The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Denver Broncos this afternoon 34-20, dropping to 0-2 to start the year for the third straight season.
Today’s loss for Indianapolis was the opposite of last week’s loss in this sense: last week, it was due to the defense. This week, it was due to the offense. The offense managed just 253 yards on 66 plays, averaging just 3.8 yards per play today. That’s not good, and Andrew Luck was a big part of the problem today. A week ago, Luck played as well as I’ve seen him play with the Colts; today, Luck played as poorly as I’ve seen him play with the Colts. His accuracy was off all game, as he sailed several passes high and just looked to be off on his timing with his receivers overall. To be honest, Luck’s biggest impact on the day came from his legs: both his ability to move around in the pocket to buy time and his 21 yard run to pick up a 3rd and 20 conversion. He also converted another third down via a run, and he drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on the slide to add to it. It was a very rough outing from the Colts offense, as Luck threw a pick-six and then was strip-sacked by Von Miller with the game on the line (the Broncos returned that for a touchdown too). Luck averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt, which was the third-lowest in a single-game in his career, and his completion percentage (52.5%), yards (197), and passer rating (64.3) are closer to the bottom of the list than they are to the top.
While Luck was bad today, the rest of the offense didn’t give him much help either.. The offensive line wasn’t as good as they were a week ago, and Joe Reitz in particular seemd to have a really tough game. The receivers struggled to get open at times, too, and a further concern for Indy is the fact that Donte Moncrief was injured early on and didn’t return - exposing a very thin receiver group for the Colts made up of T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett, Chester Rogers, and Quan Bray. Likewise, the run game really didn’t get much going whatsoever in today’s game. And here’s perhaps the biggest problem of them all: without trying to excuse Luck from blame (because he deserves plenty), the Colts are basically expecting and asking him to be perfect. So when Luck struggles, the Colts struggle. It’s as simple as that. Luck has to do a ton, and when he has a day like today when he has some miscues trying to do so, it can get ugly.
The Colts did get their offense going more in the second half than they did in the first half (which really isn’t saying anything), but overall they needed to play better. The defense actually gave up less touchdowns than the offense did (the defense allowed one touchdown to the Broncos; the offense allowed two touchdowns to the Broncos) and the defense held the Broncos when they needed to, which was about all they could have reasonably expected the unit to do. Sure, the Colts were facing the league’s best defense, but their offense still needs to play better than they did today.
The Colts are now 0-2 on the year, and it’s even worse than that: they are just 2-8 in the first two weeks of a season under Chuck Pagano (five seasons). It is the third straight year in which they have started 0-2, which certainly isn’t ideal. With the Houston Texans improving to 2-0 today, it becomes an even bigger deal. The Colts certainly aren’t out of it and it’s a long season, but they just keep digging themselves into holes. In last week’s loss the defense was to blame, and in today’s loss the offense was to blame. Maybe it’s time to just admit what seems obvious: the Colts just aren’t that good of a football team.