Colts at Broncos, Week 5 of the 2022 NFL season: What We Learned from the Colts' win over the Broncos on Thursday
1. Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos offense are back to square one. Most rational people understood that Wilson's integration with his new receivers, play-caller, offensive line, and others would take time in Denver. Even the most pessimistic observer, however, could not have predicted some of the difficulties we've witnessed thus far, particularly with Wilson himself. Even in a loss to the Raiders on Sunday, some of the anxiety seemed to dissipate after some confident throws and quality scrambles. But the Broncos offense took a step back on Thursday, as Wilson was intercepted twice (once in the end zone, which nearly cost them the game) and averaged only six yards per pass attempt. It certainly can't be blamed on Javonte Williams' absence.
The Broncos' first six third-down conversions were 17, 16, 15, 12, 10, and 7. Too many early-down misfires have put Denver in difficult situations, which the defense should not have to compensate for so frequently. Nathaniel Hackett's offensive struggles are not without blame, but the Broncos aren't paying him a quarter-billion dollars. Denver fans abandoning a tie game late in regulation? They are not stupid. They are well aware that what they are witnessing is extremely distressing.
2. Alec Pierce had a breakout game. Without Jonathan Taylor, the Colts were clearly shorthanded in this game, and they desperately needed someone to step up in the offensive playmaking department. Picking offensive heroes in a game with only 21 points and the Colts not taking a lead until overtime is a tall order. Kicker Chase McLaughlin was outstanding, connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts (three from 48 yards or longer), and Deon Jackson, Taylor's replacement this game, contributed 91 yards from scrimmage. But Pierce's eight catches (on nine targets) for 81 yards were huge, both in this game and in the future. The Broncos switched top corner Patrick Surtain II from Michael Pittman to Pierce late in the game, a big sign of respect for the second-round pick. If Pierce can play like this on a consistent basis, he could provide the Colts with a much-needed second receiving option.
Russell Wilson was 2 of 14 passing for 88 yards and two interceptions on throws of 10 or more air yards on Thursday.
NFL Research: The Colts' 12-9 victory was the first with zero touchdowns and four or more interceptions since the Colts defeated the Browns in Week 1 of the 2003 season, when quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Kelly Holcomb each had two interceptions in a 9-6 victory.