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Positional Grades: Colts vs. Ravens

A 16-point Indianapolis Colts lead disappeared in the blink of an eye Monday night, leading to a 31-25 loss in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens in one of the worst losses in the Frank Reich era. The report card won't be pretty. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

Make it 120-1. 

That's 120-1 for the Indianapolis Colts after leading by 16+ points in the fourth quarter. That loss came in a brutal display Monday night on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, as Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown carved up the Colts' depleted defense, leading to a 31-25 come-from-behind victory in overtime in front of a national audience. 

Pain. 

That's the only way to describe it. 

On a day in which the Colts' offense put up more than 500 total yards of offense and received a number of splash plays, the defense didn't change a thing under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, leading to what can only be considered a back-breaking loss on a night in which a win would have change the tenor of the season. 

Let's get to some grades. 

QB — B+

The numbers look good overall for Carson Wentz, who threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens, hitting Michael Pittman Jr. for a 42-yard touchdown and Jonathan Taylor for a 76-yard touchdown on a screen pass on the first drive of the game. 

It was a career night for the veteran quarterback.

However, Wentz lost another fumble, struggled to hit some easy throws due to poor mechanics, and was really hesitant to cut the ball loose down the field until the second half, in which he hit a number of 20+ yard completions. 

That's the Wentz the Colts need all four quarters. 

Clean up the mechanics and things could look a lot better. It was certainly a step in the right direction, but Wentz still struggles with football IQ and awareness in critical situations.

RB — A-

Can't blame Taylor after this one; he was phenomenal. 

Taylor showed off his speed in space early and often, taking a screen pass from Wentz 76 yards to the house on the first series from scrimmage, and later added two other big catch-and-runs in space, finishing with three catches for 116 yards and the score. 

On the ground, Taylor ran well against a good Ravens' front. The numbers might not be eye-popping, but he finished with 53 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, setting the tone on the ground. 

Marlon Mack received five carries and looked fantastic in limited action, gaining 47 yards on the ground, looking liked a legitimate change-of-pace back that could garner some trade attention in the weeks ahead. 

Nyheim Hines was his typical self, rushing for 18 yards on four carries, running well in short-yardage situations. 

It was a great night overall for the Colts' running backs, which makes that two weeks in a row that the guys in the backfield have figured it out. 

WR — A

I was really, really pleased with the Colts' receivers Monday night, as the entire group played a great game overall. 

Pittman Jr. stole the headlines with the highlight reel leaping catch through contact for the touchdown from Wentz. He finished with six catches for 89 yards and the touchdown on the night, looking exactly like the guy the Colts hoped they were getting when he was drafted out of USC. 

Zach Pascal looked terrific in the slot on the night, finishing with three catches for 43 yards, including a pivotal catch late in the fourth quarter to set up Rodrigo Blankenship's potential game-winning field goal. 

Parris Campbell got into the action on Monday and looked pretty strong overall, finishing with four catches for 56 yards on six targets, including a long of 23 yards. I'd like to see him get more involved moving forward, which I'm sure is a sentiment many share with me. 

I was also pleased with the way Ashton Dulin started the game, hauling in two passes for 13 yards and added a key block — along with Pittman Jr. — to spring Taylor on his 76-yard touchdown. 

This group is really coming together nicely. 

TE — B-

Two Kylen Granson sightings was a pleasant surprise. 

The rookie tight end hauled in two passes for 19 yards, looking like a legitimate option in the passing game on over routes. That's a great sign moving forward, as he can be a real matchup problem. 

With Granson getting some work in the passing game, it allowed Mo Alie-Cox to add some pass catching duties for the second week in a row, allowing Jack Doyle to stay in as extra protection in the passing game. Alie-Cox finished with three catches for 50 yards and is really starting develop chemistry with Wentz, while Doyle drew the biggest penalty of the game: a personal foul on Tavon Young late in the game, giving the Colts late life after a holding call. 

OL — B-

Another week, another solid performance overall from a banged-up offensive line. 

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That said, I am very, very worried about Eric Fisher at this point. He's been a train wreck, and that was the case on the sack and forced fumble he allowed to Odefe Oweh early in the game when he was late off the ball and easily beat around the corner to let Wentz get blasted. 

He's looked slow and lacked power throughout the tape he's shown, which is a real concern. 

Inside, I loved what I saw from Chris Reed, Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski, as all three helped establish a real run game and kept the Ravens blitzes at bay throughout the game. 

Right tackle Matt Pryor was decent in his first Colts start too, showing off some overall athleticism, though he was called for a holding penalty on the final drive of the game. 

DL — D-

No pass rush whatsoever was really created by this group on a night in which Lamar Jackson dropped back 43 times to pass. 

Yes, the Colts recorded two sacks and have five quarterback hits, but this group was simply out of gas in the second half and couldn't get any type of pass rush going as the Ravens started slinging the football around in comeback mode. 

It was very evident how much this group missed rookie Kwity Paye. It was also very frustrating that DeForest Buckner couldn't really generate much of a pass rush on Monday night, and the best pass rusher was Al-Quadin Muhammad once again. 

Same for Tyquan Lewis. 

The pair combined for 11 tackles, two sacks and four quarterback hits in the loss. Ben Banogu was the lone pass rusher outside of Lewis and AQM to record a quarterback hit on the night. 

That's not good enough. 

The lack of pass rush was really rough, but the Colts' defense was stout against the run, holding the Ravens to just 3.4 yards per carry. The only offense on the ground the Ravens created was on Jackson scrambles. 

LB — D

The stats look awesome for Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke: 20 combined tackles on Monday night. 

They simply weren't good enough. Period. 

Leonard and Okereke really struggled in coverage and the Ravens picked on them throughout the game, including on the game-winning touchdown pass from Jackson to Brown. It's very clear the Colts sorely lack a pass-coverage option at linebacker at the moment, and it's looming large. 

The run defense is perfectly fine from the duo. But there's a recipe for success against the Colts' defense and there's no way around it for Indianapolis.

DB — F

As ugly as it gets.

Yes, I know they were down to their fourth and fifth cornerback on the roster, but the group overall was horrendous. 

A lot of it is a lack of talent and overall depth, and a lot of it is a failure on Matt Eberflus's part to not switch a single thing up. The Ravens carved up the Colts' zone coverage. Eberflus never changed a thing. That's the result they deserved. 

BoPete Keyes was beaten badly on a double move by Brown for a long touchdown, the Colts had no answer for Andrews, and Julian Blackmon fell off a cliff after his forced fumble on Jackson at the 1-yard line. 

Once Xavier Rhodes left the game with a knee injury and Isaiah Rodgers was dealing with a lower body injury, it was a wrap for the secondary. Kenny Moore can only do so much on his own. 

Special Teams — D

I get it, Rodrigo Blankenship was battling a hip injury, which sapped his power and accuracy. He was terrible though. 

If he's out there kicking, he's healthy enough to play. He has to be better. 

The blocked field goal was not on him, but the pull to his left to miss the game-winning field goal is as ugly a miss as you'll see in the NFL. 

Maybe the Colts make a move at kicker this week to let Hot Rod get healthy. Eddy Pineiro is still out there. 

AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Rigoberto Sanchez was very good once again, averaging 45.0 yards per punt on his two kicks, downing the Ravens inside the 20 once on the night. 

I really liked what I saw from Hines in the return game too, but the lack of success and inability to hit field goals or an extra point in the loss proved to be the difference and leads to the low grade from me. 

Have thoughts on the Colts' position grades coming out of Monday's loss to the Ravens? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel! 


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