Reich’s Best/Worst Decisions: Week 1 Vs. Seahawks

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Best Decisions

Getting Carson Wentz into a rythm early

The Colts’ first drive looked really fluid, as the scripted plays seemed to work to perfection and Wentz was really finding his rhythm. The run game looked competent against a tough run defense and the quick passing game was getting the job done. After a stuffed Jonathan Taylor run and a screen that failed to score, Reich made the right decision and took the points. After a three and out the next drive, the Colts offense got rolling once again, putting together a 7 play, 68-yard drive to put Indy the closest they would be to the Seahawks.

Some creative blitzes to generate pressure

With the defensive line failing to generate any sort of consistent pressure, Eberflus once again dialed up his patented creative blitzes to create pressure, using Khari Willis, Darius Leonard, and Kenny Moore. This worked several times, with Kenny Moore registering a sack and Khari Willis getting another.

The use of Nyheim Hines as a receiver

I would argue that Hines is the best receiving back in the NFL not named Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara. Reich clearly knows how to get the most out of his explosive weapon, and on Sunday he got 15 touches (9 carries, 6 receptions) for 82 yards.

Matt Eberflus’ half-time adjustments

Eberflus is the opposite of Reich as far as halftime adjustments go. Reich is not really good at adjusting his offense, while Eberflus might not always come out with the correct game plan out of the gate, but he can certainly get his unit together at the half. The Seahawks had 5 drives after the half (not counting the one in garbage time) and registered 3 punts, a lost fumble, and a touchdown.

Worst Decisions

Insisting with Al-Quadin Muhammad at SDE

Can anyone explain to me why on earth is AQM still getting meaningful snaps on a team that is aspiring to make the playoffs? Muhammad does not bring anything to the table. He cannot generate pressure from the edge, he missed key tackles in the run game, and he could not contain the edge at all on some end-around plays. What baffles me the most, is how Reich claims that players have to earn their playing time, yet AQM continues to be a non-factor while Banogu balled out all pre-season. AQM got 70% of the snaps yesterday, Banogu got just 11%. Once Turay is fully healthy, I would love to see a rotation at SDE of Banogu and Turay, with Kwity Paye getting the majority of snaps as WDE.

Non-scripted play-calling

The Colts offense certainly looked rough yesterday, with failed pass protections, botched snaps on key downs, and uninspiring play-calling. Realistically, the Colts offensive line will probably not play as poorly as it did yesterday for the entire year, and Wentz and Kelly will get extra practice to get down that QB sneak this week, but Reich has to get more creative with his calls.

Leaving Davenport one-on-one on key plays

With the scarcity of quality tackles in the NFL, having a solid backup is almost impossible, and the Colts are no exception. There is a reason why Davenport was available, and it was evidenced yesterday: the guy is really bad. He gave up 8 pressures on 41 pass plays, a 19.5% pressure rate. Davenport was clearly a liability, and while Reich hinted that the running backs and tight ends also missed some assignments, leaving Davenport one-on-one on several plays against a hot edge rusher group was probably not the right call.

The Cover-2 on 2nd and long before Lockett’s touchdown

One of the nicest TD passes you’ll see today.

RUSS TO LOCKETT DEEP BALL

(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/fFFAwgR4P8

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2021

The Colts defense has clear issues defending two-minute drills. Last season they suffered a lot in this aspect of the game either by defenders making dumb mistakes (Turay’s offside on 4th down against the Bills in the WC), or simply getting torched by elite quarterbacks (Rodgers in the 34-31 OT thriller). It seems like the Colts have not solved these issues yet. After a Khari Willis sack that left the Seahawks facing 2nd and 20 with little over a minute remaining, the Colts ran a Cover-2 that ended with Willis covering Lockett on a deep post route. Once again, Lockett easily beat Willis, whose strength was never pass coverage, and scored to put the Seahawks up 21-10.

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