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Final Score: Cowboys 42, Colts 7

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The Colts were embarrassed in Dallas, losing to the Cowboys 42-7.

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The Colts clinched the AFC South division last week, guaranteeing them a spot in the playoffs and a home playoff game at that.  But that was last week, and that meant that the Colts didn't have much to play for today.  And that really showed.  The Colts basically looked like they gave up and didn't care as they saw the Dallas Cowboys completely dominate them in every aspect on their way to a 42-7 victory.

The Colts' offense was outplayed by the Cowboys' defense.  The Colts' defense was outplayed by the Cowboys' offense.  The Colts' special teams were outplayed by the Cowboys' special teams.  And the Colts coaching staff was out coached by the Cowboys' coaching staff.

There's really not much we can say to describe this game.  It was embarrassing.  It was terrible.  It was awful.  It was pathetic.  You name it - the Colts got completely dominated today.  Let's take a look at some notes from the game:

  • Where to start?  Well, let's start with the defense.  And they stunk.  Tony Romo completed 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards and four scores on them.  DeMarco Murray rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown.  Jason Witten and Dez Bryant both had good days.  And ultimately, the Colts couldn't stop Dallas at all.  They made it look way, way, way too easy.  It's one thing to just get beat.  It's another thing to look as bad as they did while getting beat.
  • Jerrell Freeman had a terribly stupid taunting penalty on the Cowboys' first drive that kept it alive and allowed Dallas to score.  That was stupid.
  • Also stupid was the Colts' offensive plan on the following drive.  A run on first down went for a loss of five.  So, of course, they run on second down and gain one.  So then Pep Hamilton draws up a run play on third down and it gains three.  So basically the Colts didn't care at all about being aggressive and instead just decided to run the ball and punt it, not putting the ball in Andrew Luck's hands.  So then, of course, on fourth down they tried a fake punt.  And, though Pat McAfee's pass was a good one, Dewey McDonald dropped it (you can see the play here).  The decision to go for the fake isn't the one I 'm going to discuss - but rather the decision by the Colts to put the ball in Pat McAfee's hands to throw it before they put the ball in Andrew Luck's hands to throw it.  Just stupid.  And yes, I'd be saying the same thing had they converted it.  The result would have been better, but still letting McAfee throw before letting Luck throw is not a good idea.  At all.
  • You'll see a lot (and I mean A LOT) of hot takes from people both locally and nationally saying that Andrew Luck is struggling, and while he did not have a particularly good football game, the only way to place the blame for today's game on him was if you didn't watch it.  He was down 14-0 before he even threw a pass.  I'm not defending Luck by saying that he had a good day, but c'mon - this one wasn't on him.  It was a collective team effort.
  • With that said, the offense struggled mightily today.  Whether it was penalties (because there were a ton of those!), dropped passes (because there were a ton of those too!), poor offensive line play, runs being stuffed, errant throws, or turnovers, the Colts kept finding ways to struggle on the offensive side of the ball.
  • The Colts officially rushed for the fewest yards in franchise history (one).  Yeah, that's hard to do and that's saying something considering the recent struggles from the Colts' run game.  Seriously - ten carries for one yard.  That's terrible.
  • After halftime, CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said that Colts' head coach Chuck Pagano told her that he "didn't have any answers" after the Colts were down 28-0 at the half.  Yeah, well, I think most Colts fans could have told you that Pagano didn't have any answers.  Because he was terrible today.  The best move he made?  Pulling Andrew Luck in the third quarter to prevent him from getting injured, but even then it came too late and Luck was the only starter he pulled.
  • Like, why was Reggie Wayne still in there late in the game?
  • Oh, and Dwayne Allen (knee) and Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) both suffered injuries when the team was down by a number of scores.  If those are serious injuries, Chuck Pagano should be questioned heavily for why he kept the starters in there so long.
  • Ultimately, here's the deal: this team quit on Chuck Pagano.  It really didn't matter if the Colts lost this game, and I don't think anybody would have been super upset with a loss.  But with this loss?  In a game that looked like the Colts didn't care?  They quit.  I've been very balanced and rational in my takes on Chuck Pagano, but I think this one is the biggest negative on his tenure as Colts' head coach: his team quit.  Sure, they didn't need to win, but he said they wouldn't rest their starters and he had his players talking about how they wanted to win every game.  And then they played like that.  A lot of fans want Pagano fired right now, but let's hold off on all the doom and gloom stuff after just one game.  But it's really hard to ignore the fact that this team's effort today was absolutely not acceptable and that the team looked like they quit on Pagano.  That's not a good look, especially in a nationally televised late afternoon game.
  • I hope you don't believe in momentum, because the Colts won't have much of it going into the playoffs in two weeks.  The Colts fell to 10-5 on the season.  Oh, and the Colts have lost to the five best offenses they've faced this year.  But they'll host a playoff game, and based on today, it looks like that's good enough for the Colts.