Colts @ Patriots
Final Score: Colts 10, Patriots 6
Writer: Brian Hartman (@TooMuch_Brian on Twitter)
This game was as gross as the flight for the players to the stadium. We end our international game series with a matchup between two backup quarterbacks in Germany (or at least they played like backups). The game couldn’t even put together 17 total points. We watched both teams miss field goals. These coaches learned quickly that this game would not be won in the air; we saw 62 rushing attempts compared to the 55 passes attempted in the game. The Colts scored their touchdown early in the first quarter, and both teams missed a field goal. We saw little excitement in this game. The most comical play was when Bailey Zappe came in for the final Patriots offensive drive for a benched Mac Jones, faked a spike, and tossed an interception on their final play of the game. The Patriots now sit at the bottom of the AFC with a record of 2 – 8, while the Colts sit half a game behind the Texans that won today for second in their division.
- Jonathan Taylor – The 2021 rushing champ is finally back with his old workload and a big bag of money. Taylor continues to feast in this backfield on a team that will have to rely heavily on him with Gardner Minshew behind center. Taylor looks fresh and should be a great asset as we prepare for the fantasy playoffs.
- Demario Douglas – This day three rookie continues to shine and be the only glimmer of hope in this receiving room.
- Ezekiel Elliott – I could’ve sworn this guy was cooked. Elliott continues to ramp up his snaps and touches, and he looks good with them. If not for a couple of penalties, Zeke could’ve been just under 100 total yards on the day.
New England Patriots
Mac Jones: 15/20 comp, 170 yards, INT | 3 carries 25 yards
How do you describe Mac Jones’s play without cutting the kid apart? It was another struggling week for Mac Jones and this offense. The brightest side to this passing game comes from the connection Jones is building with rookie Demario Douglas. This team had to rely heavily on the run game, but even that was enough. This Colts front seven tormented Jones all game as they finished with nine QB hits and five sacks. After Jones led the offense to four failed red zone attempts, the call from the bench came late in the fourth quarter after he threw a red zone pick to close the door on the Patriot’s shot at a comeback.
Bailey Zappe: 3/7 comp, 21 yards, INT
- Bailey Zappe came in to relieve Mac Jones on the game’s final drive. The most notable play was the final for the Patriots when Zappe faked the spike and tossed an interception into the arms of the Colt’s defense.
Rhamondre Stevenson: 20 carries, 88 yards | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 14 yards
This offense was determined to win on the ground, and Rhamondre Stevenson was a big part of it today. With 25 opportunities on the day, Stevenson did not take advantage of the matchup against the pedestrian Colt’s defense. His longest play from scrimmage was a 10-yard run.
Ezekiel Elliott: 13 carries, 54 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 34 yards
It’s hard for me to believe what I saw and even harder to type this out, but Ezekiel Elliott looked good today! His final box score shows a decent day, and the lack of touchdowns holds his total fantasy score back. Elliott had multiple chunk plays that were called back due to penalties. His best play was a 19-yard reception he had to earn a much-needed first down in the first half.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Demario Douglas: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 84 yards
This rookie can play! It has been so much fun watching this sixth-round pick come into his own over the last few weeks. It’s a shame that the quarterback play is what it is; the 9.7 yards per target forces Demario Douglas to rely on his elusiveness after the catch. He came away with a 30-yard catch and run today, which was the only exciting play for the Patriots.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards
Kayshon Boutte: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards
Mike Gesicki: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards
Mike Gesicki represented a safety outlet for Mac Jones today. He was solely seeing targets when Mac Jones struggled to feel the pocket presence.
Hunter Henry: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards
There was hope that Hunter Henry could be a top contributor but the targets he saw would hardly be deemed catchable.
Gardner Minshew: 18/28 194 yards, INT | 2 carries, -1 yard
This might have been Garder Minshew‘s worst game of the season. The offensive line managed to protect him better than they have for most of the season despite missing center Ryan Kelly. Nonetheless, Minshew seemed paranoid in the pocket and continued to roll out when it wasn’t necessary, or he had a lack of trust to let the play develop. Minshew continues to take deep shots down the field. He connected with Alec Pierce for a 21-yard gain and missed Josh Downs in the first half; he connected with Downs in the second half for 28 yards.
Jonathon Taylor: 23 carries, 69 yards, TD
With the only touchdown in this game, Jonathan Taylor is finally seeing the workload we have waited to see all season. A 10-yard carry was the most significant of the day for Taylor, but his touchdown in a defensive battle against the Patriots saved his fantasy day.
Zack Moss: 1 carry, 2 yards
Zack Moss had to watch Gardner Minshew out-carry him today, so he has officially slipped into the backup role.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Michael Pittman: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 84 yards
Micheal Pittman continues to be the focal point of this Colts offense. He has been Gardner Minshew’s favorite target and is the large, reliable wide receiver Minshew needs to continue drives. Pittman sits at the top of the league leaders in first-read targets.
Alec Pierce: 1 target, 1 reception, 21 yards
Josh Downs: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 40 yards
We saw a quieter day for Josh Downs as the offense was focused on the run game. Downs continues to see targets downfield even though he is built as the slot guy catching the underneath routes.
Isaiah McKenzie: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards
Isaiah McKenzie’s stat line ended up looking weird. He pulled in a 30-yard pass from Minshew in the second half. McKenzie was the rest of his work in the screen game, catching his other three targets but only amassing one yard between them.
Kylen Granson: 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards