We all know life is simply better when your favorite team is playing well. That Monday morning feeling after a hard fought W from the Colts is something special. We shouldn’t take it for granted. Your morning coffee tastes like angels brewed it, you look forward to coming into work and you might even feel like you don’t hate your wife.
As a Colts fan, I’ve spent the first half of the season feeling vulnerable and confused. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, they stand at a respectable 5-3. Life could be much worse. You know, I could be a Jets fan.
But after watching this team’s lack of identity each week, it’s difficult not to expect more.
So what’s the problem with the Colts?
I could take the easy way out and just blame the aging corpse of Phil Rivers. After all, he is a walking turnover. Plus, his touchdown saving tackle attempt on Sunday turned him into a nationally recognized meme.
He might be inconsistent at times, but I can’t let myself put the blame on him. The Colts knew what they were doing when they brought in an 80 year-old gunslinger. And to be honest, his glorious side arm is far from broken.
He wasn’t brought in to carry this extremely talented team on his back, so why should he take the heat for the team’s struggles?
The real issue with this team starts and ends with the running game.
Last season, the Colts were one of the most run heavy teams in the league. They finished with the 5th most rushing yards. Led by this hard-nosed rushing attack, it was no surprise that the likes of Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer were able to squeak out 7 wins.
Taylor was going to take this rushing game to the next level, while Rivers could keep defenses honest with his gunslinger mentality and legendary side arm.
Little did I know, the team would do the opposite. The Colts currently rank 17th in rushing attempts, and 25th in rushing yards.
As I’ve said before, Taylor had a very steep hill to climb in this COVID infected 2020 season. Expecting him to be a three down back so early in his first season shouldn’t have been expected.
But, after Marlon Mack’s injury, the Colts thrust Taylor into that role. Taylor has shown promise but has been mostly unspectacular. He has lost 4 fumbles and has averaged a measly 3.9 YPC this season, after seeing Mack average 4.4 YPC last year without losing a fumble.
This would explain why the team is leaning less on the running game, and more on the washed up shoulders of old-man Rivers.
If the Colts want to make fans happy again, they will need to get back to what they’re great at: an efficient, hard-nosed running game. Pairing this with an elite defense and a gunslinger at the helm is something that would leave the rest of the league in fear.
In order to do this, Jonathan Taylor will have to play better. If he doesn’t step up and hold on to the football, it will be a long and agonizing season for the two Colts fans on the planet.