The Colts topped the Minnesota Vikings, 12-10, connected Saturday astatine U.S. Bank Stadium. Here are 5 large things we learned, starting with a immense crippled from antiaircraft extremity Ben Banogu. JJ Stankevitz
1. Ben Banogu was a menace.
While antiaircraft extremity Ben Banogu didn't person a sack, helium was a disruptive unit each crippled long. His velocity disconnected the borderline and rally-to-the-ball centrifugal were cardinal successful a fig of 3rd down stops, and his contributions were a large crushed wherefore the Vikings managed conscionable 3 points connected offense.
Banogu played accelerated and talked aft the crippled astir however his increasing assurance is translating to stacking bully days passim camp. Because the happening is - the Banogu we saw Saturday is the Banogu we've seen rather a spot astatine Grand Park.
"I deliberation that's the biggest part, that's the astir encouraging portion is I pridefulness myself connected practicing hard, doing good during signifier and having those things construe connected the tract was a large positive for maine conscionable because, similar I said, past twelvemonth was rough," Banogu said. "I don't truly privation to spell to heavy into it. But having that worldly construe connected to the field, it decidedly goes a agelong way."
Banogu was a steadfast scratch for 7 of the Colts' 16 games successful 2020 and didn't grounds a sack. But the 2019 second-round prime is playing with little "clutter," arsenic antiaircraft enactment manager Brian Baker said earlier this month, and has made tremendous strides some mentally and physically.
"I've got amended with my walk rush, my angle, my hands," Banogu said. "But I deliberation a batch of walk rushing and playing antiaircraft extremity and conscionable antiaircraft enactment successful wide is being capable to commencement implicit with a cleanable slate from play to play. You can't linger connected worldly that happened the play earlier oregon what happened the crippled before, worldly similar that."
While Banogu was disruptive connected Saturday, helium besides wasn't satisfied with his crippled since helium didn't grounds a sack.
"I gotta enactment connected finishing," Banogu said.
Still, it was intolerable to miss Banogu's interaction connected truthful galore of his 39 snaps.
"Ben has ever shown flashes, but this has been the astir consistency that we've seen from Ben," caput manager Frank Reich said. "So I'm encouraged by that. He conscionable seems to beryllium successful a truly bully spot mentally - conscionable confident, beardown mindset, truly playing hard and truly playing smart."
2. The Colts' antiaircraft individuality kept growing.
Here's what the Colts did connected 3rd down against the Vikings
1st quarter, 3rd & 3: Rock Ya-Sin walk break-up 1st quarter, 3rd & 7: 6-yard completion, with Matt Adams and Bobby Okereke combining to bring down choky extremity Brandon Dillon conscionable shy of the sticks 2nd quarter, 3rd and 20: Good sum forces Kirk Cousins to scramble for 9 yards 2nd quarter, 3rd and 5: Al-Quadin Muhammed and Andrew Brown divided a sack 2nd quarter, 3rd and 10: Banogu unit forces an incompletion 2nd quarter, 3rd and 7: Jake Browning completes a 15-yard walk to receiver Chad Beebe 2nd quarter, 3rd and 10: Andre Chachere unit connected a nickel blitz forces an incompletion 3rd quarter, 3rd and 3: Incomplete pass, with Banogu getting unit 3rd quarter, 3rd and 12: Brown, Banogu harvester to tackle backmost Kellen Mond for a three-yard summation 3rd quarter, 3rd and 15: Six-yard completion, with Chachere making the tackle good abbreviated of the enactment to summation 4th quarter, 3rd and 12: Six-yard completion 4th quarter, 3rd and 4: Incompletion, with Chachere successful sum 4th quarter, 3rd and 10: 19-yard completion, but arsenic clip expired with the Vikings backed up connected their ain six-yard line.
So the Colts held the Vikings to conscionable 2 of 13 conversions connected 3rd down; taking retired that past 1 astatine the extremity of the game, it was 1 of 12 (8 percent).
It takes disciplined, carnal play connected each level of the defence to person this benignant of occurrence connected 3rd down. And aft the Colts' defence locked down successful abrupt alteration situations past week, this was different measurement successful the close absorption toward gathering a antiaircraft individuality successful 2021.
3. More clip is inactive needed to measure the QBs.
After watching the movie of Saturday's game, Reich confirmed his "hunch" that helium and the Colts request a small much clip to find if Jacob Eason oregon Sam Ehlinger volition unfastened the play arsenic their starter oregon backup quarterback, depending connected Carson Wentz's availability.
Reich said helium hadn't settled connected a playing clip program for Friday's preseason finale against the Lions - arsenic in, who starts and however agelong the quarterbacks play - but helium did marque it wide determination volition beryllium nary 1 singular origin successful deciding betwixt Eason and Ehlinger.
"We are going to measure the full assemblage of work," Reich said. "Obviously, this crippled volition beryllium a large crippled successful it. As I told you, we're not making a determination yet, but I don't privation to overgarment a representation similar it each depends connected who plays champion successful this 1 game. It's the full assemblage of work."
So that means each practice, walkthrough, meeting, speech and, of course, crippled volition beryllium considered. And the Colts consciousness powerfully astir the magnitude of accusation they've gathered connected Eason and Ehlinger, neither of whom had overmuch (if any) NFL acquisition entering 2021.
"There's truthful overmuch positive. You've got 2 young quarterbacks that we've drafted that we consciousness similar person bully upside and person proven that they cognize however to play winning football," Reich said. "First and foremost, we consciousness similar the valuation process is astatine a bully spot like, 'Hey, we're successful bully shape. We've got 2 guys that are giving america a accidental here.' Games are weighted a small spot heavier for sure, but determination are a batch of reps and a batch of gathering clip that are going into the equation."
Also worthy noting here: Reich said whoever the starter is for the Lions crippled won't needfully beryllium an denotation that backmost won the competition.
"There's a batch of dynamics astatine play present and we're conscionable trying to bash what's champion for the squad and what's champion successful airy of the full discourse of the situation," Reich said. "So you could work that into it but I don't deliberation it's an absolute."
4. Jonathan Taylor didn't play, but could connected Friday.
Taylor was held backmost connected Saturday portion plentifulness of different young starters, similar Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal and Bobby Okereke each played.
As Reich explained it, Taylor's enactment successful associated practices against the Carolina Panthers was bully mentation for the play - but helium inactive could play connected Friday.
"I felt similar the week we played the Panthers, that 2nd signifier got beauteous physical," Reich said. "Jonathan got deed rather a fewer times successful that signifier truthful I felt similar that was bully enactment for him. There is astir apt a accidental helium volition play immoderate successful this past game. We're inactive talking that through. I consciousness similar successful galore respects, seeing Jonathan and benignant of his imaginativeness and however he's looked successful signifier - helium looks similar helium is successful midseason signifier to me. Like helium truly looks good, similar he's seeing it clearly, making the close cuts. As you said, determination is simply a small spot to getting hit. We effort to simulate that successful immoderate ways thudding disconnected astatine times and getting definite enactment for the moving backs successful individual, but determination is astir apt a accidental that we volition privation to get him a fewer carries this week."
5. Quick thoughts
The kicking contention with Rodrigo Blankenship and Eddy Pineiro has gone astir arsenic good arsenic possible. Neither kicker missed again connected Saturday, with Blankenship hitting a 47-yarder and Pineiro making a 50-yarder and his 2nd game-winning tract extremity successful arsenic galore preseason contests. Missed attempts person been fewer and acold betwixt successful practice, too. Julie'n Davenport started astatine near tackle and played a team-high 60 snaps, and graded retired well. "I thought helium played good successful the tally crippled and successful the walk game, truthful that was good," Reich said. Here's what Reich said astir Ehlinger's 2 interceptions: "We don't evidently privation turnovers. I would accidental yesterday, the archetypal 1 - I don't cognize if that shot got tipped astatine the enactment oregon not. I didn't deliberation it did but possibly it did. Some radical were saying possibly it got tipped but I'm not sure. I would enactment that archetypal 1 connected Sam (Ehlinger). His footwork and his driblet wasn't precisely what we're looking connected that truthful didn't enactment himself successful the champion position. I would accidental the 2nd one, I wouldn't enactment that 2nd interception - determination was immoderate miscommunication connected that 2nd interception and Sam got enactment successful a atrocious spot. Those are conscionable the things you person to origin into the equation. It's unfortunate, but that's what happens sometimes. You're the quarterback, it's connected you. You're the 1 that throws the interception, but it was conscionable a small spot of a - for deficiency of a amended word - a miscommunication connected that play."