Winless no more.
The Indianapolis Colts have their first victory of the 2021 season with a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
The Colts went into Hard Rock Stadium determined to not start 0-4, desperate to start turning their season around. They were the better team and made sure they took care of business.
With the Colts getting the victory against the Dolphins, and the New York Jets beating the Tennessee Titans, the Colts are also only one game out of the lead for the AFC South. There is still a lot of football left to play.
As for the players, there were a few that stood out for their strong performances and others struggled. Here is the stock up and stock down report for the Colts after Week 4.
RB Jonathan Taylor
Coming into the game, Taylor was going to be the X-factor if the Colts were going to come out with the win. He ended up turning in his best game of 2021.
The Dolphins had no answer for Taylor, as he ran the ball 16 times for 103 yards (6.4 avg) and a touchdown. He also had three catches for 11 yards on the day.
The explosive element of the Colts running game had been missing all season up to this point. Taylor ripped off runs of 38 and 23 yards, with the 23-yarder ending in a trip to the end zone.
We preached all week the Colts needed to get back to the “Run the Damn Ball” playstyle this team has excelled with over the last few seasons. They did just that, and good things happened.
TE Mo Alie-Cox
There have been questions as to why Alie-Cox has not been used more in the red zone considering the Colts’ struggles in this area. Alie-Cox stands at 6’5”, 267, and can win jump balls against almost anyone in the league.
The Colts finally deployed a bigger role to the tight end from VCU as tight end Jack Doyle had been nursing a nagging back injury throughout the week. Alie-Cox rewarded the team with three catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns, proving to be a massive weapon in the red zone.
Quarterback Carson Wentz tried to look for No. 81 in tough spots Sunday, and we could see that more often as the two of them build more confidence playing together.
“If he's right on me, just put it up,” Alie-Cox said when referencing his confidence on jump balls. “I think I can go up with anybody. That's an example of that. Almost had the first one, kind of went through my hands a little bit. The second one (Wentz) told me he was going to put it on the back shoulder and put it up there, and he did it, and I just made the play.”
DE Kemoko Turay
With fellow defensive end Kwity Paye out with a hamstring injury, snaps were up for grabs for the pass rushers. Turay made the most of his opportunities, coming away with two sacks of Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Turay has not had many opportunities to prove himself yet this season. Sunday, he created multiple pressures and showed how he can be a valuable part of the Colts' pass rush.
“I felt good today,” Turay said. “Doing everything I've got to do, staying in the training room and getting up early, just constantly working in the weight room. Staying around the coaches and watching the game and studying my film and just focusing. That's the main part, focus.”
Turay is an incredibly hard worker but has had terrible luck in the injury department. While fully healthy, more of these games could be on the horizon.
CB Xavier Rhodes
Rhodes is still working his way back from the calf injury that sidelined him for the first two games of the year. The two games he has played have certainly been disappointing.
Rhodes was routinely beaten by Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker in the second half. There was one drive where Rhodes was called for two defensive pass interference penalties on balls thrown to Parker, giving up nearly 50 yards.
This comes after giving up multiple plays through the air, including a touchdown, to the Tennessee Titans just a week ago in his return to action.
Rhodes does not look 100% and it’s expected that it will take some time before he returns to full health. However, the concern is that Rhodes regresses and cannot be relied upon after a stellar year in 2020.
OT Eric Fisher
This is the second week in a row where Fisher has had a poor performance. He said this week that he is still working his way back to 100% from a torn Achilles he suffered in January. He mentioned how the last 10-20% of athletic burst is the hardest part to get back.
This has been evident in his performance, especially in the last two weeks. Fisher once again gave up a sack and allowed numerous pressures on Wentz. One positive was that he did perform well in the running game, opening lanes for Taylor and Marlon Mack.
The key for the offensive line to be elite will be Fisher establishing himself back to his Pro Bowl level and proving he can be counted on to protect Wentz. With guard Quenton Nelson out for at least two more games, Fisher will need to sure up the left side in pass protection quickly.
OT Julién Davenport
At this point, not much more can be said about Davenport. He’s been a disaster for the Colts, making me miss Le’Raven Clark. Another game, another poor performance by Davenport allowing pressures and sacks.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it until it happens. Braden Smith cannot return soon enough.
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