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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: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
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Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
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Spencer193022
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Starke176444
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Orange160935
Carroll159715
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Perry155929
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Parke13088
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Newton92021
Brown88335
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Martin74913
Warren6857
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Union6297
Ohio4977
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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