An utterly pathetic effort to run the ball last night.
First thing Dungy should do in his Monday meeting with the press is apologize to the fans.
I've calmed down and re-played his game management in my head, and I still cannot account for some of the idiotic decisions he made in game. Forget the cotton candy game plan for a moment. Just focus on the one, key job the head coach is primarily responsible for. Was the team ready to play? Answer: No.
That is totally and utterly inexcusable, especially after 5 pre-season games.
I don't want to turn this into a laundry list of who screwed up. This post would be 50,000 words if I did that. Instead, I'll just go back to my keys for the game. Did the Colts run the ball? No. Did they even try to run the ball? Tom Moore did a pathetic, Martz-like job trying to establish a ground game, which is so crucial to beating a team like the Bears. The Colts ran Joseph Addai only 15 times. In 3 trips to the red zone, the Colts reverted to their pass happy days rather than running the ball down Chicago's throat. Penalties, poor game management, and bad execution did the rest. Peyton Manning, who is not 100%, attempted 49 passes.
You are not going to win many games in this league when your run-to-pass ratio is 20-80.
The one bright spot for the Colts is the one area that has consistently played poorly for many seasons: Special teams. They played outstanding. Devin Hester acted like a cocky punk, and his antics at the beginning of the second half got Indianapolis back in the game. Coverage units controlled Hester all night, and if not for some silly penalties, Courtney Roby was returning his kicks quite well. All that momentum shifted again when Marvin Harrison fumbled in Indy's side of the field, and Lance Briggs scooped it up and returned it for a TD. That was the ball game.
You really have to credit Chicago for having a solid game plan and showing up ready. You'd think the Colts would have done the same, especially considering that they were opening their brand new stadium paid for by the fans. But there were times last night were this team looked lost, confused, and (in some cases) like they didn't know how to play football.
The blame for last night's embarrasment falls squarely on the coaches and management. Botching the timing of Manning's knee surgery cost Indy this game. Dungy poorly game planning and preparing the team allowed Chicago to Shanghai a night that should have belonged to the fans. All in all, this was one of the worst Colts games I have ever seen, and it better get straighted up quick.
Obviously, much of these problems are correctable. But as a fan, I feel Colts management cheated us fans out of a win. There are no gimmes in football, but the Colts are better than the Bears. Even Bears fans know that. And if that's the case, and the Colts played like that, than this opening day loss is on Dungy, Polian, and the Colts medical staff. They better get this team ready and get a good game plan in order, because next week it gets harder.
Thanks to all who posted hundreds of comments in the open threads. Hope you are enjoying some of the new features SB Nation has to offer with our new sites. As always, thanks to Windy City Gridiron for cross-blogging leading up to this game.
Seriously, can you think of a more disastrous opening weekend for the NFL? Tom Brady is out for 2008 with torn ligaments. Vince Young might be out for 2008 as well. The Colts, Chargers, and Seahawks laid eggs against teams that didn't make the playoffs last year, and Cleveland's new defense looks as horrible as it did last season. Week One = total mess.