After watching the Chargers knock off the Colts this past Sunday, I wasn’t necessarily directing my anger towards Coach Pagano. While going for it on 4th down in both instances would have been good calls, in my opinion, there were other ways this Colts team could have knocked off the Chargers. Aside from the 5 crucial dropped passes, I pinned this loss on Pep Hamilton. Everyone knows what Luck is capable of doing, and I felt like Pep really limited Luck’s ability against the Chargers.
He limited Luck’s down-field passing and really tried to get the run game going. While Coach Pagano has made this an emphasis from the start, I’ve always felt that Pep needs to adjust at times and take more of a "Bruce Arians approach" if you will.
Had Pep abandoned the run game at the start of the second half and let Luck run no-huddle for the duration of the game, I’m confident that the Colts would have come off on top. The Chargers were limited to just 16 points if you ignore the game icing field goal and I’m sure Luck and the offense would have scored more than that if they got in sync.
But that’s the trouble – they were never given the opportunity to get in sync because Pep was so adamant about establishing a run game that ultimately doomed this team.
The reason why I’m writing this is because while I was angry at Pep at first, today I’ve had a change in heart. Today, I’m actually happy the Colts took this approach even though they lost the game.
For years we’ve seen Peyton Manning take this team to the playoffs and exit prematurely. They were a one-dimensional team that relied on their gunslinger to throw them to victory. The thing with Luck is that he can do the same thing for this team.
Just look at his performance last year.
But Irsay has learned from that. He brought in Pagano in hopes of taking this team in a new direction. This new direction is what kept the Colts from winning last Sunday, but it’s what will ultimately catapult them to World Championships.
The basis of this team, at the moment, is to get better. Had they relied on Luck to pull out a win, they’d be going against everything they preached. They would've lost an opportunity to improve their new system because - let’s face it – if you never run the ball, how are you supposed to improve?
I view their loss against the Chargers as another way for the Colts to improve the new system they implemented. The ‘Manning – Era’ is over. Winning games through dominating quarterback play will get you nowhere if you don’t have a running game and solid defense to compliment it all come playoff time.
The Colts will continue to improve on those aspects because they already know Luck can win games for them. But can their team win games for Luck? That’s what they are hoping to prove and improve upon because if Luck throws them to victory, what will it prove?
They’ll only be reverting back to the old system that has failed them time and time again. They're building a dynasty, and it's going to take a little patience on our part as they go through some growing pains