Embarrassing. Sad. Pathetic. Awful. Terrible. Those are just a few of the (clean) words that come to mind after witnessing that Colts' defensive performance tonight. They couldn't stop the Patriots' run game whatsoever, and New England ran all over the Colts in a game played on national television in Indianapolis.
The Colts didn't help Andrew Luck out whatsoever. Run defense? I didn't see any tonight, other than from the Patriots. Pass defense? Well, they played a side role. Offensive line? Yeah, pretty offensive. Run game? You mean the one that gained 4 yards on 14 carries aside from the quarterback? The impressive players for this Colts team were few and far between - Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Reggie Wayne. Maybe throw Mike Adams in there for his two picks. Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri, like usual. But overall, it was a piss-poor effort from a Colts team playing at home looking to truly establish themselves.
We've known this team wasn't as good as they showed earlier this year. But it was beyond clear tonight that they have plenty of issues, and the Colts haven't fixed hardly any of the ones that were still there last year. They masked them a bit, sure, but when playing a legitimate team like New England, they were revealed. Ryan Grigson bought a $100 million roll of duct tape and masked over some of the issues. But fixed? Nah, because these were the same issues we saw in the playoff loss last year.
Let's take a look at some notes from tonight's game:
- This was beyond embarrassing for the Colts' defense. I mean, there's really no excuses. It was just sad. The Colts couldn't stop anything on the ground. They were run over like it was, well, January 2014. The very thing the Colts focused on after getting gashed for 234 and 6 touchdowns on the ground by New England last year was again the thing that did them in tonight. And that's inexcusable. Jonas Gray certainly had a big night, but the Colts didn't even come close to stopping him. That's a problem. They were pushed around and flat out dominated tonight. They were embarrassed on run defense tonight and that's unacceptable. We've known for a while that the Colts' run defense isn't that good, but they should be better than this. Apparently not. And that monster the Colts are building? Yeah, no one will be intimidated by that monster after the showing tonight. I'll have plenty more on the run defense later, but it was bad.
- Jonas Gray, undrafted: 199 yards, 4 touchdowns, 5.2 yards per carry. Trent Richardson, third overall pick: 7 rushes, 0 yards. Sheesh.
- If you want to see a game in which the Colts gave Andrew Luck absolutely no help, watch tonight's game. They did absolutely nothing to help him. Defense? Yeah, they completely sucked. Run game? Andrew Luck was the leading rusher, and it wasn't even close. I give Coby Fleener and Reggie Wayne credit, and of course the special teams were good again, but overall this was a completely pathetic effort from a team that many thought could finally compete with the Patriots. Instead, it was the team collapsing and putting everything on Andrew Luck's shoulders again with no help.
- Take a bow, Coby Fleener! With the Patriots shutting down some of the Colts wideouts and with Dwayne Allen out of the game with an injury, the much maligned tight end stepped up with what was easily his best game as a Colt. He was one of the few bright spots tonight.
- Reggie Wayne also had a nice game tonight.
- Andrew Luck actually played well. Perhaps those looking at the scoreboard wouldn't agree, but if you think this game was on Andrew Luck you're crazy. He had a solid game - not great, but it wasn't bad either. But as I mentioned earlier, he got no help.
- Jonotthan Harrison did not have a good game tonight at center. He was pushed around quite a bit. I've defended the decision a bit so far this year, but in a huge game Harrison played poorly. The Colts better figure that out quickly, because pressure from up the middle is the worst kind. Especially when A.Q. Shipley is sitting there on the bench.
- Mike Adams continues to be the biggest free agent pickup for the Colts. He picked off two passes tonight and was one of the few defenders who looked like they were playing defense for the Colts tonight.
- Dear Pep Hamilton, let's just drop a lot of these screen plays from the game plan, especially on fourth down, ok? Thanks. Signed, Colts fans everywhere.
- Anthony Castonzo scored a touchdown! Yes, that Anthony Castonzo, the same one who is the Colts' starting left tackle. It was a beautiful play call, as he checked in as eligible and Luck hit him on the play action pass on third and goal from the one. Castonzo was wide open and then showed off his dance moves.
- The Colts needed to get T.Y. Hilton more involved. I'll have to look at the All-22 to really see what's up, but he needed to be more involved. And no, I'm not meaning a useless screen or two.
- The Colts got beat up in today's game, too, losing two of their most important offensive players. Tight end Dwayne Allen injured his ankle and running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a lower leg injury. If you think tonight's loss to New England was bad (and it was), losing those two for an extended period would be a much, much bigger loss.
- On the positive side: the Colts host the Jaguars next week.