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Enemy Intelligence: The previous week’s Indianapolis Colts Game

I planned to do what I normally do and watch the opponent’s previous game. Unforutnately, the Colts lost last week to the Saints, 62-7. I started watching that game for this post, then decided it ultimately wouldn’t be a very good game to write a review of the Colts off of. I instead watched the Colts’ previous game, a road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Colts in that game tried to rally from a 20-7 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, but an ill-advised Pierre Garcon lateral attempt was returned for a score with the Colts trailing by three with less than three minutes left in the game.

What I saw from the Colts, after the jump:

  • Wide open holes. Windows in zone coverage are not small, and do not close down quickly. If Hawkins, Damian Williams, Cook are going to do things this year, this game is a great opportunity to start doing them.
  • Rookie running back Delone Carter looks better than I thought he did. Not great, but a capable NFL rusher.
  • Offensively, the Colts spend a lot of time in regular formations. We’re used to the Titans playing nickel every or almost down against the Colts an dseeing a lot of three wide receiver formations. Now, you only see 3WR regularly in passing situations.
  • Painter’s passes are mostly the quick passes you’d expect from an inexperienced quarterback. Titans will need to do a better job than the Bengals did on slants to Garcon, who most got 11 targets mostly matched up against Nate Clements while Wayne got 6 against Leon Hall.
  • The Bengals ran on the Colts with some success, but it’s probably a less stout D than it looked. Then again, I’m not sure how much use it is talking about the opponent’s run defense given the Titans’ problems in run offense.
  • The Colts don’t really seem to have a vertical passing game, but Painter is doing a pretty good job of playing within himself. As I mentioned in this week’s Q&A response, I’m very curious to see how he does against the Titans’ pass defense. It’ll be a good test for both teams.
  • The Colts seemed to have a lot of their success running right, and the FO numbers support that (#2 in the NFL running right tackle). The FO numbers also suggest they’re very good running off left end (#3). Carter does not have breakaway speed, though.

This is a game the Titans can, should, and if they want to make something of their season, need to win. If they play like they did last week, though, the Colts leave LP Field with their first win of the 2011 regular season. This ain’t the 2008 Detroit Lions, where the gameplan was “Let’s run misdirection the first 5 plays, then take our foot off the pedal if we’re up two scores.”