An incredibly rough start to the 2021 season continued for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
The Colts dropped to 0-3 after losing to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 25-16. This is the first time the Colts have started 0-3 since 2011, better known as the Curtis Painter season.
For the Colts, this was a huge loss in terms of the division standings as the Titans now stand at 2-1 and hold the tiebreaker over Indianapolis.
While there wasn’t much to like in their performance, let’s take a look at whose stock went up and whose stock fell on Sunday.
RB Nyheim Hines
After not being used much against the Los Angeles Rams, Hines was backing to making plays on the ground and through the air.
Hines had six carries for 25 yards and a touchdown as well as five catches for 54 yards. The Colts were able to move down the field when giving Hines the ball and it seemed like the Titans did not have much of an answer for him.
Unfortunately, the Colts seemed to abandon the running game in the second half even with a hobbled quarterback in Carson Wentz. This greatly limited Hines’s touches when he was rolling. It would have been nice to see the Colts keep Hines and fellow running back Jonathan Taylor more involved with Wentz so limited.
CB Rock Ya-Sin
Before the season started, there were a lot of question marks surrounding Ya-Sin and whether or not he could hold onto his starting spot at cornerback.
Ya-Sin has actually been one of the better players on this rough Colts’ defense.
He continued to show it on Sunday as he racked up three tackles and forced a fumble when the Titans had made it to the red zone.
Ya-Sin has arguably been the Colts’ best cornerback through the first three games. He has yet to be called for a penalty and has hardly given up plays in coverage. If Ya-Sin can keep this up and expand on his performance, he’ll certainly hold onto his starting job.
FS Julian Blackmon
As this week approached, Blackmon spoke about making sure tackles on Titans running back Derrick Henry and making sure they played with great technique. He backed that up with his performance.
Blackmon lead the Colts with 11 tackles on Sunday, making numerous stops on Henry and making sure he did not spring runs for long touchdowns. At 6’0”, 187, going up against Henry at 6’3”, 247, it certainly presents a challenge. However, the second-year player stepped up and was one of the bright spots for the Colts’ defense.
Blackmon didn’t play particularly well against the Seattle Seahawks in the opener but has since tightened up his game and played at a much higher level.
HC Frank Reich
After an 0-3 start, Reich has to take some of the blame for how his team has performed. Particularly on offense, the Colts have had issues that do not seem to be getting any better.
The biggest of these problems is in the red zone. The Colts were once again an abysmal 1-for-3 (33%) and continued their struggle of punching the ball into the end zone. This has been a problem since Reich became the head coach of the Colts, and it doesn’t seem to improve.
Reich also seemed to abandon the running game on Sunday in the second half even though his two running backs were rolling. Taylor averaged 6.4 yards per carry and Hines 4.2 yards per carry, yet they only combined for 16 carries total.
When the starting quarterback is dealing with two sprained ankles and obviously not himself, it’s quite the head-scratcher that Reich went away from a successful running game and instead had Wentz throw it 37 times. Better game planning and play calling is required by Reich.
DC Matt Eberflus
It’s safe to say the Colts’ defense has been a disappointment to start the season. The Colts are giving up an average of 26.66 points per game and 140 yards rushing per game. For a defense that had hopes of becoming a Top 5 unit, they’re not even close.
Eberflus’s unit continues to struggle against the top offenses in the league. The Colts’ lack of pass rush has allowed quarterbacks to sit back and pick apart the defense. Only four sacks generated in three games will not get the job done.
The Colts have also given up way too many big plays. Eberflus’s defensive scheme is supposed to help prevent big plays and make the opposing offense work slowly down the field. That hasn’t been the case, with the Seahawks, Rams, and Titans all making it look easy at points.
Miscommunication could be part of it – as has seemed to be the case numerous times already this year – but things need to be cleaned up soon if the Colts want to have any chance at a good season.
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