Indy Continues Slide as Chicago Cracks the Win Column
Chicago reclaimed its winning ways on Sunday in Indianapolis in a very safe and conservative day on the gridiron for both teams. While there were some key plays that brought some excitement and drama that would decide the outcome no one would pretend to have been too excited about the product on the field.
Chicago Offense Safe but Effective
Chicago’s offense has not been anything special this year. A big reason they were 0-4 before this week stems from their inability to put points on the board. The defense has been great this year and has contributed to the Central’s reputation as the best defensive division in the league. But having to prop up an offense that had yet to surpass 20 points (and still hasn’t on its own) does not breed for consistent success.
While the offense was yet again underwhelming they were able to be a key contributor to the win. Chicago was able to squeeze every single drop of production out of their 245 total yards. With gains of 3-5 yards each play they ate up the clock and limited Indy to a handful of possessions. Significantly limited their time of possession. A repeat of what OKC was able to do in Week 4 against Indy except with a better defensive performance. Converting 56% of 3rd downs and having 16 attempts vs Indy’s 9 shows the control. ET King was accurate and efficient going 30-37 for 213 yards and a key TD on a 3rd and 7 to really highlight the point.
Indy’s Conservative Performance on Both Sides
The Red Devils looked like they were playing not to lose rather than trying to win. On both sides of the ball they played a very conservative game and seemed to lack a killer instinct.
On offense Lee and company were held in check by the great Chicago secondary. Indy either had too few opportunities downfield or were attempting to beat Chicago’s secondary with safer quick throws that ultimately didn’t yield much. For the first time this year Nathan Lee was shutout of the end zone and held under 200 yards. His turnover issues continue to grow as he threw 3 interceptions with another ill-advised out route pass that was picked for six the other way.
On defense Indy looked rather plain. Their talent on D shows with great tackling and closing speed especially from the secondary. First and second downs consistently produced short gains and negative plays but the lack of an aggressive edge lead to 3rd down conversions. With interceptions piling up on the offensive side which added possessions for Chicago the weight has continued to become heavier for this young defense the last couple of weeks. Coupled with their inability to make game changing plays themselves it has become a recipe for a 3 game losing streak.
Frustrations in Indy Camp
During the game you could see the frustration on both players and coaches faces. A team that for the first two weeks came out on raging fire with thrashings of San Francisco and St Louis coupled with a heart breaking loss to one of the league’s best in Tulsa, it has all gone real cold.
With rumors swirling of major changes being considered in Red Devil country (sources point towards personnel) Indy is comping up on a crossroads in their very first season. They have tasted fantastic highs and some very trying lows that will test the team captains’ leadership as well as team owner James Richards.
Game MVP: ET King QB 30-37 213 yards TD 99.7 QBR
Highlight of the Game: Maurice Spurgeon picks off Nathan Lee for a pick six to effectively seal the win
Looking Forward to Week 6
Indianapolis faces the London Knights who just ran into the buzz saw that is Tallahassee
Chicago tries to continue its resurgence against OKC in a big game for both teams’ pursuit of playoff relevance