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Colts 2016 season in review: Week one loss to the Lions

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

As part of our look back at the 2016 season for the Indianapolis Colts, we’re taking a look at each game the team played this season. We know that won’t be the most fun experience for Colts fans, but we’re taking a look back at each game within the context of the entire season. Today, we start with the week one loss to the Lions:

What Happened:

The season opener featured a matchup between two good quarterbacks and two good offenses, but it was Detroit that showed up early. They jumped out to a 21-3 lead on the Colts before Andrew Luck led Indy on a much-needed drive to get a score with just seconds remaining in the first half to enter halftime down 21-10. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, and Detroit entered the final period up 28-18. Then Adam Vinatieri hit a field goal and Andrew Luck hit Jack Doyle for a touchdown, however, and the game was tied at 28. Matthew Stafford then connected with Theo Riddick for the go-ahead score with just over four minutes left, but Matt Prater missed the extra point. That paved the way for the Colts to take a lead with a touchdown and a successful extra point, which they did with less than a minute remaining in the game as Luck hit Doyle again, putting the Colts up 35-34. A close win for the Colts, right? Wrong. The Lions quickly moved down the field and into field goal range for Prater to hit a 43-yard kick with just seconds remaining. On the final kickoff, as the Colts made several laterals out of desperation, the Lions added a safety to make the final score 39-35. The Colts were 0-1.

What We Said at the Time:

“It was a tough loss for the Colts, but the encouraging news is that Andrew Luck is back and looks like Andrew Luck. He was phenomenal, and if he can replicate that moving forward he’s in for one heck of a season. Hopefully, the Colts defense steps it up a bit in future games.”

What We’re Saying Now:

On the positive side for the Colts, Andrew Luck did replicate that performance moving forward and he did have a heck of a season. But on the negative side, the defense didn’t really step it up that much in future games. The game was actually a pretty good representation of the season for the Colts: a good offense and a bad defense with the team falling just short. That’s what happened all year, as Indy had a top-ten offense and one of the worst defenses in the league. Looking back on that game now, it proved to be a costly loss. It was within the Colts’ grasp, but they let the lead slip away at the end. It wasn’t the first time they would do that this season, either, and the Lions game was one of total frustration. The offense put up 35 points - their second-highest point total of the season - and put the team up in the final minute, yet still lost at home (albeit to a team that wound up making the playoffs). It got the season started on a sour note, and that sour taste wouldn’t really leave fans’ mouths all year.