The Colts looked ahead.
After a 4-and-1 start and the showdown with Peyton Manning looming…the hype got to them. How else do you explain what we saw in Monday’s 19-9 loss to San Diego?
How else do you explain the performance we saw from a defense that had been performing at a respectable level to this point…only to allow San Diego to control the clock for nearly 39 minutes? The Chargers ran 72 plays (24 more than the Colts) and when they weren’t converting third-downs themselves – they were getting help from Colts penalties to move the chains.
How do you explain what we saw from the Colts offense? In what was billed as Luck’s “coming out party”, the Colts managed just 267 total yards and were just 2-for-10 on third downs. The game started a with flea-flicker…and then evolved into a muddling mess. The “power-running game” mustered up 74 yards…and when Luck WAS able to pass the football, his receivers let him down by dropping the football time and time again.
While I’ve been an advocate of putting the ball in Andrew’s hands and letting him throw it…I can’t pin the ineffectiveness of the Colts offense entirely on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Again…we saw five big drops Monday night. How different would Luck’s numbers look if those were secured? Considering the way the defense played, every last drop was monumental.
Colts fans didn’t recognize their own team. This isn’t the same group that dominated a physical San Francisco squad. This wasn’t the same group we saw last week come from behind against an equally physical Seattle team. The Colts team we saw Monday night resembled the old ‘bend but don’t break’ teams we saw struggle against the Chargers in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Sure injuries play a factor, but this one can’t be placed entirely on the shortcomings of Mario Harvey – the backup-to-the-backup linebacker who fogged up my television with all the huffing and puffing he was doing last night. No…this was a collective effort. And everyone shares in the blame.
Teams have off nights. They have bad games. I guess it’s not a surprise that this one comes six days before the most anticipated regular season game in franchise history. But fans can look ahead with no repercussions…players can’t. Now, 4-and-1 can turn into 4-and-3 in a hurry if the Colts don’t put forth a monstrous effort against the Broncos, Sunday night.
The game stunk, but it’s not indicative of what this team is all about. That will be decided in the coming weeks…