The Indianapolis Colts fell to 1-3 on the season with a 30-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars today in London.
The Colts played a bad football game, but like we’ve seen so often in the Andrew Luck era they made a fourth quarter comeback. Through the first three quarters, the only points the Colts scored were two Adam Vinatieri field goals. Then early in the fourth quarter, Frank Gore added a one-yard touchdown run. A few minutes later, Andrew Luck hit T.Y. Hilton for a two-yard score. And then after the Jaguars scored on a 42-yard touchdown (thanks to a huge missed tackle by the Colts), Luck hit a wide-open Phillip Dorsett for a 64-yard score. The Colts defense forced a three-and-out, and then the Colts began to move the ball before a fourth-and-one stop on a pass intended for Dwayne Allen. Give a lot of credit to the Colts for making the comeback and making the game competitive, but it was a bad game overall from the team.
Sure, we can attribute some of it due to the fact that they were playing in London on a completely different schedule than usual. After all, we’ve seen plenty of ugly games from teams in London before. But how many excuses do the Colts get? In week one, it was, “yeah the defense sucked, but the offense was good and the defense was injured!” Then in week two, it was, “yeah the Colts didn’t look good, but it was against the defending Super Bowl champs and the league’s best defense!” Then in week three, it was, “yeah, that game was ugly, but at least the Colts won!” And now in week four, it’s, “yeah, that was an awful performance, but they were playing in London, after all!” Notice the commonality in all four of those? The Colts playing bad football. So maybe, just maybe, they’re a bad team.
And what on Sunday suggested otherwise? The offense dropped five passes (with Josh Ferguson, Dwayne Allen, Frank Gore, Chester Rogers, and Phillip Dorsett the guilty players). The offensive line struggled to protect Andrew Luck, allowing six sacks and 13 quarterback hits. Much of the passing game was limited to checkdowns and short routes, as the Jaguars did a solid job in coverage. The defense allowed the Jaguars to march all over them - even though the Jaguars hadn’t been good offensively in the first three games this year. For example? The Jaguars were averaging 18 points per game and 317.3 yards per game in the first three weeks. Today, they scored 30 points and gained 331 yards. The Jaguars were the 31st-ranked rushing offense in the NFL in averaging 55 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry. Today, they rushed for 136 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per rush. The penalties for the Colts were ugly, too: a stupid shove out of bounds, a dumb dive on the pile, etc. Heck, the Colts basically gifted the Jaguars three points on the final drive of the first half due to penalties.
To be sure, Andrew Luck and the offense got going late, like most people expected them to. After all, we’ve seen it happen over and over again, as the Colts start slow and then make a comeback. But today the Colts were just too bad an in too big of a hole for Luck to be able to pull them out of, especially after the defense gave up a crushing 42-yard score with 5:03 left in the game to make it a ten-point game. And, to give credit where it’s due, Frank Gore had a really nice game both rushing and receiving (besides for his drop). And Adam Vinatieri was once again automatic. But the Colts as a whole just weren’t good today, and though they made it more competitive at the end, that shouldn’t mask over their issues (though for some in the Indianapolis media, it will).
In short, it was a really, really ugly performance by the Colts on Sunday morning, and now they’ll have a long flight back to Indianapolis to contemplate the game. They’re 1-3 on the season now and once again in danger of the season slipping away. They will host the Chicago Bears next week, once again desperate for a win. Same old story, week after week. Maybe it’s just as simple as this: the Colts aren’t a good football team.