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Wentzday: Colts’ QB Takes Care of Business vs. Dolphins

Carson Wentz showed signs of better health and execution while leading the Colts to their first victory of the season. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

Indianapolis Colts fans around the country breathed a collective sigh of relief as the team was able to capture their first win of the season on Sunday.

The Colts beat the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium by a score of 27-17. While not perfect, the Colts took care of business and made plenty of plays necessary to improve to 1-3.

Quarterback Carson Wentz had a solid performance, going 24-of-32 (75%) for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Wentz spoke after the game about how it felt to get his first win as a Colt.

“It feels great,” Wentz said after the win. “I feel like I got the monkey off my back a little bit, for me and the team. Huge plays, going down and executing well. Made some plays on the field. Got some breaks with turnovers and penalties that kept some drives alive, but huge win for us.”

It’s Week 4 of "Wentzday" on Horseshoe Huddle where we take a look at the quarterback’s performance from the past week. While Wentz made some mistakes, there was plenty to like as he looked much healthier and made the plays necessary to win the game.

Getting Healthier

Wentz’s two sprained ankles looked much healthier this week. Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, he was a statue in the pocket. We saw that change Sunday.

This first set of clips are a couple of rushes Wentz had, with both resulting in first downs. While he looks slow in the first rush, it’s encouraging he was even able to scramble when he couldn’t just a week ago. The sneak shows head coach Frank Reich also has more confidence in the ankles.

But please, Carson, learn to slide instead of diving headfirst.

Wentz was also much more mobile in the passing game. The next set of clips shows just that with Wentz rolling out and making moves in the pocket. The throw to wide receiver Ashton Dulin is a beautiful strike as Wentz avoided the rush by stepping up in the pocket.

Mobility is a huge part of Wentz’s game, and the healthier he gets, the more mobile we will see him. This is a good sign moving forward that Wentz is getting closer to 100%.

Executing Short and Deep

Last week against the Titans, Wentz missed quite a few opportunities to take the open crossing routes, and it resulted in negative plays. In a Frank Reich offense where short crossing routes are a staple, Wentz needs to be aware that he has these options. It looks like he realized this from the tape as well.

Wentz used the crossing routes to his advantage much better this week. He got it to his receivers and let them make plays. The final two passes in the next clip are fantastic. Wentz escapes pressure and finds wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. on both for nice gains.

Wentz also took his shots deep down the field. With the running game going strong, the Dolphins’ defense started to creep down, which allowed the Colts to push it deep.

The first play in the clip should have been caught by wide receiver Parris Campbell for a huge gain. The pass is a little wobbly, but Campbell has to bring it in. The final throw shows Wentz hitting wide receiver Zach Pascal for the biggest play of the game for the Colts.

It was good to see the Colts and Wentz have success throwing the ball both short and deep. This keeps the defense guessing and doesn’t allow for them to key in on one area of the game.

Not a Perfect Performance

While Wentz had a solid game, it was by no means a perfect performance. Wentz still had issues where he missed throws, and his mechanics were way off.

The next clip shows the three worst throws by Wentz from Sunday. The throw to Pascal is a bad miss, and Wentz was visibly disgusted with himself after the play. The throw to Pittman in the end zone doesn’t look too bad, but his mechanics are not good, and it causes the ball to sore high unnecessarily.

Wentz was also sacked twice by the Dolphins, bringing his total for the season up to 10. The first sack is certainly not on Wentz. Right tackle Julién Davenport is beaten easily, which is no surprise.

The second sack looks to be half on left tackle Eric Fisher, half on Wentz. While Fisher gets beaten fairly quickly, Wentz should throw this ball away once he is outside of the pocket. When dealing with injured ankles, take the throwaway and live to fight another day.

There are still areas that Wentz needs to clean up, but the areas are fixable. Focusing on his mechanics will help eliminate the bad throws, and knowing when to bail on the play will eliminate the sacks. It’s up to Wentz to correct it.

Wentz to Alie-Cox Connection

It has been a mystery as to why tight end Mo Alie-Cox has not been more involved in the offense up to this point. Sunday showed just how big of a weapon he can be.

On throws to Alie-Cox, Wentz was 3-of-5 (60%) for 42 yards and two touchdowns. The trust between the two players is growing, and Wentz is starting to look for Alie-Cox more and more. This is especially true in the red zone, where Alie-Cox can be a huge threat for a Colts team that desperately needs red zone help.

This could be something we see more of as the season goes along.

Final Analysis

Wentz had a nice bounce-back performance against the Dolphins. It was obvious he was feeling healthier this week and there was much more mobility to his game. There are still areas to clean up, particularly with his mechanics, but the Colts were able to have success in the passing game at all levels of the field.

As we hover around the quarter mark of the season, it’s tough to gauge Wentz’s performance as a whole. There have been bright spots, and you can certainly see the potential, but the Colts have yet to be fully healthy on offense with Wentz himself banged up. What we’ve seen so far is encouraging, but we definitely want to see more once he and the offense are back to full strength.

Next week the Colts will take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Ravens’ defense blitzes more than any other team in football, and Wentz must be prepared to get the ball out quickly. Being able to get the ball to his receivers quickly and not hold on to the ball too long will be the biggest key to success for him in Week Five.

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Have thoughts on the overall assessment of Carson Wentz coming out of the Week 4 matchup against the Dolphins? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!

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