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Small defensive miscues prove costly in Colts loss to Ravens

The Colts will face Tennessee twice and Green Bay in two weeks. The Ravens also were the AFC’s top seed last year and all four could be contenders again this season.

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 9:50 AM
Updated: Nov 9, 2020 2:46 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner expect the Indianapolis Colts’ defense to ace each week’s test — regardless of the challenge.

It’s why they consider Sunday’s 24-10 loss to Baltimore a failure.

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“We’re a good team, but we’ve got to be way better,” said Leonard, the playmaking Pro Bowl linebacker. “I think they rushed for 112 yards overall. That can’t happen.”

Never mind the Colts (5-3) held the league’s top rushing attack to its second-lowest total this season, its first sub-140 yard game in four weeks and well below its per-game average of 178.7 yards.

Never mind Indy kept Lamar Jackson pretty much in check. He was 19 of 23 with 170 yards while carrying 13 times for 58 yards.

Never mind Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh, who has presided over some of the league’s top defenses during his 13-year tenure, praised Indy’s young, vastly improved unit.

It wasn’t good enough for Leonard or Buckner because they know what’s still on the docket.

Sunday’s matchup with Baltimore (6-2) was the start of a brutal four-game stretch that includes two MVP quarterbacks — Jackson and Aaron Rodgers — and three contests against last season’s conference runners-up.

They’ll face Tennessee twice and Green Bay in two weeks. The Ravens also were the AFC’s top seed last year and all four could be contenders again this season.

To those who wondered whether the Colts defense could hold up against some of the league’s top teams and best talents, the Ravens game certainly provided some promising signs.

Indy allowed only 13 yards rushing in the first half and forced Baltimore out of its traditional run-first philosophy in the second half.

But Leonard and Buckner, the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, know Indy can — and must — play even better during the second half of the season to make the playoffs.

“Guys played hard, we competed, but it’s the little mistakes that we need to clean up to come out with a win,” Buckner said. “As a whole, we have to step up. Just do your job and make sure you’re doing it at a high rate and eventually somebody will make a play and we just didn’t come up with them (today).”

The truth is there was plenty of blame to go around for the loss.

Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor started fast before fumbling as he fought to pick up extra yards.

Chuck Clark scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 65 yards for the Ravens first score, successfully hurdling quarterback Philip Rivers en route to the end zone, to make it 7-7.

And after Buckner pried the ball out of Gus Edwards’ hands near the goal line to stop one Baltimore scoring chance, Philip Rivers responded on the very next play by underthrowing Marcus Johnson on a deep pass near midfield.

Marcus Peters picked off the pass, which was initially ruled incomplete and later overturned when Harbaugh successfully challenged the call.

Ten plays later, Edwards scored the go-ahead touchdown.

“It was just underthrown, a poor throw,” Rivers said. “The bottom line is I shouldn’t have thrown it short. You throw it short, you’re leaving it in other people’s hands and you never know what will happen.”

Coach Frank Reich also gambled and lost.

Down 21-10, he opted to play for a touchdown on fourth-and-1 from the Baltimore 16.

When Rivers dropped back, the Ravens brought pressure up the middle and forced n errant throw with 5:29 to go, all but sealing the outcome.

“We needed two scores and if we had only needed one, I probably would have played it safe and run the ball,” Reich said. “It was a play we felt really good about, we’d run a version of that play that has been highly successful in the past. But obviously, we didn’t convert.”

And after one sensational half of football, the Colts defense couldn’t finish, either.

“I just felt like the first half we played OK,” Leonard said. “The second half, we’ve got to find a way to make a play. We didn’t do that today.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 726600

Reported Deaths: 13379
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion992781737
Lake53359964
Allen40387675
St. Joseph35449550
Hamilton35440408
Elkhart28376439
Tippecanoe22336217
Vanderburgh22271396
Porter18637306
Johnson17876377
Hendricks17154314
Clark12919191
Madison12574339
Vigo12426245
Monroe11845169
LaPorte11773210
Delaware10615185
Howard9859215
Kosciusko9366117
Hancock8239140
Bartholomew8042155
Warrick7766155
Floyd7645177
Grant7019174
Wayne7018199
Boone6669101
Morgan6547139
Dubois6148117
Marshall6000111
Dearborn578577
Cass5780105
Henry5681102
Noble558283
Jackson500472
Shelby489496
Lawrence4492120
Gibson434391
Harrison434271
Clinton426853
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Montgomery423388
Whitley394439
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Steuben382957
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Knox371890
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Scott264753
Clay259245
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Sullivan211042
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Newton107034
Brown101541
Crawford99114
Benton98414
Martin87815
Warren81415
Switzerland7848
Union70710
Ohio56211
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1080121

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1254981392
Cuyahoga1115202107
Hamilton798171200
Montgomery512711012
Summit46997933
Lucas41982782
Butler38273580
Stark32190907
Lorain24910480
Warren24249297
Mahoning21474586
Lake20586368
Clermont19727238
Delaware18496131
Licking16396210
Fairfield16144199
Trumbull15996466
Medina15233262
Greene15027244
Clark13960297
Wood13056188
Portage12806201
Allen11609231
Richland11308198
Miami10659215
Muskingum8795132
Wayne8777210
Columbiana8756229
Pickaway8547121
Marion8511135
Tuscarawas8467243
Erie7859154
Hancock6900126
Ross6835152
Ashtabula6777169
Geauga6665148
Scioto6398101
Belmont5856167
Union570047
Lawrence5542102
Jefferson5511151
Huron5422119
Darke5344122
Sandusky5330120
Seneca5268121
Athens518258
Washington5148109
Auglaize488484
Mercer480185
Shelby468593
Knox4479110
Madison435461
Putnam4268100
Ashland421289
Fulton420969
Defiance418997
Crawford3965106
Brown392957
Logan381176
Preble379098
Clinton370561
Ottawa366279
Highland353861
Williams338075
Champaign330458
Guernsey315453
Jackson312051
Perry294550
Morrow283839
Fayette281449
Hardin270364
Henry268166
Coshocton264258
Holmes2590101
Van Wert242863
Pike237433
Adams237052
Gallia235048
Wyandot230654
Hocking215162
Carroll191247
Paulding172440
Meigs144639
Noble133337
Monroe131942
Morgan108323
Harrison107537
Vinton82415
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