Welcome to the Devil's Take. As a lifetime Colts fan, it's been a long time since I seen our beloved Colts thoroughly embarrassed like this. This was a team that wasn't prepared and was thoroughly outplayed in every facet of the game. The coaching staff should be ashamed by the way they failed this team. This isn't the loss of Reggie Wayne that cost the Colts this game.
Injuries occur in every part of any sport. Players get hurt, teams adjust, and the game moves on. Some teams can overcome this, some fall apart. I cannot buy into the fact that this Colts team is the kind of team that falls apart when the going gets tough. So why then did they look like complete garbage today? Simple: Poor coaching and poor adjustments. I'm truly glad I watched this game from home, because had I been at this game, I'd have gotten tossed out for yelling at the coaches. How many times of failing does it take for you to realize you're not getting the job done?
If the Colts expect to make the playoffs, it's time that the Colts management puts a boot into someone's rear end. There's too much talent and too much money having been spent to see this kind of product on the field. We didn't get our butts kicked today for lack of players or playmakers. We got our butts beat for lack of preparation and the inability to make changes.
- For the second week in a row, the referees screw the Colts. The Rams defender CLEARLY hits the Colts receiver in the back before the ball gets there. The flag was thrown immediately. The fact that it was indeed pass interference on the Rams and the refs waving it off caused a 7 point swing and put the game out of reach permanently for the Colts. One play does not decide a game, but in this case, it was the dagger that put it out of reach. The Colts never recovered from that and it showed throughout the game.
- The Colts gained TWO yards rushing for the day out of their ground game. Seriously?!?! You mean to tell me that we could only gain TWO yards rushing against a team that just gave up 200 plus to the Titans? That's embarrassing. Pep Hamilton, this isn't college. It's beyond time for you to figure out the NFL and get the job done or you need to go.
- Robert Mathis added two sacks to his NFL leading total for 13.5 sacks. This was honestly about the only positive for the defense all day. They routinely were picked off in pick plays in coverage resulting in the Rams routinely being wide open and gashing us for big plays. The loss of Toler the last two weeks is clearly hurting this team, but the coaching staff is not making the necessary adjustments that they need to. Manusky was someone I called for firing LAST year, and I still say it's time for him to go. I will be absolutely shocked if he is re-signed as coordinator after this season. The guy simply can't get the job done in the NFL, and as his past stints in SD and SF have shown....those teams are doing better without the guy. His defenses are routinely slow to adjustments when even the guys in the booth can see what needs to be done. That being said, it's time for the Colts to seriously start looking for a new defensive coordinator.
- I'm not one for stats or records generally, as I think the team has to come first. That being said, the Colts failing to get Vinatieri in for a FG when the game clearly was lost, is just horrible. The guy had scored points in 154 consecutive games. That's the kind of streak you don't break. Instead, you opt for going for it on 4th down and it winds up being the 4th interception of the day. It's not an important stat, but it's one that honestly should have been kept up.
- If David Reed is still on this team by tomorrow morning, someone else should lose their job. The guy routinely ran the ball out from very deep in the endzone and failed to even make the 15. It's pretty sad when your fans CHEER that you down the ball rather than run it out. Adding insult to injury, is the fact that our special teams allowed that TD to be run back at all. I still say that any player waving his hands at all shouldn't be allowed for other than a fair catch warning. Only during the immediate replay was I able to see he didn't wave for a fair catch.
Last week, the Colts came out flat against the Texans and they were down 21-3 at the half. That game, you kinda knew the Colts were gonna smacked in the mouth by a Texans team that had underperformed. You knew the Colts were gonna struggle on offense without Wayne. The tide turned of course in the second half and the Colts played better, ultimately winning the game. Had we lost that game, I don't think most of us fans would have taken it as hard as this loss was to swallow. This loss, was brutal.
The Colts have only really laid a seriously bad egg like this three times in recent memory: the loss to the Jets in the playoffs, the Jaguars rushing attack dismantling us in 2006, and the Saints game from two years ago when Manning was out for the year. This game however, is worse than all of those. This wasn't a game where we lost because of injuries or lack of playmakers. This was a game we lost because our team was never ready for it, and they were never adjusted properly to get back into it. Many of you will say the Saints game was worse, but that was a fully healthy team going up a battered Colts team without their star QB and Curtis Painter playing quarterback. It was a trainwreck before the game was ever started.
I've tried in the past to be generous with not criticizing Pep Hamilton. He's had great success in the college ranks with his offensive planning and he has shown flashes of being able to move it to the NFL. However, he's making the same mistakes that most college coordinators make. You can't bring the college offense to the NFL because the roster isn't the same. You can't carry 15 offensive linemen to rotate in for jumbo packages. You can't carry 6 tight ends who are basically linemen just to block. The roster size limits this. The Colts don't have the personnel to run the packages the way you can in the college game.
He seriously needs to take a page out of Peyton Manning's playbook or Bruce Arians playbook and start changing up the game plan. This offense still has potent playmakers and can be just as efficient without Wayne as they were with Wayne. The key of course is whether or not he's willing to change up his playcalling on a regular basis. Teams know when Richardson is in that it's a run call. The formation most of the time screams run. You are predictable and teams can see it. You can't throw twice inside your 15 yard line and then call for a run on 3rd and 10. It doesn't work, especially when your offensive line is being busted up inside.
If the Colts are going to rebound, it's got to start with the offensive side of the ball. The playcalls have to be adjusted to fit the personnel. You have to start opening it up and take advantage of not only the good QB you have in Luck, but the running backs as well. Getting Richardson and Brown out in space on short throws has already shown positive plays time and time again. The Colts are entirely too predictable on offense, and it shows on all of the game tapes. Start running fake formations and throw in a trick play or two. I don't care if it doesn't work because then teams have to start watching for it. Teams don't honor the run game, they don't respect it, and they are daring the Colts to pass the ball.
I truly hate being negative on this team because I love football more than anything. I believe that this team can bounce back from this and it will serve as a pointed reminder for them as the season goes forward. This was a game they were favored in and they got their asses handed to them. The Colts are very fortunate that the Titans lost today, as they still retain what amounts to a 3 game lead in the division. Winning next week at Tennessee is a must win for the Colts. Win that game, and the division title is pretty much wrapped up 10 games into the season.
As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to the discussion. You can follow me on Twitter @DevilsReject97