Entertaining? Absolutely. Excusable? No way.
The Indianapolis Colts (1-4) had an epic collapse on a nationally televised Monday Night Football stage in Week 5, falling 31-25 in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at M&T Bank Stadium.
Once nursing a 19-point lead late in the third quarter, the Colts allowed Baltimore to score 22 unanswered points and win the game in overtime.
Here are some of the main things I noticed during this matchup.
No Moral Victories; That Was a Collapse
The Colts entered this game with a lowly 1-3 record, so far falling short of the expectations that many people had for them before the season. They weren't given much of a chance to handle this game by analysts across the NFL.
So, what the Colts did throughout much of the contest came as a big surprise. They went into the fourth quarter up 22-9, outpacing Baltimore in yardage 388-302. That's where their fun would end, however.
From there, it was all Ravens. They outscored the Colts 16-3 in the fourth quarter and would score a touchdown on every drive through the end of the game when quarterback Lamar Jackson found wide receiver Marquise Brown from five yards out in overtime to officially end it all.
Special teams played a big role. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was oddly off the field during a field goal attempt at the end of the first half before coming back after a penalty and nailing the kick. After, he'd miss two field goals and an extra point, one of the field goals being a 47-yarder at the end of regulation that would've won the game. During the broadcast, it was mentioned he had a hip injury.
Defensively, the Colts had zero answers for Brown or tight end Mark Andrews in the second half. The two combined for 16 receptions for 220 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 two-point conversions in the second half and overtime. Defensive coverages attempting to be executed by a patchwork secondary left a lot to be desired. The man pulling the string for the Ravens offense, Jackson, was unbelievable. You're going to see a lot mentioned about the records and milestones that he reached with his performance.
Offensively, it was the usual mixed bag of playcalling. Unfortunately, the playcalling late overshadowed what was a well-called game throughout much of the contest. Particularly, on 3rd-and-8 at the Baltimore 15-yard line with 5:18 remaining and the game and up by only eight points, the Colts ran the ball up the gut into a loaded front. The play was immediately killed in the backfield for a four-yard loss and was another example of the Colts doing little to counter obvious defensive pressure before the snap. After the game, Colts head coach Frank Reich said he wished he had that call back, as it was too conservative. On the next play, the Ravens blocked the Colts' field goal attempt, preventing the Colts from going up by two scores.
Monday was the best showing we've seen from the 2021 Colts yet, but they let the Ravens turn them into victims.
That Was Anything but Boring
With a different outcome in the win/loss column, we'd be leading off with how entertaining of a game that was, both in the good and bad drama departments.
These are two teams who are known for having solid defenses and who are at their best offensively running the ball. With that said, it could've been a slow-paced affair.
However, the game featured three passing touchdowns of 40-plus yards and a fumble recovery by the Colts that they returned for a touchdown but was called back due to a questionable forward pass/lateral ruling (there's not enough emotional energy to go into that one right now). There was also the drama and mystery over Blankenship. In all, the two teams combined for 1,036 yards of offense and 56 points.
Offensive Line Keeps Turning it Around
For the second consecutive week, the Colts' offensive line has shrugged off its ugly start and gotten physical in the run game. The Colts had holes throughout the night against Baltimore (when it was appropriate to run the ball) and amassed 123 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (4.7 avg.).
Star running back Jonathan Taylor put up another huge game, totaling 169 yards of offense and two scores on 18 touches (9.4 avg.).
It was refreshing to see from a unit who'd been overmatched through the first few weeks of the season, particularly given their elite status across the league.
Kudos to the coaching staff for finally making the decision to put Matt Pryor in the driver's seat at right tackle while Braden Smith sits out with his foot injury. Things were not going well with Julién Davenport on the field, and something had to be done. The offense has looked much better in the last two weeks particularly.
What were your biggest takeaways from Monday? Drop them below in the comment section!