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Frank Reich on 26 consecutive passing plays: We tried to run it and weren’t getting anything

The Colts shied away from opportunities to have Jonathan Taylor run the ball in Week 12, but Mike Florio and Mike Golic describe why Indianapolis should’ve tested the Buccaneers’ run defense more.

After winning three straight games, including a 41-15 victory over the Bills last week, the Colts lost on Sunday to the Buccaneers. And while the team was able to put up 392 total yards, Tampa Bay effectively limited star running back Jonathan Taylor.

In the three-game win streak, Taylor rushed for 172, 116, and 185 yards. He took 19, 21, and 32 carries.

But on Sunday, Taylor had just 83 yards on 16 carries. With Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh manning the middle of Tampa Bay’s defense, it’s difficult for any team to run. But the Colts had a stretch of 26 called passes between the end of the second quarter and the third quarter.

Granted, the air attack had worked in the first half as the Colts built a 24-14 halftime lead. But the Bucs scored 17 straight points to go up 31-24 with 10:06 left in the fourth quarter.

“We were rolling. We scored 21 points,” head coach Frank Reich told reporters after the game. “We tried to run it in the first quarter, this is the No. 1 run defense, and we weren’t getting anything. We tried throwing in the second quarter and started having a lot of success. Carson [Wentz] was hot. Called a bunch of RPOs that got to throws because they were throw reads. We come out in the third quarter, we move the ball well in the third quarter. We moved down there twice, we’re moving it well. So, I’ll go back and look at it.”

Indianapolis was moving the ball, but Wentz got strip-sacked on a first-down play in the red zone and on a later drive threw an interception to Antoine Winfield.

Reich noted that normally with a long string of pass plays, someone will say something to him.

“Nothing was said to me during that stretch but sometimes something like that will be said,” Reich said. “The reason probably no one was saying anything was because a lot of the things we were calling were working. A lot of them were working against a really good defense. So, I think that’s probably why.”

In the end, the Buccaneers won the game with Leonard Fournette’s 28-yard touchdown.

The Colts can get Taylor back into the MVP conversation with a strong performance next week against the Texans. Taylor rushed for 145 yards in a 31-3 victory over Houston in Week Six.