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Three things we learned from the Colts' loss to the Saints

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The Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints 27-21 on Sunday. Here are three things we learned.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints 27-21 on Sunday.  What did we learn from the game?  Here are three takeaways (and we're using the team "learn" loosely):

What's wrong with Andrew Luck?

The Colts have had a lot of issues this year, but the most notable and concerning one has been the struggles of quarterback Andrew Luck.  It is the most notable because, well, when Luck struggles the team struggles, and it's the most concerning because Luck is the Colts' franchise quarterback.  He simply hasn't been that good this year - completing 118 of 210 passes (56.2%) for 1,398 yards (6.7 yards per attempt), 11 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions for a passer rating of 76.3.  He's had stretches of playing well - such as the fourth quarter of the Titans game or the first quarter of the Patriots game - but they have been few and far between.  The majority of the time, Luck looks rattled, confused, uncertain, unconfident, and errant.  A lot of his passes have sailed on him, he hasn't come off of his first read like he has in the past, and he's made some really stupid decisions - some of which have resulted in turnovers.  So what's wrong with him?  That's a great question, and it's one that we don't really have an answer to right now.  Many people think he's still dealing with an injury.  Perhaps that's the case.  Others think he's rattled by the pressure coming through the line and coming with the massive expectations on the team and the uncertainty regarding his coach.  That could be it as well.  Still others think the coaching staff shares the blame for not helping Luck develop.  Once again, maybe that's part of it.  At this point, though, we don't know what's wrong with Luck.  This is something no one expected, but he has regressed this year.  And until the Colts and Luck get it figured out, this offense will continue to struggle with inconsistency, just like their quarterback does.

Pat McAfee is still awesome

If there was one overwhelming positive from Sunday's game, it was this: punter Pat McAfee.  We have long known that, regardless of how the Colts are doing, McAfee is still consistently good, and that was true again on Sunday.  McAfee punted a career-high 10 times, averaging 51.7 yards per punt with a long of 61, pinning a punt inside the 20 yard line and recording one touchback.  That's in addition to his duties as the team's kickoff specialist, field goal holder, and onside kick specialist - as he had a perfect onside attempt that should have been grabbed by the Colts but wasn't.  Still, McAfee's 51.7 yard average was the 13th-highest single-game total of his career (112 career games), and he was once again fantastic on Sunday, showing why he's the best special teams player in the NFL.  On his ten punts, the Saints took over on average at their own 23.1 yard line.  So the Saints had to go, on average, 76.9 yards for a touchdown after every punt.  The overall field position game was hurt by three turnovers and a lost onside kick, but McAfee certainly did his part.

Maybe the Colts just aren't that good

This might be hard to fathom, but let me raise this point: maybe the Colts just aren't that good.  Yes, they're better than what they've shown so far this season, but maybe they're just not as good as everyone thought they were.  This team entered the season with Super Bowl expectations, were supposed to have an electric offense, and were supposed to contend with the Patriots for the AFC title.  So far, through seven games, they haven't been close to any of that.  Could it be that they're just not that good?  The common question has been how to fix the Colts, and I absolutely think that they can be better than they have been, can win the AFC South, and could be better come playoff time.  But I don't think they're that good of a football team.  They haven't been for a few years, but Andrew Luck covers over those issues, and this year he's been among the biggest problems.  Maybe the Colts will get things turned around and fixed and start to play very well behind their franchise quarterback once again.  But maybe, just maybe, the Colts actually aren't that good.