The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Detroit Lions by a score of 39-35 thanks to a game-winning field goal from Matt Prater. Despite quarterback Andrew Luck‘s big day, it wasn’t enough for the Colts to kick off 2016 with a victory.
The Indianapolis Colts are probably happy to have their franchise quarterback under center for their team, and rightfully so.
In his first start since week nine of last season, Luck completed 31 of his 47 passing attempts — good for 385 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Luck was magnificent throughout the game. However, we learned that no matter how good Luck is, the team’s play as a whole is what will make-or-break the final score.
There are a few things that can be taken away after watching the Colts’ bout against the Lions.
The Defense Continues to be a Liability
Despite Luck’s 406 total yards and four touchdowns, the defense still gave up 448 total yards — something that is completely unacceptable for any defense regardless of the circumstances.
Of course, the Colts are missing a great number of starters on the defensive side of the ball — including Henry Anderson, Arthur Jones and Vontae Davis. But no defense should be giving up 400-plus yards to an offense that ranked 20th in the league last year — and had lost it’s best wide receiver in Calvin Johnson to retirement.
If the Colts plan to bounce back from this loss, the defense needs to step up their game. Time and time again would defenders whiff on tackles behind the line of scrimmage, thus resulting in a big gain for Detroit.
The Run Game Could Use Some Work
Against the Lions, the Colts rushed for 82 total yards on 19 carries — an average of 4.3 yards per-carry.
While these numbers aren’t bad, they aren’t necessarily good, either. Frank Gore, the Colts, No. 1 running back, ran for 59 yards on 14 carries. Luck was the Colts’ second-leading rusher with 21 yards on three carries.
Time in and time out, the Colts attempted to establish the run early in the game, resulting in many third-and-long plays.
The Colts started off the game down 21-3 — mostly due to the fact that Luck wasn’t getting his chance to pass the ball and get the offense in rhythm.
The running game will be even more tested next week when they face off against the Denver Broncos’ stingy run defense.
Andrew Luck Looked Fantastic in His Return
As stated earlier, Luck was absolutely brilliant today. He threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. He tacked on 21 more yards on the ground.
He picked apart the Lions’ defense as he averaged 8.2 yards for every completion. In the fourth quarter, Luck found Jack Doyle twice in the end zone to put the Colts up 35-34.
That’s when Matt Prater put the dagger in the Colts with his 43 yard field goal to give the Lions the 39-34 victory — the extra two points coming from a safety after the Colts failed on a lateral as they tried to win the game.
While Luck may have been excellent in his first regular season game of 2016, it simply wasn’t enough for the Colts to earn their first victory of the year.
If the team wants to bounce back and avoid their third-straight 0-2 start to the season, Luck will need to carry his momentum into next week, as well as the defense playing their part and shutting down the Denver offense.
The Indianapolis Colts travel to Denver to take on the Broncos next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
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