There was no stopping the tight ends in this game. A good percentage of the times the tight ends had success, it was with Gilchrist in coverage.
Late in the second quarter, with the Raiders up 14-10, the Colts looked to close that gap or take the lead back. In third and two, Gilchrist gave up an 8-yard catch to keep the drive alive. They would go on to add a field goal to pull to 14-13 at the half.
The biggest play of the game came early in the third quarter. Marlon Mack got through the line and Gilchrist was not in position to hold the run to a short gain. It instead when for 49 yards before fellow safety Karl Joseph could knock him out of bounds. They would score the touchdown three plays later and add a two-point conversion to tie it up.
The second longest play of the game was a 34-yard catch by TY Hilton who got behind Gilchrist to make the catch. And again it was fellow safety Erik Harris who came over to keep the play from going for a touchdown. And again, it would eventually lead to a touchdown anyway to tie it up at 28-28.
The following drive was Gilchrist’s worst. A short punt gave the Colts good field position at their own 43. In two plays, they were at the Oakland 37-yard-line. There Gilchrist gave up an 11-yard catch, followed by a 17-yard catch, and finishing with a 10-yard touchdown to tight end Jack Doyle in which Gilchrist was dragged the final five yards into the end zone. Just put in Erik Harris and Karl Joseph permanently and stop messing around.
Tahir Whitehead, Marquel Lee
Neither of them were much of a factor in this game. Whether it was on the ground or dump passes, they were usually either lost in space or caught up in a block. With the Raiders up 14-10 in the second quarter, they had the Colts in third down several times on the ensuing drive. The first one they had them in third and 12 and looked to have made the stop, but Whitehead was flagged for illegal contact, giving the Colts an automatic first down.
Up again at 21-13 in the third, the Colts got a big chunk of yards on the 49-yard run by Mack and Whitehead couldn’t make the stop despite being in position to do so. The next play he gave up a 6-yard run that put them in the red zone. A 20-yard pass got the touchdown, but the Colts still needed a 2-point conversion to tie it. They got that fairly easily because Marquel Lee missed the tackle on a the bubble screen.
Lee gave up a 14-yard run and Whitehead a 5-yard run on the next scoring drive. Whitehead gave up a couple runs on the final go-ahead scoring drive, and to set up the final touchdown, Lee gave up a 6-yard run on first and goal at the nine-yard-line. They scored the touchdown two plays later.
Maurice Hurst, PJ Hall, Arden Key
These three talked a lot during training camp about how the team needed them to not play like rookies this season. Well, with the exception of a couple games here and there, they have looked like rookies. This one perhaps more so than previous ones.
This has got to be Hurst’s worst game of the season. He was consistently getting manhandled on the block by the Colts interior linemen. On the play that set up the Colts first touchdown, Hurst took the outside angle and opened up a huge hole up the middle for a 9-yard run. He gave up another 9-yard on the following drive. Also on that drive, Arden Key was flagged for holding which offset a Colts penalty and allowed the Colts to replay the down.
The final Colts drive of the first half saw Hall give up an 8-yard run, Key give up a 4-yard run, and Hurst overpursue to give up a 15-yard run and then Hurst and Hall both give up a 6-yard run to put the Colts at the 7-yard-line. They would add a field goal just before the half.
Key was among those victimized on the 49-yard run. The next play Hurst was blocked to give up a 6-yard run. The Colts score would tie it up, but the Raiders took back the lead on the following drive.
Once again, the Colts would look to answer. On the second play of the drive, Johnathan Hankins made the stop, but Hurst was called for holding to wipe it out. The Colts drove to the 15-yard-line where Hall gave up a 5-yard run. Later, in third and goal from the 4-yard-line, Hall and Hurst parted like the red sea and Marlon Mack went right up the gut for the touchdown. The Colts ran away with it after that.
I say the Colts ran away with the game, but there was a chance they didn’t. That chance was lost when Doug Martin fumbled it. The Colts went up 35-28 in the fourth quarter, but since the second quarter, the Raiders had done well to answer the Colts’ scoring with their own. On the first play of their attempt to do so, Martin got the handoff and fumbled it away. The Colts recovered at the Oakland 27 and in five plays, they put the game away. It’s a shame because Martin was running pretty well up to that point in his first start replacing Marshawn Lynch. That fumble rendered it all meaningless.
He had two punts in the game. One of them went for 25 yards. This after having punts of 28 and 27 yards the previous game. That is unacceptable. He already was among the worst in the league in yards per punt. It’s worse now. He’s now 28th in average yards per punt (42.9) and 22nd in net (38.7).