In their return to Baltimore, the Colts (3-12) fell to the Baltimore Ravens (8-7), 23-16 in a hard fought game. The Ravens let the Colts hang around for far too long; this game was fairly close the whole way through. For a team that is fighting for a playoff spot, the Ravens did not play too well. The Colts did not turn the ball over, although they definitely should have. C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle, and more dropped easy picks. Along with the dropped picks, the rain and win hurt the rest of the teams as well. Neither quarterback threw too well, and receivers dropped passes left and right.
For the Colt defense, Jabaal Sheard had another stellar performance. Including two pass deflections at the line, Sheard lived in the Ravens’ backfield. He hit Joe Flacco once, and pressured him many times, including four in the first half. One pass deflection led to a near Grover Stewart interception (this was a very strange game). The Colts’ defense had it’s moments, but all in all, struggled to contain the Ravens’ offense. Apart from Barkevious Mingo and Anthony Walker, who both recorded eight tackles, the defense had a tough time tackling in the rain. Alex Collins did not have a spectacular game, running for 51 yards. Joe Flacco, looking like an elite quarterback, picked apart the injured Colts’ secondary. The Colts had a tough time containing any receivers in the absence of Rashaan Melvin. Eight Raven receivers had double digit receiving yards.
Although this game featured no turnovers, the game was not clean by any stretch of the word. Colt receivers, Chester Rogers, Kamar Aiken, and T.Y. Hilton dropped open passes. Eric Weddle and C.J. Mosley dropped easy interceptions, and the Ravens fumbled three times. Along with two fumbles in the run game, the Ravens also muffed a punt. Nate Hairston committed two dumb penalties on a late game drive that ended in a Maxx Williams touchdown. The punters, Rigoberto Sanchez and Sam Koch, had unspectacular games. Anthony Walker had a huge blocked punt, and Adam Vinatieri had a field goal blocked.
The Colt offense was able to move the ball, but was unable to finish drives with touchdowns, which killed the Colts. Jacoby Brissett threw for 205 yards and the only Colt touchdown, a 14 yard catch and run from Frank Gore. Mr. Reliable, Jack Doyle, caught 5 balls for 41 yards. T.Y. Hilton had a very solid game, with 100 yards. This game was the first this season in which Hilton eclipsed the century mark and the Colts did not win. Brissett made an effort to target his number one receiver, which is a positive sign. Marlon Mack showed great quickness, earning 54 total yards on a measly 6 touches. With an actual offensive coordinator, Mack could be really, really good.
Colts’ Game Ball: Frank Gore
At 34 years old, Frank Gore is still going strong and making a positive impact on the Colts. Gore lit up the Ravens defense for 89 total yards and a touchdown on a 14 yard screen pass. On the touchdown, gore showed great burst an elusiveness for any back, let alone a 34 year old. Screen plays worked wonders for the Colts today, and Frank Gore made the most of them.
The Colts finish the season at home against Houston, and are fighting for nothing but pride and draft position. The Colts will now pick no lower than third, and could pick second. This team played with heart and determination today, something they have not done in some time.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, and the AFC South Division Editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_ and @FPC_Colts.