There has been a constant theme so far this season for the Indianapolis Colts in each of their four games: almost.
In week one, the Colts almost won after mounting a comeback and after Andrew Luck put them ahead with under a minute left to play... but the defense allowed a Lions game-winning score on the following drive.
In week two, the Colts almost won it after another comeback attempt against the Broncos and had the ball down one score with just a few minutes left... but a Von Miller strip-sack recovered for a Broncos touchdown put an end to it.
In week three, the Colts actually turned the almost into a victory, but it wasn’t easy - this time, the Colts’ comeback attempt worked as Luck hit T.Y. Hilton for a 63-yard score with just over a minute left to play to defeat the Chargers.
In week four, the Colts mounted another big comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars and almost pulled it out, but like in week two, it fell just short after the team failed on a fourth down conversion late in the game while driving for a tying or winning score.
It’s been a season of almosts, and the guy who has the most right to be frustrated with it was certainly feeling that way after Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars in London.
“Tired of almosts,” Andrew Luck said. “We want to win. Colts expect - it's a winning culture - expect wins and it doesn't just happen when you trot out on the field. It starts with practice and the sort of work hours and we can go back and improve and make it happen.”
The Colts’ offensive line, Luck said, wasn’t perfect but they fought their butts off and did well enough to win. They ran the ball well early on too, Luck said, but the Colts didn’t take advantage of it. “So a lot of almosts,” he said, “and almosts are never good enough in this league and we’ve got to get better.”
It was as frustrated as the Colts quarterback has seemed in a while, perhaps since he’s arrived in Indianapolis, and it’s clear that he’s getting tired of the shortcomings. He didn’t get into finger pointing and, in typical Luck fashion, insisted that getting things fixed starts with him. But make no mistake, he’s getting tired of the almosts and tired of the losing.
“Lack of focus, bad ball,” Luck said of the offensive miscues. “It's not on one person. It's on the unit. Sloppy and it has to be fixed. We know that. You overcome it in some games, you don't in others. We've got to be more professional, I think, in a sense, as players, and understand our role, our job, and do our job and the positive thing is I think we can. I think we can, but it's certainly something that has to be fixed. It's pretty obvious to anybody who watches the game.”
What did Luck mean by saying the Colts need to be more professional?
“[It’s because of] sloppiness,” Luck said. “I think professionals play well and sharp in every game, especially a division game. And it starts with me. I’ve got to play better. So it's more of a word for playing better, playing sharper. It's a word that came to mind.”
On Sunday, that sloppiness was on full display. The Colts’ receivers dropped five passes, the Colts’ offensive line allowed six sacks, the Colts’ defense allowed the best day of the season to the Jaguars’ offense, and even Andrew Luck missed some plays.
“Dropped balls are no fun in any game,” Luck said. “It's not just dropped balls. It's missed throws, it's inaccurate throws, it's not a great pocket, whatever. There's a lot of things that we were just not sharp at and we have to be sharper and it's pretty simple.”
Because of the almosts, the Colts are now 1-3 and need to regroup and refocus if they want to salvage their season. So far, it has been a disaster, and their franchise quarterback was as pissed off as ever after the game on Sunday. But as we know, Luck will get back to work trying to get things fixed, and he’s still confident they can do so.
“I don't want to make this more than what it is. It was a loss,” Luck said. “And we didn't play well. So we'll go back and fix what we need to fix. We've got really good football players in that locker room. Really good coaches. A great culture. And we'll be all right. We'll be all right. This does not feel good and it shouldn't. We lost.”