INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Curtis Painter #7 of the Indianapolis Colts is sacked by Charles Johnson #95 and Andre Neblett #68 of the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Colts are 0-11 for the first time since 1986, two years after moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis. This means the 2011 Colts have started worse, and looked worse, than the wretched 1-15 Colts of 1991 or the eventual 3-13 Colts of 1997. The '91 Colts started 0-9 before getting their first win on the road against the Jets November 10th. The '97 Colts started 0-10, but earned their first win November 16th against the Packers.
This team, and this franchise, is worse than those two horrid squads. Much worse.
Sunday, the Carolina Panthers had just two wins and a truly terrible defense when they entered Lucas Oil Stadium. They also had a twelve-game road losing streak. When the game was over, they won their third game of the season, snapped their road losing streak, and moved the Colts one step closer to going 0-16 for 2011.
Once again, Colts quarterback Curtis Painter was terrible; his numbers greatly over-inflated by some truly excellent play by one Reggie Wayne, whose 56-yard touchdown catch and run in the fourth quarter should make his career highlight reel. Some nice running by Donald Brown and Joseph Addai also provided a nice, positive spark that this team has sorely lacked.
But, as we have seen all season, this defense is truly wretched.
The supposedly greatest linebacker trio in the league, as Colts front office overlord Bill Polian calls them, were mauled all game long. Rookie quarterback Cam Newton picked apart the putrid Colts secondary, and running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart ran through wide open holes for big yardage and back-breaking plays.
Stewart finished with 70 yards on 10 carries while Williams had two touchdowns, including a dynamic 25-yard touchdown run.
Back to Painter, he did manage to bring the Colts back into the game after the Colts were down 24-13 in the fourth quarter. Wayne took his pass over the middle and converted it into the before mentioned spectacular 56-yard touchdown. After the Colts defense managed to get a key stop, Painter then under-threw a ball to Pierre Garcon in the endzone that was intercepted with 4:24 left. After the defense forced another stop, Painter drove the Colts all the way down to the three yard line of the Panthers, but threw another interception in the endzone, effectively ending all hopes of the Colts getting their first win of 2011.
Curtis Painter now has thrown one touchdown and nine INTs in the last three games. He's also fumbled three times during that stretch.
After the game, Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted:
O-11 bottom line,and the bottom line is the bottom line..I like,I want the anger this should bring..because if ur not pissed off,ur asleep!
The 0-10 start for the 1997 Colts cost head coach Lindy Infante and general manager Bill Tobin their jobs. Clearly, this 0-11 start should end the tenures of Jim Caldwell, Chris Polian, and Bill Polian in Indianapolis at the end of the season. If it does not, the only person 'asleep' is Jim Irsay himself, and his useless tweets are an obviously shallow effort to convey 'anger' to fans which ring hallow unless he is willing to enforce drastic change within the Colts.
Tweets mean nothing now. Words mean nothing. Action is all I want to see from Jim Irsay, who only looks more and more inept and powerless as long as the Polians are in charge of his front office.
This is no longer an 'elite' organization. The Colts are a laughing stock. A sham. A farce. Only change, top to bottom, will wash away the stink that is emanating from this rotting corpse of a franchise in Indianapolis.