The Indianapolis Colts dropped yet another game this past Sunday Youth Jack Doyle Jersey , pushing their record to 1-5. Despite the four game losing streak, there are some positives to take away from Sunday’s action. Eric Ebron and Darius Leonard continued their strong play and Andrew Luck once again continues to prove his doubters wrong every week. The offensive line— despite a few low lights— put together one of their better performances of the season. Oh and Marlon Mack looked really good for much of his first game back from injury.Mack has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and had only appeared in one game. He finished the Jets game with 12 carries for 89 yards and added 1 catch for 4 yards. This is pretty impressive for a team that has struggled to run the ball this year. So was Mack’s positive statistical output due more to him having a very good game or to the offensive line opening lanes for him? Lets look at the film to come to a conclusion.PositivesMy biggest concern with Marlon Mack coming into this season was never his athleticism. Mack is an exceptional athlete with great burst and home run ability. My biggest concern has always been his vision, as he has been unable to consistently find open running lanes in the past, both with the Colts and at USF. Check out this video by Matt Waldman on Mack’s vision here against the Redskins. The video is a tad long but it is worth a watch so you can see the reasons for my concern.Despite his history, I was thoroughly impressed with Mack’s vision and patience against the Jets. He displayed the perfect amount of patience for much of the game— another thing he has struggled with— and often took what the defense gave him rather than trying to force a home run play on every snap. He still showed off his excellent burst and the ability to make defenders miss, which lead to a great performance and an average of more than 7 yards per carry. Our first clip here shows an example of Mack’s improvement. In the past, Mack would try to cut the play outside and outrun Jamal Adams to the pylon. Instead, Mack keeps his eyes up field and is able to cut on a dime to gain 7 yards. This is an excellent cut that helped get his team in scoring range. His ability to plant his foot and burst up field is quite impressive. Our next clip again shows off the patience that Mack was displaying on Sunday. On a shotgun cutback run, timing is everything. The running back’s job here is to stay right behind his linemen and follow them as they create the hole. Mack is able to do just that as he stays right on the backsides of Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski as they lead the way for a big gain. Just another example of Mack being patient and taking what the defense gives him. Nothing super flashy here but Mack does everything right again on this play and it leads to a big gain. This next highlight reel clip goes for the second longest run of the season for the Colts, and really highlights Mack’s athleticism. Mack again chooses to get the play vertical rather than breaking to his outside. He is able to sidestep the initial defender and makes two defenders miss in the hole en route to a 25 yard rush. The athletic traits to make those players miss along with the vision to find the hole and get up field shows great potential for Mack. Also, is there anything better than a jump cut? Colts have desperately missed the ability to make plays the first few weeks.This next clip is the result primarily of a poor read by the Jets’ linebacker and great blocks by Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly— but I like the way Mack finishes this play. On a simple inside run out of shotgun, an offense typically expects to gain 3-4 yards to stay ahead of the sticks. With Mack’s burst and ability to finish Jack Doyle Jersey Stitched , he is able to get 10 yards and a first down. I like how Mack lowered his pads and ran through contact, giving him an additional 2-3 yards at the end of the run. Big hole but great job by Mack to get the most out of the play. This next clip is my favorite run of the day. Here it is a simple inside run call out of shotgun. Mack looks for an outlet for a split second before he plants his foot and gets up field despite the very small hole that is created by his offensive line. Where he really impresses me is how he gets skinny through the hole and keeps driving his feet in order to turn what would typically be a 2-3 yard gain into a 9 yard gain. In the NFL, the holes are very small and result in little room for error. Sometimes running backs need to just get up field and keep their feet moving in order to get positive yards— something that former Colts running back Frank Gore understood very well. This is a very good, veteran type run by Mack.Lastly, I really like this run by Mack, even though he lost his balance. We see Mack show patience and an impressive jump cut in the backfield. He’s able to navigate through the traffic and finds the open hole. If he doesn’t lose his balance on this play, this could be another 10+ yard run. Overall Mack showed a lot of positive signs in this game and I feel comfortable saying that this is the best rushing performance of Mack’s career.NegativesDespite an overall positive performance, there were a few negatives in this game. He did show a lot more decisiveness against the Jets but his bad habits are hard to break and we will some of the old traits pop up. We will also see that Mack was less than stellar in the passing game. The Colts’ coaching staff clearly trusts Nyheim Hines more in the passing game and at this point and its easy to see why. Mack just isn’t as consistent of a pass catcher or pass blocker to be in on third downs right now. Our first clip shows Mack being a bit too patient in the backfield. Ideally, Mack should just just plant his left foot in the ground and immediately get up field. Instead, he hesitates a bit too long and likely costs himself a couple extra yards. He finishes this run very well and is able to create yards after contact.The last clip is obviously Mack’s worst snap of the day. Andrew Luck hits Mack right in the chest and Mack looks up field before securing the catch. The ball goes through his hands and right to a Jets’ defender for a touchdown. It’s a terrible mistake and it simply cannot happen in the NFL. That being, it’s a young player trying to make too much happen. I don’t expect to see more of this from Mack going forward this season. AnalysisMarlon Mack put together the best rushing performance of his career on Sunday. He has always been an excellent athlete who can turn any run into a big gain but the vision and patience he showed against the Jets is what he will need to be a starting running back in this league. He still has some things to improve on, including limiting big mistakes like his dropped pass and establishing some consistency with this vision and patience as a runner. I am interested to see if he can continually find holes and vertical running lanes going forward.At the end of the day Youth Adam Vinatieri Jersey , Mack gave the Colts something it has desperately needed this season— a running game. Luck was able to put up bigger numbers in the second half with Mack running strong. Hopefully, this creates the possibility of a more balanced offensive approach that takes some pressure off of Luck moving forward. Let’s be honest here, there wasn’t really all that much to be excited about in the Indianapolis Colts Week 13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. For starters, they were shutout for the first time in Andrew Luck’s career. Additionally, we’ve talked for weeks now — and the national media was just starting to come around — about how the Colts were better than their record, yet they didn’t show that against the previously 3-8 bottom dwellers of the AFC South.However, like every week, win or lose, there were some good performances that need to be acknowledged. It may not feel like there were many that deserved to be recognized, but here are the game balls for the Colts in their Week 13 loss to the Jaguars.Denico AutryFor my money, Autry was the obvious major highlight of the game for the Colts. Autry has put together some really impressive performances this season, but he’s also been injured for a few games Indianapolis Colts Denzelle Good Jersey , and has had others in which he was minimally productive as well. Sunday Autry was a terror for the Colts’ defense and had a major impact on the field. He alone notched 3 sacks, 4 quarterback hits and 7 total tackles in a game where getting pressure on the inexperienced Cody Kessler was key to taking control of the game.Autry wasn’t just showing up in the box score though either. He was a big contributor in clogging up running lanes for the Jaguars as well. With his help, the Colts allowed only 79 yards (an average of 2.9 yards per carry) on the ground which is their second-fewest rushing yardage allowed on the season, and their fewest first downs. His presence is a big one when he’s on, and Sunday he was on.The team has been needing a force to show up in the front-four this year, and with Tyquan Lewis looking to be a nice burst of youth, strength and athleticism over the past few weeks, the Colts desperately need Autry to continue this kind of play as they attempt to push for a playoff berth.Eric EbronEbron just continues to be a massive contributor for the Colts offense as the season progresses. Sunday Ebron hauled in 10 catches — 4 of which came in the final two drives of the game — for 81 receiving yards. His 16 targets and 10 catches are both season-high marks for Ebron, who is having a career year for the Colts.He wasn’t able to get a touchdown Sunday, but then again, nobody else did either. He is, however Adam Vinatieri Jersey Stitched , maintaining his production despite having Jack Doyle on Injured Reserve and that’s a very good sign. He’s drawing more attention, and against the back-seven of the Jaguars who had a great game, he still managed to get open an remain sure-handed throughout the game with tight coverage.Ebron’s ability to create matchups outside, as well as up the seam have been a vital part of the Colts ability to move the chains and will continue to be down the back stretch of the season. His game wasn’t flashy, but he still came to play on a day in which the Colts offense struggled to move the ball consistently.Anthony Walker — Darius Leonard — Jabaal Sheard — Tyquan LewisI’m just going to go ahead and give this quartet a game ball as well. Each of them made real contributions to the game, and have been playing really well so far this season. Lewis was used on the edge to take a advantage of Ereck Flowers who started at left tackle for the Jaguars and it forced the offensive line to give him help throughout the day. He showed off his combination of speed, power and hand usage to force pressure on Kessler earning himself 2 quarterback hits on the day and opening up things for the rest of the defensive line.Walker forced the only turnover for the Colts Sunday, and quite honestly, it should have been enough to win the game. The Colts got the ball in good field position, but turned the ball right back over to Kessler and the Jags who only put up two field goals on the day. Walker is second on the team in tackles (85 total) and has become part of a very good Colts linebacker duo, and is showing great chemistry with Darius Leonard. Speaking of Leonard, he’s just a tackling machine and is near the ball on every down even if he isn’t making the tackle. He accrued 1.5 tackles for loss Sunday and had 8 total tackles while being a vital part of the Colts run defense in the process. Even when he doesn’t rack up double-digit tackles Youth Anthony Castonzo Jersey , Leonard is still a major presence on the field for the Colts.Sheard had himself a really nice game as well Sunday. He didn’t have a major production type of game in the box score, but he did rack up 2 tackles for loss and forced Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon to find alternate routes in the running game throughout the day. This is just as important as getting the tackles himself, as others benefited from his push on the Jaguars’ offensive line throughout the day. This quartet will continue to be big players for the Colts defense with the final four games of the year on the horizon. If they can continue their play, the Colts defense will continue to assist the offense enough to pull out some wins. As we witnessed yesterday, though, both units have to come through on that in order for it to work.
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