The Indianapolis Colts managed to put together a small winning streak, beating the San Francisco 49ers 30-18 in Sunday Night Football. While there wasn’t much to take away from a game played during the monsoon, it was good to see the Colts come away with a win.
Quarterback Carson Wentz played as well as you’d expect in this type of weather, completing 17 of 26 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also added four carries for 23 yards and one score to his statistical output.
With Wentz continuing his recent play, I dived back into the movie to see how his mechanics held up against the 49ers.
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Disclaimer before you start
I mentioned it a few times in the first game, but this game was just awful because of the weather conditions. As a result, the passing game was not as productive or prevalent in this game.
Due to the ongoing production drop, this week’s mechanics article will be a bit shorter. There just weren’t a lot of passing games to draw conclusions from this game, and even the games that were announced were hard to gauge with the weather.
Reckless start of the game
The start of this game was not a pretty one for Wentz. He made a disastrous fumble in the end zone and also threw three assists that should have been interceptions. For a quarterback who has kept turnover-worthy plays to a minimum this year, that start has been as bad as it gets.
We’ve seen this a few times in 2021, but without so many notorious bad decisions / failures. The Colts were lucky that just one of those games resulted in a turnover.
What I thought was important for Wentz was the way he bounced back. After that shaky start, he started to settle in and make a few plays for the offense. Were there any unpleasant moments? Absolutely, but he didn’t let that derail the rest of the game. That’s the biggest difference between his game last season in Philadelphia and his game this year.
Fundamentals under pressure
I talk about it every week in this series. The biggest assessment point for Wentz at the start of the season was how his footwork would react to the pressure in the pocket.
So far, Wentz has shown noticeable improvement in this department.
Take this clip below for example. The 49ers are pushing for a third and a short, and Wentz needs to finish his readings quickly. The pressure begins to tighten as he focuses on Keke Coutee on the lower drag.
Watch Wentz’s feet on this throw. He aligns his back foot with where he throws the ball and keeps a relatively solid base. In a perfect world, he keeps his front half a little more closed, but he fixes that lane to his target against the pressure.
The result is a precise shot that prepares the Colts well for a fourth down conversion. This small aspect of improvement for Wentz is one of the reasons we are seeing such improvement in 2021.
Progress in progressions
Wentz’s eyes and vision were very bad in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles. While he’s still had flare-ups this year where he locked himself up with a guy before coming out of his pocket, he’s improving steadily every week.
This late-game throw to Michael Pittman Jr to convert on the third try is a prime example. The Colts are running a bit of a mesh road combination, with two drag roads below and Zach Pascal performing a hook to the first marker down.
Wentz goes through each of his progresses while climbing steadily in the pocket. His feet get a little jerky, but he doesn’t let them get too out of control. He eventually returns to his number one receiver on the back hook and puts his feet up to throw it.
He delivers a perfect shot for the big conversion past the sticks.
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One of his best pieces of the year
Wentz has made quite a few important throws during this young season. While I don’t think this throw is any better than his deep shot at TY Hilton a week ago, there are so many perfectly done little things here.
He reached the top of his fall and immediately felt the pressure tighten. He slips calmly into the pocket, while protecting the ball and keeping his eyes fixed on the pitch.
He comes to a place he loves in the pocket and spots Pittman Jr on the pitch with one-on-one opportunity. Wentz then takes the time to put his feet back on before throwing a deep ball to the wide receiver who makes play.
This game has so many good elements, but I want to focus on resetting the foot quickly before it throws the ball. A quarterback should never make an unnecessary off-platform pitch, and Wentz taking the half-second to throw from a square base is the reason he’s able to get so much air over. this ball.
This game had all the makings for a disastrous prime-time start for Wentz. He had a terrible fumble in the red zone, a few interceptable passes and looked uncomfortable in the pocket at the start.
Despite a poor start, Wentz showed great determination in this game and helped the team to a well-deserved victory. Was he perfect? Not at all. He did, however, make enough plays under the wrong circumstances to secure the victory.
Overall this game is just a throw because of the weather. I liked some of the things Wentz did with his mechanics, and I like the determination he showed after a tough start.
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