a deep running back room to find success hopefully starting next week.

STUD: RB Nyheim Hines

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In spite of the previously mentioned limit on running the ball, Hines had a solid afternoon. While only allowed six rushes, Hines still managed to average over four yards per carry with a rushing touchdown, while also adding a spark in the passing game catching five passes for another 54 yards. This was the type of production the Colts offense desperately needs to see more of, most of all when playing with a deficit as they did this entire game. One would think with a hopefully winnable game against the Dolphins next week, Indianapolis will turn to a much heavier emphasis on the running game where they may find more success.

DUD: Other DEs

George Walker IV/The Tennessean

While Muhammad had a solid game off the edge, the rest of the defensive ends didn't fare as well. The team as a whole only recorded two quarterback hits but neither case from a defensive end. After Paye's injury, the collection of Tyquan Lewis, Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay didn't do much for the remainder of the game.

STUD: CB Kenny Moore II

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While not a perfect game by any Colts player, it was nice to see Kenny Moore II bounce back after a rough start to the season. He was scrappy in coverage all day, and a big part of the reason the Colts forced a quick three and out to start the game. The highlight of the day for him came from a tipped pass off the hands of Titans (and former Colt) wideout Chester Rogers that Moore was able to come down with for a interception and halt a dangerous Tennessee drive. This came as a bit of revenge for the defense after Rogers beat Moore for a touchdown earlier in the game. More of this Indianapolis Colts will need to show the same ability to bounce back in order to stop this early season losing skid.

DUD: OT Eric Fisher

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

While tons of criticism is heaped weekly upon the depth of the Colts offensive line forced into starting duties, it seems only fair to criticize an expected starter and former Pro-Bowler in Fisher. Fisher had a very rough game protecting the blindside in a week the Colts needed him most. While many praise his quick return from a torn Achilles, Fisher did not look half the blocker he's shown to be in the past, offering little in pass protection or run blocking. He does not seem to be near 100% healthy and may have struggles like this until he gets there.

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