INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts (1-4) suffered another heartbreaking defeat to the New England Patriots last week on Thursday Night Football, falling 38-24. This week, they continue their road stretch by visiting the New York Jet (2-3) at MetLife Stadium.
Sunday was a big day for the Jets as they defeated the Denver Broncos, 34-16. Although rookie quarterback Sam Darnold had a lackluster game, it was the big plays that mattered.
Running back Isaiah Crowell set a franchise record with 219 rushing yards on just 15 carries. He had a 77-yard touchdown run, but still had 142 yards outside of that. Overall, Crowell averaged a whopping 14.6 yards per carry.
The Jets also got third-year wide receiver Robby Anderson going, as he had two long touchdowns — one for 76 yards and 35 on the other.
This was the first time since 1972 that the Jets had two offensive touchdowns of at least 75 yards in the same game.
Darnold would have another big touchdown later in the fourth quarter with a 20-yard pass to receiver Terrelle Pryor.
On defense, New York was able to harass Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, sacking him four times and now is tied for ninth-most in the NFL (14). The Jets also intercepted Keenum once (plus six pass breakups) and forced him to fumble twice.
Denver running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman had a nice day on the ground — combining for 92 yards on 17 carries (5.4 avg) — but the Jets controlling the game forced the Broncos to rely more on the passing game.
The Jets are a tough team, but like the Colts, they are a little banged up. Per ESPN’s Jets reporter Rich Cimini, they may be without one of their starting outside corners, Trumaine Johnson (quad), as well as their nickel, Buster Skrine (concussion).
That could be a break for a Colts team who has a couple of key injured pass-catchers in T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle.
On paper, this could finally be the week the Colts get the run game going. The Jets allow 105.0 yards per game on the ground, but they also are prone to giving up big plays, as they’ve given up the most 20-yard runs in the league (seven). If the Colts are able to get Marlon Mack back on the field Sunday, that could be a big advantage for them.
On defense, the Colts have to worry primarily about the Jets’ fifth-ranked run game, but they also need to make sure they don’t allow Anderson to take the top off the secondary.
“Put the ball up around Robby and he’ll make a play. That’s the whole thing with him,” Colts quarterback Phillip Walker — who was Anderson’s quarterback for two years at Temple — told Colts.com this week. “Being with him for two years, and just being his quarterback my freshman and junior years, it was more so just get the ball in his hands, let him make a play.”
The Colts will definitely need to account for Anderson on Sunday, but they are among the best in the league at limiting big plays. The Colts currently rank 28th in pass defense, but they are tied for the seventh-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed (14) and are one of only two teams to not yet give up a pass play of 40 yards or more.
2018 KEY STATS
- 1st in runs of 40-plus yards (3) and tied for first in runs of 20-plus yards (6)
- 5th in rushing yards per carry (4.9)
- 7th in rushing yards per game (135.0)
- Tied for the 8th-most fumbles (8) and sixth-most lost (4)
- 25th in third-down conversion rate (37%)
- 28th in time of possession (29:02)
- 30th in pass completion percentage (55.7%)
- 32nd in red zone offense (35.7%)
- Tied for 2nd in takeaways (11)
- 3rd-fewest penalties (25)
- 5th in red zone defense (40%)
- Tied for 5th in interceptions (7)
- 7th in fourth-down percentage (25%)
- 9th in opponent passer rating (83.6)
- Tied for 22nd in pass plays of 20-plus yards allowed (18)
- 32nd in running plays of 20-plus yards allowed (7)