Remember Me?

White Darius Leonard Jersey

Apr 29th, 10:58


Joined: Jan 21st, 09:15
Total Topics: 113
Total Posts: 113
With the Colts preparing to face the Chiefs just two days from now White Darius Leonard Jersey , the pressure is on for both teams to come out with their absolute best in this contest. The Colts have been rolling, winning 10 of their last 11 games, while the Chiefs have experienced a bit of a lull after the bye, losing two critical pieces of their offense which has taken them from historically great to just regular great. Today we are going to take a look at some of the critical matchups in this game and how they will impact its outcome. With two teams like this, you can bet there are a lot of them.Colts offensive line vs Chiefs pass rushPhoto by Tim Warner/Getty ImagesThis is probably the most important matchup in this game. The Chiefs have a solid pass rush, tied for first in the league in sacks with 52.While there is more to the pass rush than just sacks, it is certainly the primary goal, and indicates they are capable of getting after the passer. It is important to remember that most of the teams the Chiefs have faced have been forced into passing the ball early, which creates the opportunity to get after the quarterback when the running game is less of a concern. If the Colts can keep the game close, it will help negate the pass rush to some degree.Even if they are not able to keep the game terribly close, they should be able to handle this pass rush fairly effectively. The Colts offensive line has been one of the best in football, and Andrew Luck gets the ball out on average in 2.63 seconds. That is good for fourth fastest among playoff QBs and is part of what has kept him upright all season. Ultimately, the pressure will be on Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, Braden Smith, Mo Alie-Cox, and the running backs to communicate effectively inside what will be a raucous Arrowhead Stadium and make sure they pick up their matchups. If they can neutralize that pass rush, the offense should have little issues moving the ball all day.T.Y. Hilton vs Chiefs secondaryPhoto by Bob Levey/Getty ImagesT.Y. Hilton has been a major factor in the Colts late season success, and it has come in spite of his ankle being in rough shape. Now though, he has said it is improving and he felt better in the Texans game than he had against the Titans the week before. With another week spending time on rehab and missing practice, he is likely to be feeling even better. That’s good, because he’ll be facing a secondary that is nowhere near equipped to deal with him. They play man coverage, which is tough to do against Hilton unless you are an elite cornerback. Frank Reich puts his players in situations where the secondary has to make no-win decisions, and when you couple that with Hilton being prodigiously skilled, it makes for a long day. I would look for him to be involved early, because if he is moving the ball well, it will mean the defense needs to make adjustments for him. That opens up guys like Dontrelle Inman, Eric Ebron, and Nyheim Hines Darius Leonard Jersey 2019 , who are every bit as capable of doing damage. If the Colts are going to get a win, they need to dominate the Chiefs’ secondary. They’ll have to score points to counteract the potent offense of the Chiefs, and Hilton’s success is a critical part of that.Marlon Mack vs Chiefs front sevenPhoto by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesMarlon Mack has had a breakout year in 2018. His playoffs started with a bang as well, rushing for 148 yards and setting a new franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game. Mack has improved across the board this season, and will be running the ball behind the full starting offensive line and against a run defense that has been poor at best. It will be critical to have success running the ball early and often for this team, and Mack is where that starts. The offensive line should be able to create running lanes for him, and Mack is capable of making guys miss and gashing teams for big plays. If he is able to do that and let the offense remain balanced, this team should be able to hang in a high scoring game.Colts pass defense vs Travis KelcePhoto by Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesPerhaps the most influential matchup in this game will be between the Colts defenders and Travis Kelce. Kelce is a dangerous weapon in the passing game and has caught at least 5 balls in every game but their week 1 matchup. He has 1336 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. That’s 60 more yards than T.Y. Hilton has. In other words, he is essentially like a massive # 1 wide receiver. He averages 92.4 yards per game, and 17 yards per reception. While the tendency given his crazy speed is to worry about Tyreek Hill, this is the guy the Colts need to focus on. They haven’t really been beaten up by deep plays all season and I don’t really expect that to be a major storyline in this game either. They have, however, struggled against tight ends. If they hope to slow the Chiefs’ offense, it starts with slowing down Travis Kelce. That means good communication, making sure they know their assignments, and playing heads up football. Quincy Wilson has had some luck in physical man coverage against bigger receivers, and he may see usage in coverage on Kelce at times. Anthony Walker has had several very near picks because Leonard or one of the corners has gotten a hand in a passing lane going to a tight end in the middle of the field. In the playoffs, that needs to be a pick, not a near pick. This will be a major matchup if the Colts hope to get out with a win.Matt Eberflus vs Patrick MahomesPhoto by Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesThe big one. Patrick Mahomes has had an insane year. In his first year as a starter, Mahomes has thrown for 5097 yards, 50 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he did that surrounded by the best offensive skill position players in the league and a head coach who has a knack for brilliant offensive play calling, but ultimately he has to get them the ball, and his play has been brilliant and he deserves credit for it. Matt Eberflus has been an excellent calling the Colts defense this season, and has gotten better as the season has gone on. He has clearly gotten a feel for his players and how to best use them. This matchup will be by far his toughest of the season. Mahomes is unlike any quarterback he has faced in his ability to extend plays and make ridiculous throws. One of the most significant talents Mahomes possesses is his ability to extend plays. He has incredible arm strength and is able to throw the ball from a variety of arm angles, and that ability paired with his feel and mobility allows him to roll out when under pressure and create opportunities for his skill players. Time and time again this season he has done this and converted on third downs or for touchdowns because of it.To win this matchup, Eberflus needs to get pressure from his interior defensive linemen. They need Margus Hunt and Denico Autry to be consistently collapsing the pocket from the inside. However, that alone will not be enough. They will need to do that in conjunction with sending a timely blitz or simply making sure the linebackers or defensive ends are keeping contain so that Mahomes cannot roll out and burn the coverage by extending plays. The Chiefs’ skill position players are too talented to make the cornerbacks cover them for 4-5+ seconds, and if the Colts defensive line can’t get pressure, that spells a really bad day for them. I anticipate that Eberflus will attempt to mix up his looks to keep the young quarterback on his toes and try to get pressure inside consistently using stunts and twists to minimize his need to send more than 4. He will need to have his players playing disciplined, penalty-free football as well White Braden Smith Jersey , because this offense doesn’t need any freebies. Ultimately, this game will require defenders stepping up and getting takeaways. Kenny Moore and Darius Leonard have been two of the Colts strongest defenders over the back half of the season. Now is the time for them to do what great players do in huge games. Go out and make game altering plays for their team. For 15 years, the Indianapolis Colts were coached by men who had a conservative approach to offensive decision-making. Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, and Chuck Pagano all preferred to “play it safe” in difficult offensive situations almost as a rule. For Colts fans, it was infuriating. With one of the more dominant offenses in the league, led by two of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL for most of those years, the coaches would often take the game out of the offense’s hands and ask an outmatched and often bad defense to step up and give the offense another chance. By the way, this happened in nearly every game, against nearly every opponent, in almost every circumstance fans could dream up.In fact, conservative play-calling by Jim Caldwell at the end of the first half against the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV turned the momentum of the game. This conservative play-calling not only came in the Super Bowl, before half time, with the one of the league’s best quarterbacks in the two minute offense at his disposal, it came at a time where the Saints had just run their own 7 minute offensive drive that stalled on a 4th-and-1 run call. An offensive score to close out the first half would pushed the Colts to a 10 or 14 point lead. It would have punished New Orleans for failing to convert on fourth down. It would be devastating to the Saints heading into the locker room down 10 or 14 points, only to kick the ball off to Indianapolis in the second half.It didn’t happen. Three straight runs, two by backup running back Mike Hart, forced the Colts to punt the ball away after using only 1:03 of the game clock. Drew Brees and the Saints offense had good field position, remained aggressive and closed out the first half with a field goal, cutting the lead to 4. This momentum emboldened the Saints to start the second half with an onside kick that will be burned into the memories of Colts forever.It didn’t take hindsight to know that three straight run calls in the Super Bowl, against the Saints and its high powered offense, with Peyton Manning and the Colts high powered offense in a two minute situation was a catastrophic coaching failure. It was a conservative decision. Run the ball, force the Saints to use timeouts, try to pickup the first down on the ground, and end halftime with a 7 point lead. It was deferring the option to go for the jugular or otherwise try to cripple the Saints heading into the half. The rest is history.Colts fans have witnessed bad aggressive decisions as well. The 4th-and-2 decision by the New England Patriots in Indianapolis, in their own territory in the fourth quarter, with the lead, was stupid. He allowed his fear of Peyton Manning to cloud an otherwise brilliant coaching mind. He should have punted the ball away and forced Manning to march the distance of the field for a late-game score. He had a 6 point lead, only a touchdown would beat him and he gave the Colts phenomenal field position. It doesn’t take hindsight to know that it was an epic failure as a coaching decision. In real-time watching the game I felt like it was a gift the moment the Patriots snapped that ball. I was stunned Belichick would do something like that. It was like living in an alternate universe. It was awesome.This season, Frank Reich has made a series of bad aggressive calls. It was an absolutely wrong decision to go for it on 4th-and-4 in Colts territory in overtime. The chances to convert were against him and the likelihood for the Texans to win the game sky-rocketed if he failed — which he was considerably more likely to do. Unsurprisingly, the attempt failed and Houston exploited the Colts’ zone defense to use one play to get into field goal range to win the game.To this day Braden Smith Jersey 2019 , the Texans point to the Colts victory in Week 4 as the turning point of the season. They earned their first win of the season on the road, against a divisional opponent, and it took a comeback to get it done. It emboldened them as a team and helped to kick start a winning streak that has them one game away from clinching the division.Good coaches don’t make that decision. The consequences of wins and losses, particularly in the division, are drastic every season. Haphazardly throwing away that game wasn’t inspirational to a young team, it was a loss that inspired a divisional opponent. It very well could have been a loss that cost them a chance to make the playoffs or win the division.It has been discussed at length that in another divisional game, Reich had a profoundly negative impact on the outcome. On the road, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in a must-win game the Colts were shut out. Not because they were actually never in a position to score, they were in position to score at least three times during the game but aggressive play calls early in the game forced them into a go-for-broke late that failed.Without any hindsight, when the Colts had the ball at the one yard line early in the second quarter I felt like the right decision, clearly, was to kick the field goal. One offensive drive resulted in an interception, the second was a punt, the third stalled at the 11-yard line and forced a field goal. Adam Vinatieri hit that field goal to take a three point lead but a penalty on the Jaguars gave Indianapolis a new set of downs.In three straight plays the Colts managed to get only four yards. They could take the 3 points they just earned by kicking an easy field goal or gamble on the goal line to score a touchdown. The smart decision, the right decision, against this opponent and in this situation was to take the points. The Jaguars offense had a backup starting quarterback, was without its biggest backfield weapon, and even at full strength is not very good. Points would be devastating to Jacksonville.The decision to go for it failed. For those who think it was clearly the right decision statistically or because of analytics, Troy Russell completed a bit of research for me leading up to this story. Jacksonville’s red zone defense is one of the best in the NFL, 9th overall. Their defense with 1 yard to gain on third and fourth downs is the best in the NFL.This was not a no-brainer call. I don’t know what sheet Reich had as a reference but if it had the details it should have told him that it was a very risky call against this defense. Knowing everything else he knew about the game, the team he was facing, the environment, and the importance of the outcome — he needs to make the right decision. He should have taken the early lead, put pressure on the Jaguars to respond, taken early momentum, and could have easily been in a position to tie or win with another field goal later in the game.Either way, Colts fans are learning something that is rather interesting. After years of loathing horribly conservative play-calling a fan base has been desperate for an aggressive leader. Now that they have one, the fan base has found itself wishing less for aggressive or conservative and more for intelligent decision-making.Frank Reich is a first year head coach. He is a former backup quarterback who led the biggest comeback in NFL history. Reich is built to be aggressive. As a coach, he’ll need to be something else. He will need to be smart if the Colts are going to be put in the best position to win football games and make it to the playoffs.