August 3, 2021

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Five things learned from the Indianapolis Colts…

3 min read
Five things learned from the Indianapolis Colts...

» BACK TO ROOTS: The Colts head into just about every game wanting to establish the run first and foremost, and while they’ve been a top-five team in that area pretty much the entire season, Indy has run into a buzzsaw trying to get the run game going the last few weeks against some of the best rush defenses the NFL has to offer in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. The Colts knew they had a chance to get back to their roots on Sunday against the Panthers, though, as Carolina features one of the league’s worst run-defending units. Mission accomplished. The Colts ran the ball 32 times for 218 yards and three rushing touchdowns on the day, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and getting to the 200-yard rushing mark as a team for the third time this season. “They put us on their shoulders and carried the load. I tip my hat off to those guys – Marlon (Mack) the receivers and tight ends with blocking,” Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett said. “And not just when Marlon’s in the game, when every back is in the game. Look at their force. They had probably one of the best force defenders in the league in (Eric) Reid, I think we kind of controlled him today.”

» GRAND MACK: With 11:34 remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game and the Colts already leading 24-6, Marlon Mack took the handoff from Brissett and broke free up the middle. By the time he was tackled 30 yards later at the Carolina 37-yard line, he had officially eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the season for the first time in his three-year career. He became the first Colts player to get to 1,000 rushing yards in a single season since Frank Gore in 2016, and is the ninth running back to accomplish that feat in franchise history — and seventh since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Mack was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season before suffering a broken hand Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but returned after missing just two games. He wanted to be sure to credit those in front of him taking out defenders play after play throughout the entire season when talking about the accomplishment after Sunday’s game. “It’s a crazy experience. I’m truly grateful for it, thankful for it,” Mack said. “O-linemen pretty much got me there. The holes were amazing today — wide open. So truly grateful for it, and thankful for them. … It was a definitely goal that now I can check off my sheet. And I’m truly proud of it and thankful for it. I’m just glad we got the W with it.”

» DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE: After playing some solid football through the middle portion of the schedule, the Colts’ defense had faced its share of adversity over the past month or so in losses to the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans — and especially the previous two weeks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints, whose veteran quarterbacks both put in career days and seemingly made plays at will. But facing a rookie quarterback making his first-career start on Sunday in the Panthers’ Will Grier, the Colts had a perfect opportunity to put an end to those defensive struggles. Check. Indy held Carolina to just 286 yards of total offense, including 87 on the ground and 199 through the air, as the Colts sacked Grier five times and picked off three of his pass attempts — two of which were nabbed by cornerback Pierre Desir. “What we was focused on was just playing our defense, read our keys,” Desir said. “We were just trying to get the last win for the fans, and it was a good feeling to go out there and put out that type of performance.”

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