The prevailing feeling among everyone right now is that the season is over for the Colts, and that may well be the case. Today's 38-35 loss in overtime to the Cowboys drops Indy one full game behind the Jaguars in the AFC South. The Colts have lost four of their last five games, with their only win in that stretch to the lowly Bengals.
Peyton Manning has thrown 11 picks in the last three games. He has back-to-back games of four INTs. He has back-to-back games of throwing two INTs returned for touchdowns. It's the turnovers that will define this disastrous run of games. The excuse everyone will use is that injuries to players like Austin Collie and Joseph Addai are the reason the Colts have struggled.
The reality is injuries have indeed affected the Colts, but they are not the reason.
Injuries to receivers, running backs, and safeties had nothing to do with the two picks Peyton threw today that were returned for TDs. We've been telling you since Week One that Peyton himself has been playing hurt. He once again wore a sleeve on his throwing arm today. In fact, he started the game with it. No offense to Jim Caldwell, but I doubt he's got that thing on because of an elbow abrasion.
Listen, we can debate what's wrong with Peyton until we are blue in the face, but the choices all of you have are that he is either playing hurt, or he just flat out stinks right now. Take your pick (no pun intended).
As we have seen all season, the Colts struggled to run the ball in this game (40 yards, 2.4 a carry) and could not stop the run (217 yards allowed, 4.7 a carry). At no point did these glaring weaknesses become more obvious than after Taj Smith's outstanding blocked punt for a TD to give the Colts the lead in the fourth quarter. When this overpaid, overvalued defense absolutely had to keep the Cowboys out of field goal range, they let them march all the way down the field and into the redzone on ten plays.
8 runs. 2 passes.
The Cowboys would eventually score a touchdown after Eric Foster committed a dumb penalty during the Cowboys field goal attempt. The penalty gave Dallas a new set of downs. Foster will likely get painted as a GOAT, but this game was lost long before his 'leverage' penalty. When your team cannot run the ball, and surrenders over 200 rushing yards at home, it deserves to lose.
Is the season over? Probably. This is a lost team. If the Colts do not make the post-season, Jim Irsay needs to consider making changes. And those changes should probably start in the front office.
Chat away. Go Colts.