NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Injured quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts watches from the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints on October 23, 2011 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Welcome to rock bottom. The absolute bottom. The belly of the beast. Whatever you want to call it. I call it the eternal vortex of suck.
62 points Colts have allowed to Saints snaps team record set in 57-0 loss to Chicago on Nov. 25, 1962.
For a moment, think of all the grand and glorious blowouts the Colts inflicted on other teams over the course of the Peyton Manning era, dating back to 1998. One of the biggest was a 55-21 romp of the Saints way back in 2003. I'd say N.O. got us back for that one, and then some.
Saints scored 7 touchdowns tonight. They recorded a franchise-best 36 first downs. Drew Brees had only four incomplete passes.
Prior to the game, NBC's Rodney Harrison said that typically with winless teams, players begin quitting. After watching the first six games of 2011 (all loses), Harrison said there was no quit in the Colts. Believe it or not, even though they got the living gumbo kicked out of them tonight, the team literally did not quit.
So, there. Something positive.
Pretty much everything else is negative. This is rock bottom. The wheels have come off. This franchise is the worst in football. We stink. REALLY stink. '08 Detroit Lions kind of stink. No other way to call it. And while I'm sure all of you are screaming for Jim Caldwell to be boxing up his office supplies tomorrow morning, this is deeper than the head coach. You know that. You have to.
When the team is competing hard, but loses 62-7, that's not the coach.
When listening to the post-game interviews, Colts.com's Kevin Lee interviewed the coach, and Caldwell sounded visibly shaken. He wasn't a sobbing mess, but he definitely sounded different. Coaches rarely survive loses like this. Part of me feels bad for Caldwell. Much of me feels bad for guys like Robert Mathis, who said after the game that the loss reflected bad on him as a player and as a leader. Stand-up guy.
This was the worst loss I've ever seen by this franchise, and I've followed them since 1991. I've seen some bad Colts teams over the time. None lost as bad as this one did tonight. Something has to give. The ball is now in Jim Irsay's court. After losing 62-7, it isn't just the Peyton Manning injury. It's not about cliches or silly phrases like 'one game at a time' or 'next man up.' The problem is much deeper, and will require hard choices. And if loses like this happen and there is no change or accountability, then that is Jim Irsay saying such losses are 'OK.'
So, back looking for more positives, a 62-7 slapdown is often the fast path to change. I honestly don't know how Bill and Chris Polian can look Irsay in the face after tonight's game.
0-7. Rock bottom. Vortex. Suck.