If I would have told you before the Pats-Colts game last Thursday that the winning team would run for 226 yards while only attempting 12 passes, you’d probably think New England came out on top. Turns out, the Colts were able to flip the script on the Patriots, beating them at their own game.
A Page Out of Bill’s Book
The Colts looked positively Patriots-like in their 27-17 victory on Thursday Night Football. When Belichick’s defenses are at their best, they are usually able to neutralize the opponent’s best offensive weapon. The Patriots did not do that, allowing Jonathan Taylor to scamper for 170 yards and a score. The Colts, on the other hand, did what the Patriots probably wanted to do.
The running game has been a been driving force behind New England’s now-broken seven-game winning streak. This culminated in last week’s win over the Bills, a game in which Mac Jones threw only three passes, while the ground game produced 222 yards. Jones has been very good, the Buffalo game aside. However, the rushing attack has been keeping the offense on schedule drive after drive.
The Colts knew this, obviously, and forced Mac to beat them. Indy held the Patriots to just 81 rushing yards, their lowest total since Week 4. This was partially due to the Colts jumping to a 14-0 first quarter lead, though it was clear what the game plan was even before the Pats fell into a hole. Jones finally got it going in the fourth quarter, but it was far too little too late.
Eh. Thursday Night Football is always funky. Of all the game slots, this one is the least trustworthy in terms of analyzing teams’ performances. It’s also worth noting that New England was without its leading rusher in Damien Harris. Overall, I’d say Pats fans should be at around a 4/10 on the panic meter.
You better believe teams will devote more attention to New England’s rushing attack, though. Mac Jones will have to play better in the event the running game isn’t as effective as it was during the seven-game winning streak. New England is 9-2 when they run for over 100 yards and 0-3 when they’re held under the century mark. If Mac can carry them for a stint here and there, this becomes a complete offense. He’s done it at times this season, but it might need to happen more consistently down the stretch.
Tall task for a rookie.
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