The Rams managed to score in all phases of the game Sunday. They had a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown on the Colts opening drive. They had a punt returned by Tavon Austin from inside the five-yard line for a touchdown. Austin scored on two long touchdown passes. Zac Stacy had a short run for a TD and they chipped in a field goal.
Thankfully the Rams didn’t get a safety or a pick-six.
It was a completely uninspired effort from the Colts on Sunday who seemed to forget that they were supposed to play Sunday. You would think that after the comeback win against the Texans this squad would want a hot start to a game for once. We’ve said for months that the “come from behind” model was not sustainable. You can’t play poorly and expect Luck to bail the team out in the fourth quarter every week, I’m sure he’s getting tired of it too.
Here are our thoughts on the game:
- Why was the team so unprepared to play? Sunday started out well enough, some dumb penalties gave the Colts good field position and they moved the ball pretty well. Then came the sack-strip for a TD and it was downhill from there. The Rams have a very, very good defensive line, but the Colts made it look like the 2008 Giants. The defense was completely unprepared for Austin, their best receiving threat. When a team has a bad QB, it would be wise to jam the receivers at the line to throw off timing and give the pass rush more time. Did that happen? Nope. This is two weeks in a row now where the team failed to show up in the first half. Obviously they are unprepared.
- Chuck Pagano and Pep Hamilton have talked about imposing their will on opponents via the run game for awhile now. When exactly is that supposed to happen? The Colts were leading the league in rushing early in the year, but now sit in the middle of the pack. Luck is third in rushing for the Colts with 200 yards, just 50 fewer than Trent Richardson. Its a bad philosophy and doesn’t play to the teams strengths.
- Why does the coaching staff think this offensive line is good? Aside from the tackles, this line is terrible, yet Pagano and Hamilton insist on this power run game that has failed to produce any results. Luck rushed for 17 yards, four Colts backs managed just one yard on nine carries. Obviously the score dictated play calling, but that is still pathetic. It wasn’t the fault of the backs either, the guards and center were overwhelmed by the Rams and gave the ball carries zero chance. It doesn’t make sense to keep forcing the ball up the gut when its not the teams strong suit. The Colts should play a spread offense and run out of a single back set. The current plan is frustrating and smacks of stubbornness from the coaches.
- Anthony Castonzo has had just three below average games all season, and only once did it result in a loss. He was beaten badly Sunday, but also played against one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.
- RG Mike McGlynn has had just one decent game all season, the opener. The past two weeks he’s given up six hurries and four hits. He’s better at run blocking, but even there he’s below average.
- What the hell is wrong with the kickoff returners? Can someone tell David Reed and Dan Herron that its ok to take a knee in the end zone? The Colts return men took four kickoffs out of the end zone and failed to cross the 20 each time. Returns are not that difficult. Reed and Herron just made bad decisions to take the ball out.
This was a failure of a game across the board. Luck had a bad day (possibly the worst of his career), and it happened to come at the same time as pretty much everyone else. Luck is good enough to mask the flaws of this team, but not when everyone around him is failing.
There are some serious flaws to this Colts roster, and after a game like Sunday’s, it feels like coaching is one of them.
Luckily the Colts won’t have to swell on this loss for long. The Colts head south to face the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football.
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