The Colts offense found a third of the NFL’s defenses on Sunday.

The Colts’ third down offense caught fire. Browns: The Movie

 

The Colts offense found a third of the NFL’s defenses on Sunday.

The Indianapolis Colts suffered injuries in last Sunday’s 39-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The end result may not have been what everyone wanted, but the Colts pushed a talented Browns team to the limit and surprised the best defense in the league throughout the game.

The Cleveland Browns defense was on a historic streak on Sunday.
The Browns ranked first in the league in several key defensive metrics, but most impressively they held opponents to a 23% conversion rate on the year.
The NFL has hit its lowest level in 20 years.
Despite those huge percentages against the Browns defense, the Colts managed to convert 46.6% on 7-of-15 attempts. The most impressive feat of all was that four colts converted third and seventh or better.
Play-caller Shane Steichen beat the best defense in the league on Sunday, especially on third down.
Today I looked at how Steichen was able to handle this elite defense and why the Colts had so much success on third down.
Use lots of movement

The Cleveland Browns, led by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, like to use underfunded presses. They plan to get to the ball quickly, and the long corners are perfect for breakups at the line of scrimmage.
Shane Steichen knew his receivers would be in trouble on this play, so he relied heavily on the forward drive to save his men from dangerous pressure. The smartest move he made all game was turning Josh Downs into a play.
Rookie wide receiver Josh Downs is a natural spreader who uses his short-yardage speed to get away from defenders quickly. Steichen wanted to keep the money as clean as possible with a tall, solid defense in this big game.
For the first third of the race, Steichen Downs drew the peloton from a wide position. This presents opportunities for Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. It provides the perfect little hole for pubs to rest in while avoiding internal threats.
Downs advances for a third-and-three conversion with little time on the clock.

Steichen also used the first-down action to provide coverage numbers for veteran quarterbacks. The Browns are a complex defensive team that likes to hide what they’re doing, so the best way to open up their scheme is to start with free personnel before jumping into the backfield.
Loose Head is the truth serum for the defense, so looking at it again will tell you what the defense is trying to do.
You can read Gardner Minshew’s personal take on this move and expect profound revelations as a result of Down.
Josh Downs uses a switch release to provide an open field 3rd-and-8.

This short run by Jonathan Taylor was another great use of motion capture. Jim Schwartz likes to use unique formations to create perfect matchups for his passers on critical downs.
The protective fabric here is wide and no one will check the internal holes.

Even if the Colts send Jonathan Taylor into the backfield and leave a wide hole under center, the Browns know they won’t move inside.
As a result, the Colts go for a run inside the zone and still have a 3rd and 4th opportunity.

The Laughs will once again use free personnel moves to get early indications on defense.
This time, Minshew could decide whether the Browns line up near the goal line in zone coverage.
Shane Steichen has a grid call for this play, which is a great design for any defense (the grid isn’t always the loser).

Michael Pittman Jr. eludes a zone defender for a tight third-and-7 conversion.

complex calculations

The simplest wrinkle the Colts added this weekend was using more difficult numbers to press the keys.
While this added to the attacking football, it was one of the most important decisions in the game.

The Browns are always after him because they are a confident and aggressive team defensively. The Colts knew this, so they responded by making it hard for the Browns to kill the clock quickly.

The result was two of the greatest plays in the entire game of baseball. Josh Downs had a big 59-yard touchdown on third-and-7 and Alec Pearce had a 32-yard reception on third-and-8 on a big ball play on the same free play.
These two pieces are the result of simple but effective training decisions.

RPO/RPR

The third and final conversion featured in this piece had the design we’ve all been asking for.
Create opportunities with ELITE mobility from Gardner Minshew. All kidding aside, Minshew worked some magic on this RPO/RPR.

As we all know RPO is an abbreviation for Run Pass Option.
RPR is all about run and pass, a game design that fits the Steichen/Philly terminology.
This is a little different than how college teams rank RPR games, but I’ll go with Steichen’s ranking for this one.
Gardner Minshew had three options on this play and ultimately decided to run up the middle.
Throw it to Isaiah McKenzie in the flat and he hits Michael Pittman Jr. Hold the stick or center.

Minshew does what we’ve all been waiting for and stays in the middle for an extended period on 3rd and 3.

to fall into

Shane Steichen is fully prepared for this matchup against one of the best defenses in the league. He has created some great counters that suit everyone, and some of his smaller mods have also been extremely popular.

The Colts have a coach for the long, long future in Shane Steichen.
He is a great player who works his magic with this Colts offense.
I am very excited to see what the future holds for him.

 

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