If you sat down to watch the Indianapolis Colts today, you might have thought you were watching the Colts' team from 2012 or 2013 and not the one we've become used to seeing in 2014.
The Colts couldn't stop the Steelers' offense whatsoever and they couldn't protect the quarterback. Andrew Luck had a gutsy effort in a very good game for him, and if you had told the Colts yesterday they'd score 34 points on the road and that Luck would throw for 400 yards and 3 scores, they'd probably have taken it. But the Colts defense absolutely imploded and gave up 51 points to the Steelers and over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger. The 639 total yards the Colts defense gave up were the most in franchise history.
Really, there's not much to say about this one. The defense was unspeakably awful. The offense was good but couldn't protect Luck and were playing from behind all game.
With that said, let's take a look at some notes from today's game.
- The Colts defense was terrible today. I mean, I don't even have any words to describe how bad the defensive effort was today. The Colts couldn't get ANY pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. They won't even have to wash his jersey after this one. The Colts gave him all the time in the world. They tried not blitzing and they didn't get any pressure. They tried blitzing and they didn't get any pressure. Nothing the Colts did could get any pressure on Roethlisberger and as a result he picked them apart. The Colts secondary was playing without Vontae Davis for most of the game, and saw Darius Butler, Josh Gordy, and Greg Toler get torched. The front seven for the Colts was absolutely dominated this game. It was embarrassing in a number of ways.
- This game highlighted every reason why many people weren't happy with the D'Qwell Jackson contract. He was terrible today, and it's not like the things we saw from him were new. Jackson had a bad game - but really, it's hard to pick out any one person as having a bad game, because everybody on the defense was terrible.
- Remember the Colts' struggles to cover the tight end? Yeah, well today they didn't even try to cover the tight end. Heath Miller was just left wide open all day and he notched over 100 yards and a score today.
- Because so many are asking, NO, this was not the most points given up the week after a shutout. In 1985 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up 62 points the week following a shutout. But yeah, this one was close. And still terrible.
- The offense today played well. They put up 34 points on the road in Pittsburgh despite not being able to protect the quarterback at all. This offense is still great.
- Andrew Luck played what I think was one of his better games of the season. While many in the national media will focus on the pick-six, Luck really didn't make many mistakes today. Rather, those mistakes were just amplified by the defense not being able to do anything but give up yards. Luck was hit repeatedly and hit hard often, yet he continued to ball. He showed a lot of guts and made it a competitive game despite his defense allowing a lot of points. Luck set a new Colts franchise record with his sixth straight 300 yard passing day and notched his second career 400 yard passing performance.
- T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief both had big days receiving. Hilton caught 6 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown while Moncrief caught 7 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown (his first career NFL touchdown). Ahmad Bradshaw also looked good, catching 7 passes for 52 yards and rushing 6 times for 35 yards and a touchdown.
- If Hakeem Nicks ever gets more playing time than Moncrief again after this game, something is wrong. It wasn't that Nicks was bad as much as it was that he just has NO timing with Andrew Luck. Regardless of the reason for this, he shouldn't be out there. Not with how Moncrief has played. Get Nicks out and #FeedMoncrief.
- This has been masked a lot by the win streak and by the good play of the rest of the line, but Gosder Cherilus has had a terrible season this year and was terrible again today.
- DHB had his biggest contribution to the Colts of his career - a lost fumble for the Steelers in this game. Ok, I'll stop with the DHB jokes now.
- Adam Vinatieri still hasn't missed this season on field goals. So there's that.
- Ultimately, here's the deal for all of you doomsday people: the Colts will be fine. Their offense is great. We saw today that their defense isn't as good as they've shown recently, but really we already knew that. This performance was awful, but it's just one game. The Colts are 5-3. They've got major issues, as we saw today, but it's not the end of the world by any means.