Week three has come and gone, and we still have not seen the real Indianapolis Colts. We've seen a pale reflection, a shadow of a team we know is much, much better than a 1-2 start. And with the way this pale shadow of a team has played, a 1-2 start is enough to have me doing back flips. Consider this lovely, oh-so-beautiful stat that should have all of you saying the famous Yogi Bera quote, "It is like deja vu all over again." The Colts have surrendered an astonishing 598 rushing yards and 3 TDs in just 3 games.
I don't care who you are, folks. If you surrender that many rushing yards, you are going to lose 2 out of every 3 games.
We can point the finger at the one person whose job it is to make sure the Colts have the players necessary to stop the run: Bill Polian. We can bash him if we want. We can scream and curse his name. Bottom line with all this is with DT Ed Johnson playing now, the Colts likely would be 2-1. The media will say it is the loss of Bob Sanders. They're dumb and don't know the team. We saw this defense stone teams from running the ball last year without Bob. This run defense was stout last season with Ed Johnson at NT, and right now it is shredded wheat without him. I don't want to hear Tony Dungy's blah blah blah mantra about how we have the right guys now to do the job.
598 yards, Tony. You don't have the right guys. If you did, you wouldn't be surrendering nearly 200 rushing yards a game to teams with a combined record of 3-6.
One of Joseph Addai's two TDs against the Jags? Why didn't Indy run the ball more?
We can make points about dropped balls, clock management, or why the Colts did not run the ball more even though they were averaging 6 yards a rush. All that is My Little Pony stuff when your defense surrenders 200 yards rushing. But like it or not, the Colts have a code. They have a system of player conduct and they enforce it, no matter what. Yes, Ed Johnson was the best DT this team had. Cutting him has cost this team a win. But I'll give Indy credit for sticking with their principles. Handing injuries, different story. Botching Peyton Manning's knee surgery, allowing it to happen in July when it should have happened in May, also cost this team a win. That's two games this team should have won, but didn't. It is indeed maddening.
This is why the bye week cannot come soon enough, and Bill Polian has his work cut out for him. Either Daniel Muir or LaJuan Ramsey can play DT for this team, or Bill Polian needs to trade for a DT who can. If not, this season is over. It is literally THAT simple. Peyton Manning is not healthy. He is having all kinds of problems throwing. Yet, in two games, he's led two of the greatest 4th quarter comebacks of his career. However, in those two games, the Colts are 1-1, and the reason the team is 1-2 is horrible defensive play. Today, the offense was 100% in the red zone (3 for 3). But two Manning INTs were a big reason the Jags won this game, and at least one of those INTs was a result of Manning's knee.
The comparisons to 2006 are scary, but unlike 2006 (which saw Indy start 3-0), this season's squad is limping out of the gate. It is almost comical how guys seem to get hurt literally EVERY DAY. I mean, is it too much to ask to have people on this roster who can play and not get hurt? I don't think it is toughness or softness or anything like that. We've seen this team play tough football many, many times.
Shockingly, the one bright spot has been special teams. THEY'VE BEEN GREAT! Who is this alien dopleganger and what has he done with special teams coach Russ Purnell? Kick and punt coverages look good. Adam Vinatieri is rejuvenated. Justin Forsett making strides as a returner, signed only a few weeks ago. Coming into the season, the special teams was the weakness.
Now, it is the best unit the Colts have.
So as mad and pissed off as many of you are right now, know that it probably should be worse. This has been about as bad a first 3 weeks I've seen for this franchise since 1997, when they started 0-3, and eventually went on to 3-13. Yet, here they are at 1-2 with a chance to get healthy, get focused, and start playing Colts friggin' football.
Many thanks to Chris at Big Cat Country for some nice cross-blogging. His Jags stay alive and, like our Colts, are limping. We, however, have the bye week to heal up while they get a 0-2 Houston Texans team next week. This bye week will allow us, as a community, to sit back and see if Bill Polian and Tony Dungy can fix this mess. If they do nothing, then they rsults post Week 4 better be different, or else the fan riots at Lucas Oil Stadium will bring new meaning to the phrase Make It Personal.