When the Indianapolis Colts (2-4) travel to the west coast for a Sunday night matchup against the San Francisco 49ers (2-3), extreme weather is expected to play a role.
The forecast in Santa Clara isn’t good at all. With wind gusts that could reach up to 40 mph and heavy rain potentially causing flooding and mudslides in the area, the Colts entered the week knowing they’d have to prepare for brutal conditions.
Head coach Frank Reich told reporters Friday about the kind of mindset they’ve had this week with the forecast playing a role.
“Yeah, the forecast is not good, but we’ve talked about it all week. We’ve gotten good work – a lot of wet-ball drill. We had a perfect day yesterday for practice, it was pretty breezy. Then it rained today for practice,” Reich said. “Now, I understand what they are calling for could be a lot worse than what we saw yesterday and today, but I think the guys have worked hard. The players have really done a lot with the wet ball this whole week, not just one day. We’re as prepared as we can be.”
Even though quarterback Carson Wentz has been playing much better over the last three weeks, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sunday night’s game turned into a muddy contest that features the run game on both sidelines.
Reich prefers to make those kinds of adjustments in-game, but it’s certainly something the Colts have to keep in mind when it comes to moving the football in poor conditions.
“I think you have to adapt and adjust in game – you have to get a feel, and I think you can still throw it. Obviously, I’ve coached and played in a lot of bad-weather games so I feel like I have some experience at that,” Reich said. “We’ve got a big, strong-armed quarterback. I think we have the right kind of players that we can still mix it up. But you have to make those little adaptations during the game depending on the wind, the direction of the wind, cross wind, with the wind, against the wind.”
Between the two, Reich believes it’s the wind that can cause the most disruption. The Colts are likely going to be dealing with both on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.
“I mean any quarterback and kicker will tell you that the wind is more of an issue than rain. Then obviously the combination of the two of them is the toughest. But we’ll be ready,” Reich said. “Like I said, we’ve had good work all week and had some wind and some rain, so probably optimal preparation conditions for us.”
We won’t know if that preparation will pay off for the Colts until the game actually starts, but the weather is certainly going to hinder offensive play during the prime-time game.