Colts Game Film Breakdown: Week 1 vs. L.A. Rams

Photo Cred: Jeffrey Beall

I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy re watching the game film from the Colts game on Sunday.  What made it the most difficult was watching just how badly the quarterback play was, and trying to determine how much of an impact that had on the rest of the game.  That was my main challenge, and hopefully after checking out this article, you can make sense of that debacle we watched on Sunday.

Going into the game, I highlighted 5 areas I believed were key in order for the Colts to compete and beat the Rams on Sunday.  I’m going to grade that out now.

  1. Pound it up the Middle:
    1. I actually think the Colts did a good job early with this.  Frank Gore was effective up the middle, even ripping off a 16 yard run when the Colts were backed up inside their own 5.  Gore finished with 42 yards on 10 carries, for an efficient 4.2 per carry.  When the Colts got down by a million, they were unable to stick with running up the middle, and instead had to rely on Marlon Mack trying to make a big play.  Mack scurried for 24 early, but was ineffective up the middle.
  2. Putting Marlon Mack in great situations
    1. It was clear that early on Mack was going to play a major role in changing the pace, and I feel like he did a great job and the coaches put him in good spots.  However, as the game wore on, they treated him like Frank Gore and ran him into heavy boxes.  That isn’t going to work now or next week or week 12.  He’s not ready for that yet.  In passing situations, they kept him away from heavy blitzes most of the game.  In one spot though, he was face to face with a free running line backer.  To my great enjoyment, Mack stonewalled the player, knocking him on his butt.  I’m more comfortable now than last week with Mack in obvious passing spots, but you still can’t just pound him into nowhere.
  3. Mix it up on offense:
    1. Yea this didn’t happen.  I don’t remember seeing a single screen, or anything exotic against the Rams.  Scott Tolzien was never going to beat this team, it was going to have to be on coaching and getting the ball into the hands of the play makers.  That simply did not happen, at all.
  4. Tackling
    1. Going into the game, I talked about how the Rams like to get the ball out quick, and put the defense in 1-1 situations to make a tackle.  While I don’t think the Colts were atrocious in this area, they simply did nothing to help out defenders in these spots.
  5. Setting the Edge and pressure up the middle.
    1. John SImon, like I had mentioned, did a great job in setting his edge.  Aside from that, there was zero pressure on passers from any spot, and the edge was not set consistently, especially late in the game when Mingo subbed in.  Against the run, Al Woods was excellent penetrating the line, but that was overshadowed by Jared Goff having seemingly forever to find an open receiver.

I think the Colts did good in only 1 situation here, putting Mack in good spots. They fell behind too fast to keep pounding the ball up the middle, and anything they did with play calling was a disaster.

Diving into it:

I’m primarily going to focus on what I saw from Scott Tolzien in this edition of game film breakdown.

It was ugly,

No, I mean it was really ugly.

Uglier than what the broadcast showed.

Lets take a look at the first pick 6 

Here is pre snap, with Hilton closest to the line after going into motion.


Putting it into motion, it’s an elementary read.  Simple Man to man with help over top, allowing the db’s to press up.  However, with T.Y. running an out, with a slant across the middle from Aiken, there is a natural screen set up on Aiken’s defender.  T.Y.’s defender is able to go under the route because he has help overtop.  The pocket is good, should be an easy completion to Aiken for a first down across the middle.  Instead, Tolzien forces it into Hilton, and actually under throws it setting up an easier interception.

That wasn’t even the easiest read that was missed.


Here we are pre snap, on 3rd down in the Rams red zone after the fumbled punt.


Man to man, 2 deep safeties.  After we send it in motion…

This one is clear right, T.Y. was running a double move that was defended well.  Doyle up the seem, Aiken across the middle.  Who would you throw it to?

I’m pretty sure everyone here would throw it to Aiken and pick up the first down.  Tolzien instead through it out of the back of the end zone.  The play never stood a chance.

To make matters worse, Scott Tolzien threw one more interception for a touchdown, and got away with another on the right sideline which would have been picked if it hadn’t been batted down at the line.

Tolzien didn’t convert a single 3rd down, completed only 9 passes for 128 yards, and was sacked 4 times.

Scott Tolzien cannot make NFL decisions, and does not throw an NFL football.  It’s time to move on from him, and find out what you have in Jacboy Brissett.  I’m not saying Brissett is going to be an All-Pro, but he atleast has the arm talent to make a defense respect that ability.

I’ve had enough of Scott Tolzien, so what else did I pick up on?

The offensive line wasn’t as bad as it seemed, although they remain far from “fixed”

Lets look at the sacks

  1. On the first sack, the Colts left Anthony Castonzo alone vs. Robert Quinn.  Tolzien fumbled the snap, picked it up, and by the time appeared ready to pass it was too late.
  2. The 2nd, Jack Mewhort got pushed right on his ass, allowing his man to get right in the face of Scott.  However, if you look at the tape, Marlon Mack was running wide open across the middle.  Hit him quickly and its a first down and maybe more.
  3. On the 3rd, Scott had nearly 4 seconds to find a receiver, and on that particular play, Jack Doyle and Donte Moncrief would both have had an opportunity to pick up a 3rd down.
  4. This one maybe was the most frustrating to me.  The Rams brought a heavy blitz against the Colts and rookie rb Marlon Mack stepped in and stonewalled the linebacker.  Scott had 4 seconds, plenty of time, and got happy feet and ran right into the blitz.  I’m not sure what he was looking at.


Pass rush continues to be nonexistent for the Colts.  Which makes it extremely tough to grade out the db’s.  However, T.J. Green was out of position a lot.  That is to be expected with a guy who’s never played the position before.  But that begs to question, why the hell would you start him on opening Sunday?

The gameplan itself seemed to be lacking on both the offensive and defensive sides.  Even Chuck Pagano admitted that he got out coached.  “We got our asses kicked, outcoached, and out played, and that’s on me”

Last week I wrote about the Rams offense and defense both, outlying that the Rams love crossing routes and quick hitters.  The Colts did not take away a single thing in the passing game, and actually were exploited far beyond what I thought was possible with Jared Goff at qb for the opposing team.

On offense, the Colts didn’t take advantage of a single matchup that they had.

There were no adjustments, it was just a full out onslaught from the opening kickoff.

Were there any positives?

I thought Al Woods dominated the line of scrimmage against the run game.  He was throwing people to the side, and getting hits in the backfield.  Todd Gurley had nowhere to go the entire game, and all of that credit should go to the big fellas up front.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to next week the Colts have plenty to work on.  Luckily for the Colts, they are facing a beat up Cardinals team who will be reeling after losing not only the game last week vs. the Lions, but also their best player on offense in rb David Johnson.

The Colts will have to be ready to defend an explosive offense and one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.

They had better be ready, and had better have a better gameplan on offense and defense or else this could be the most embarrassing beginning to a season in recent memory for the Colts.

We will have our scouting report on the Cardinals coming out soon, as well as a game preview with 5 keys to a Colts Victory on Friday.

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