Dopey Report Card (Colts-Bucs)
They weren't supposed to be able to run, so they ran. They weren't supposed to be able to sack Baker Mayfield, so they sacked Baker Mayfield. But, then, nothing has made sense this year.
Before the game, I write down notes, and this was one of them: “Tampa great at stopping the run. Fifth in yards per carry allowed. Why even bother trying?” Well, that was a useless note. The Colts ran for 155 yards on 27 carries Sunday, a 5.7 yard-per-carry average. Jonathan Taylor looked more elusive and explosive than he has at any time this season, rushing 15 times for 91 yards. Zack Moss, who kept the Colts afloat during Taylor’s hold-in, had 55 yards on eight carries. I didn’t see the Colts running on Tampa because the Bucs are among the league leaders at stopping the run, and because I feared the matchup between backup center Will French and Tampa’s massive Vita Vea. But there they were, gashing the Bucs, rushing for three touchdowns. Excellent performance by the Colts offensive line. Fun fact: The Colts, who have been working with a backup quarterback, have scored 20 or more points in 10 of their 11 games this season. Crazy.
Grover Stewart can’t return from his PED suspension fast enough. Ever since he left the lineup, the Colts’ run defense has been somewhere between lousy and abysmal. The Bucs, one of the worst rushing teams in the league, went for 125 yards on 19 carries, a 6.6 yard average, including a 38 yarder. One more week, and Grover is back. And he needs to make a difference if the Colts want to continue to compete for a playoff spot. Huge game for Samson Ebukam, whose strip sack of Baker Mayfield sealed the Colts’ victory. Beyond that, he had four tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble.