The Indianapolis Colts have managed to put together a little winning streak, as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-18 on Sunday Night Football. While there wasn't too much to take away from a game played in a monsoon, it was good to see the Colts escape with a victory.
Quarterback Carson Wentz played as well as one could expect in this type of weather, completing 17 of 26 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also added four carries for 23 yards and a score to his statistical output.
With Wentz continuing his recent play, I dove back into the film to see how his mechanics held up in the against the 49ers.
If you are interested in reading back on the offseason series, click this link here.
Disclaimer Before We Start
I mentioned it a few times in the opener, but this game was just horrendous all around due to the weather conditions. As a result, the passing game was not nearly as productive or prevalent in this match-up.
Due to the drop-off in passing production, this week's mechanics article will be a bit shorter. There just weren't many passing plays to draw conclusions from in this game, and even the plays that were called were hard to evaluate with the weather.
Reckless Start to the Game
The beginning to this game was not pretty for Wentz. He had a disastrous fumble in the endzone and also threw three passes that should have been interceptions. For a quarterback that has kept the turnover-worthy plays to a minimum this year, this start was as bad as it gets.
We have seen this a few times in 2021, although without as many notably bad decisions/misses. The Colts got lucky that only one of these plays resulted in a turnover.
What I think was big for Wentz was how he rebounded. After this shaky start, he began to settle in and make some plays for the offense. Were there some ugly moments? Absolutely, but he didn't let that derail the rest of the game. That is the biggest difference between his play last season in Philadelphia and his play this year.
Fundamentals Under Pressure
I talk about this every week in this series. The biggest evaluation point for Wentz coming into the season was how his footwork would react in the face of pressure in the pocket.
So far, Wentz has shown notable improvement in this department.
Take this clip below for example. The 49ers are bringing pressure on a third-and-short, and Wentz has to quickly get through his reads. The pressure starts to close in as he focuses on Keke Coutee on the underneath drag.
Watch Wentz's feet on this throw. He aligns his back foot with where he is throwing the ball and keeps a relatively sturdy base. In a perfect world he keeps his front half a bit more closed, but he sets that hallway to his intended target in the face of pressure.
The result is an accurate throw that sets the Colts up well for a fourth down conversion. This little aspect of improvement for Wentz is one of the reasons why we are seeing such improvement in 2021.
Moving Through Progressions
Wentz's eyes and vision were very bad in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles. While he still has had spurts this year where he has locked in on one guy before bailing from the pocket, he is steadily improving each week.
This throw late in the game to Michael Pittman Jr to convert on third down is a prime example. The Colts are running a bit of a mesh route combination, with two drag routes underneath and Zach Pascal running a hook at the first down marker.
Wentz moves through each of his progressions while steadily climbing in the pocket. His feet do get a tad choppy, but he doesn't let them get too out of control. He eventually works back to his number one receiver on the backside hook and sets his feet for the throw.
He delivers a perfect strike for the big conversion past the sticks.
One of His Best Plays of the Year
Wentz has made quite a few big-time throws in this young season. While I don't think this throw is better than his deep shot to T.Y Hilton from a week ago, there are so many little things done perfectly here.
He gets to the top of his drop and immediately feels pressure closing in. He calmly slides up in the pocket, all while protecting the ball and keeping his eyes down the field.
He gets to a spot he likes in the pocket and spots Pittman Jr down the field with a one on one opportunity. Wentz then takes the time to reset his feet before launching a deep ball to the play-making wide receiver.
This play just has so many good elements, but I want to focus on the quick foot reset before he throws the ball. A quarterback should never make an unnecessary off-platform throw, and Wentz taking the half second to make this a throw from a square base is why he is able to get so much air on this ball.
This game had all the makings of a disastrous start in primetime for Wentz. He had a terrible fumble in the redzone, a few interceptable passes, and looked uncomfortable in the pocket early.
Despite the poor start, Wentz showed great resolve in this game and helped the team gut out a much needed win. Was he perfect? No, not at all. He did make enough plays in a bad circumstance to get the win, though.
Overall, this game is just a toss out due to the weather. I did like some of the things Wentz did with his mechanics, and I love the resolve he showed after a rough start.
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.