Letting Jonathan Taylor eat in the second half
Although Taylor was not heavily involved in the first half (more on that later), Reich used the Colts’ best offensive player in the second and the results showed. While Taylor didn’t get a ton of touches, he made the most of them. His 83-yard run sat a franchise record, thanks in part to excellent blocking by the line and by receivers Zach Pascal and Michael Pittman Jr. This set up the Colts’ offense deep in the red zone and Taylor capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. His second-half also included carries for 13 and 12 yards, and an 11-yard touchdown to close out the game.
While I question why Reich did not let Taylor loose earlier, he may have done so to keep him fresh for the second half. If that was the reason it certainly worked.
Opening the playbook, calling deep shots to Campbell/Hilton
The Colts’ passing offense looks better each week. While this week’s version was not as efficient as last week’s against the Ravens, I loved the deep throws to Parris Campbell (51-yard score) and T.Y. Hilton (52-yard grab). This type of passing was missing last season with Philip Rivers. Adding this element to the passing game will certainly lead to a more dangerous product out there.
Not getting too aggressive on defense
I understood the frustration in the first half after rookie quarterback Davis Mills was nearly perfect and the Texans’ were down just one score, but not getting too aggressive ended up paying in the long run, as the mistakes by the Texans’ eventually arrived. The Texans’ had 3 turnovers in the second half and could not convert when it mattered the most. Allowing just 3 points is an excellent defensive performance, no matter what offense is on the other sideline.
Finally benching Davenport
Colts fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as it appears the Julie’n Davenport experience at tackle has come to an end. Matt Pryor is not great by any means, but he gets the job done, and that’s a big improvement over what the Colts have seen from Davenport this season.
Handling of the running back touches
The Colts won by 28 points, so it’s difficult to complain, but the running back workload split is becoming a trend. It makes little sense for Marlon Mack to play such an active role on offense. Taylor and Hines should be getting the vast majority of carries, and it can be argued that Jordan Wilkins should get opportunities ahead of Mack, given that every time Wilkins has had an opportunity he has performed well.
Development of young edge rushers
Chris Ballard has drafted Tyquan Lewis (2018 Draft, 2nd round), Kemoko Turay (2018 Draft, 2nd round), Ben Banogu (2019 Draft, 2nd round), and Tarrell Basham (2017 Draft, 3rd round). To date, the results from that group haven’t been promising.
Rookie Kwity Paye has looked solid and fellow rookie Dayo Odeyingbo has not yet played a snap as he is still recovering from an Achilles tear, but there’s no denying that none of Ballard’s picks have turned into legitimate edge rushers. Perhaps the coaching staff shoulders some of the blame as none of the rushers has made major strides since they were drafted.
Tyquan Lewis is slowly becoming a solid rotational piece and offers enough versatility to win a starting role this season. Kemoko Turay looked really good before a gruesome ankle injury. Ben Banogu has been “great at camp” but has not seen any consistent snaps. Tarrell Basham played just one year with Indy.
With how important the edge positions are and how much Ballard is investing on defense, the Colts have to make getting a viable pass-rusher a priority this offseason.