I'm going to raise and dismiss this off the bat. Let's be real, too much is being made about that fake punt fiasco and way too much of the blame is being placed on Pagano. If run correctly, that's a great, bold play call that works quite well and likely gets the Colts a first down, if not more. When run incorrectly, well, we all saw what happened. In that situation, wide receiver/backup center Griff Whalen should have never snapped the ball. I'm certain the coaching staff went over this scenario in practice. If you have more than one or two guys over you, don't snap it. Griff obviously did and Colt Anderson took a beating. The bad play call blame I actually place on the players, not the coaching staff. As a side, Griff may deserve a shot at starting center. I mean, he at least slowed down the guys going towards Anderson, which is better than Khaled Holmes has done.
Next little venting point for me is how bad the officials are and how often they refuse to correct a call when it's clear they got it wrong. The play that I've yet to see on any highlight show or have any analyst question was the officials inexplicably calling the Colts successful onside kick New England's ball despite Donte Moncrief clearly recovering it. I thought Pagano made a great challenge as several angles showed the Patriots offensive lineman never had possession of the ball, unless ball rolling around under a hip is now considered possession. Then it showed Moncrief very clearly securing the ball and coming out of the pile with it. I have no idea how the referee said there was no clear recovery. I mean, how much more clear do they want? Also, it's beyond me to believe that if the New England offensive lineman actually had the ball, how does a not nearly as strong wide receiver muscle the ball away from him? Every week NFL officials screw something major up. In this instance it cost the Colts at least 7 points, since New England scored on the drive, and possibly a 10-14 point swing overall.
Moving on to the actual players, Luck just doesn't look right. He missed some "easy" throws Sunday night. I've had a shoulder injury before and when I threw anything, it always sailed on me. My guess is Luck's shoulder isn't anywhere near 100%. If it is, then there's some major coaching concerns since Luck is clearly not developing like he should be. I'm chalking this up to injury but it's worth monitoring in the future.
As for coaching up players, why has the offensive line coach not been replaced or at least taken any heat? The offensive lineman are figuratively killing this team. Every time there's a great run, there's a holding call. Every time there's a great pass down field, there's a holding call. Every time they line up, there's a holding call. This can be attributed to two things: either a lack of talent (which falls directly on Grigson) or a lack of technique (which falls on the offensive line coach). First, Grigson has been beyond terrible at evaluating offensive line talent. Thankfully, Jack Mewhort has settled back into his spot at Left Guard, otherwise, Grigson would be even worse off. The other guys have been putrid and even normally reliable Anthony Castanzo was off his game this weekend. That all being said, the technique is just lacking. You teach offensive lineman to get their hands inside the shoulder pads and guide defenders. The Colts are literally bear hugging rushers. It's becoming sadly comical to watch.
I was glad to see Frank Gore running well again last night. I was pretty shocked the team went away from what was working in the second half when they were only down 27-21. It was like the coaching staff panicked and prayed Luck could will them to a win.
The defense actually played surprisingly well in this game. They didn't allow the Pats to put up a bajillion points. But more importantly, they kept the New England running game generally in check. Aside from the big LeGarrette Blount run after the Colts successfully un-recovered onside kick, the Colts defense limited New England RBs to about 3.25 yards per carry. I'll take that any day against the Patriots. It's really amazing the difference Henry Anderson, Kendall Langford and David Parry are making up front.
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