That was disappointing. For the third time in a row, the Indianapolis Colts lost by 20+ points to the New England Patriots. While the game was a little bit closer than the final score indicated, we learned that the Colts still aren't at the level of the Patriots.
It's after games like this that I try to remind myself that the Colts are three years removed from turning over basically the entire team. Right around now is when most of us (I think) expected them to start to be competitive. Is that an excuse for the game? No. But it makes me feel a little better about a decisive loss.
Regardless of the outcome, though, awards still need to be handed out, so without further ado, here they are:
MVP - Coby Fleener
Dwayne Allen went out, Reggie Wayne had Darrelle Revis on him, and T.Y. Hilton disappeared. The Colts turned to Fleener, and he finally showed us what I think we have all hoped to see in the third year tight end.
Fleener finished with seven catches for 144 yards. While some of these plays saw the Patriots defense seemingly forget about the big tight end, some were great grabs by Fleener. Chiefly the jump ball Andrew Luck threw him in the middle of the field, and the toe drag on the sideline.
If Allen misses some time (which I think he will if it's a high ankle sprain) Fleener will have a golden opportunity to shine. Given that the Colts will (probably) only keep one of the two when their contracts expire, this could be Fleener's shot to show he's the guy.
He should see ample opportunities next week against the Jaguars as well.
Defensive MVP - Mike Adams
I mean, I guess. Adams led the way for tackles and had two interceptions of Tom Brady in the first half. However, he didn't shine (to me) a whole lot outside of the picks.
On the first drive Adams whiffed on tackling Jonas Gray (he wasn't alone) and then got completed turned around by the back on the next play. He was also manhandling by Rob Gronkowski a couple of times, but we had to expect that.
Really, Adams gets this award because the rest of the defense didn't really show up. Plus those two interceptions (while mostly Brady's fault) were key in keeping the game close in the first half.
Dancing with the Stars Award - Anthony Castonzo
Yikes. I can't believe I've had to hand to hand out two Dancing awards this year. As a refresher, Pat McAfee pulled this award in last time. Last night it was Castonzo busting a move.
Although I'm not sure what he was going for. I'm also on the fence about if I liked the dance or not. Still, when you catch your first career pass, and touchdown, you might as well make it count.
Dagger Award - Rob Gronkowski
All week leading up to the game I told anyone who would listen that I didn't know if the Colts could stop the Patriots. Of course, what I really meant was that I didn't think the Colts could stop Gronkowski.
While the big tight end only caught four passes (which led the Patriots by the way) he made up for it in run support, but more on that later. Gronkowski's touchdown catch and ferocious run put to bed any chance for a Colts comeback. It probably put to bed a lot of fans as well.
That touchdown was exactly what I thought the Patriots would do to the Colts defense all game. They only needed to do it once, and it put the game away.
What Were You Thinking Award - Coaching Decisions
Ok, I've got a few things here that I want to lump into one award.
First of all, when you're down 21-10, haven't stopped the other team yet (other than two bad interceptions), and could really use a boost, why do you kick the 53 yard field goal? I know Adam Vinatieri has been money this year. And I know that about halfway through the third quarter may be a little early to chase points.
Still. I would have gone for the fourth and short. It could have been a huge boost and cut the game back down to four (if the Colts had finished the drive). Of course, the way Indy was running the ball who knows if they would have converted. Regardless, when ultra-conservative Chris Collinsworth wonders if maybe you should have gone for it, you probably should have gone for it.
Next up (and I have to bring this up) is the bubble screen. Why exactly is this still in the playbook? The Colts ran it twice last night. Once Hilton got taken down well behind the line. The other time they barely converted on fourth down. I just don't understand what this is doing in the playbook right now.
And finally, why exactly is Hakeem Nicks still (apparently) ahead of Donte Moncrief on the depth chart? Yes, Nicks had a nice touchdown catch, but that was about all. Plus (even though the game was basically over) I'm slightly upset, still, about him dropping that fourth down pass.
Throw in the fact that the only time (again for some reason) Moncrief was thrown at, he had beaten the defense. Luck just missed him. Why not run that play again? With Hilton being held down by the Patriots defense, why not look to your other burner receiver more?
The Embarrassment Award - The Kick Return
You all know the play I'm talking about. I'll leave it at that.
LVP - Running Game
And by this, I mean both sides of the ball. The stats? 244 rushing yards to 19 rushing yards. To steal a phrase from Robert Griffin III's press conference: "That was a travesty."
Just awful. Did the loss of Allen hurt? Yes. But more concerning to me is that, starting with the Pittsburgh game, the Colts have really struggled to run the ball. If Bradshaw misses time, we could see a repeat of last year.
On the other hand, where was the run defense? Big running backs seem to give Chuck Pagano's defense fits. It was Gray last night, Blount last year, and let's not forget what Peyton Hillis was able to do to the Colts defense a couple years ago. Those are just a few examples obviously.
I'll stop there because I really could go on and on about how bad the run defense was.
Fortunately, the Colts get to stay at home, and face the last place Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday. The Colts should win. If they don't, well, then it may be time to panic a bit.