63 degrees/ RAIN/ 14 MPH wind
Key Decision #1:
- Baltimore’s gameplan appeared to favor throwing on the Colts over running the ball, especially early in the game. The Ravens started the second drive of the game in “gun empty”. They knew exactly what they wanted to do. They were able to move the ball by throwing in the middle of the field. In a wet and potentially sloppy and ugly game making the passing game potentially difficult, the Ravens threw 38 times. RB Alex Collins ran 18 times for 51 yards.
- Baltimore had a 10 minute time of possession advantage in the game and generated five drives of at least 10 plays.
- Surprisingly, they didn’t seem to challenge the Colts rookie cornerbacks on the perimeter. As the game went on and the weather changed and made it a wetter, potentially sloppier game. This was a surprise to us.
Key Decision #2:
- Indianapolis utilized running the ball and getting rid of the ball quickly to maintain the ball, ensure some element of time of possession balance (even though it was still a significant advantage in favor of Baltimore ), and limit the Ravens pass rush.
- Earlier in the week, we recognized that the Baltimore defense versus the Colts offensive line had the makings of a major mismatch. The Indianpolis offensive line has given up the most sacks in the NFL heading into the game and was facing the Ravens, a team with the fifth most sacks.
- The Colts ran the ball to better aid the offensive line so as to help them in pass protection. They ran the ball 21 times with Frank Gore and Marlon Mack with Gore getting 17 of those carries and 68 yards rushing.
- It was a strong gameplan against the Ravens defense.
Key Decision #3: (BAL leading 13-7 / 3rd & 1 IND 15 / 10:11 Q3)
- Baltimore attempted a gadget play pass to Nick Boyle where a tackle and two wide receivers were split out wide. The play resulted in a three yard loss and they were forced to attempt a 36-yard field goal. The Ravens converted and surged further ahead, 16-7. This could have been a 20-7 game had they converted on 3rd down and scored a touchdown. A 13 point lead rather than a nine point lead might have been an insurmountable lead for the Colts to overcome.
Key Decision #4:
- At the end of the first half, the Ravens took over at their own 30-yard line and sped up the tempo of the game and took shots down field to no success. They possessed the ball for just over 20 seconds as they had three incompletes and a punt. The Colts got the ball back at their own 38-yard line and drove to the Ravens 42-yard line with a completion and a penalty and attempted a 60-yard field goal that fell short.
Key Decision #5:
- On 3rd and 10 and the Colts without any timeouts, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh did his former defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano a huge favor. Baltimore opted to throw for a first down rather than run the ball and take the clock down to the two minute warning by calling a run play. Had the Colts knocked in the field goal it would have been a 13-10 Ravens lead at the half. The Ravens showed little respect for the Colts secondary in that situation.
Key Decision #6: (IND trailing 23-13 / 3rd & 1 IND 34 / 8:16 Q4)
- The Colts are stopped for no gain on a running play to Frank Gore. There is an offensive holding call on the play. The Ravens decline the penalty. The Colts go for a 4th down conversion (which they convert on) and this extends the drive. The Colts kick a field goal to make it a 23-16 game late in the fourth quarter.
- The rain got heavier and the wind became stronger as the game went on. This impacted play calling. The Ravens ran the ball more frequently in the second half of the game.
- The Colts have now lost six straight games and they haven’t score more than 17 points in any of the games.
- Baltimore burned a timeout early in the first quarter trying to get a measurement for a placement that wasn’t too close.
- Early in the 1st quarter and on the Colts 19-yard line, and facing a 4th and 1, rather than kick a field goal, the Ravens ran the ball on the 4th and 1 for a first down to extend the opening drive. The drive ended in a Justin Tucker 30-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
- The Colts most consistent wide receiver is Jack Doyle. He can find seams in the opponent’s defense, often times in the middle of the field. It’s been a tough year for T.Y. Hilton and the Colts wide receivers however. This game was no different. Kamar Aiken killed a Colts drive towards the end of the first half with a drop and Chester Rogers also had a bad drop. Hilton had one of his four 100-yard receiving games this year. The other three came in Colts wins.
- Special teams blocks: Each team had a block. Tony Jefferson blocked a Colts field goal attempt towards the end of the first half while Anthony Walker of the Colts blocked a Sam Koch punt with the score being 23-16 late in the fourth quarter giving the Colts the ball at the Ravens 27-yard line and an opportunity to tie the game.