Is there anything left to say — that hasn’t been shouted from the rooftops — about this Indianapolis Colts squad? We continue to be baited in to believing in this team when holding fourth quarter leads only to be left feeling like Lucas Oil Stadium looked today — largely empty inside.
For example: up until the beginning of the Tennessee Titans final two possessions, the Colts had held their running game to 11 yards on the ground. All of that work through more than 3 quarters of football only to allow 81 rushing yards and a touchdown on the offense’s final 12 carries of the game.
Equally disheartening, the Colts came out at halftime with defensive stop and a 13-play possession, which probably should have earned a touchdown, only yielded a field goal from inside the red zone per the usual. But, at least the Colts looked to have maintained their defensive mindset and put points up on their first drive, right?
Well, all the Colts need to blow a second-half lead is time, and they came through again in similar fashion to the rest of the season. Through their final 4 possessions, the Colts never ran more than 5 plays and fumbled the ball inside their own 5 yard line ultimately gifting the Titans with 7 points. No rhythm, no protection, no accuracy and no leadership to get them back on track.
This is now the fourth time the Colts have been blanked in the fourth quarter through 11 games. In fact, the most the Colts have put up is 7 points and they’ve only done that once. The other 6 games you ask? Well, in 5 of those other 6 games the Colts have only put up a field goal in the final quarter — the other (Week 1 against the Rams) they put up 6 measly points.
Look, there are a ton of things wrong with this performance. The protection was weak at best, Jacoby Brissett was awful in many ways, there were some miscues in terms of execution and so on, but this team has no clue how to finish a game. The Colts have only lost the turnover battle twice this season, have a top-10 special teams unit and are stopping offenses on the ground for large portions of games, yet for some unknown reason they can’t figure out the game in the final 15 minutes or less.
I understand that Chuck Pagano getting the boot at this point in the season ultimately accomplishes nothing. But, there’s no reason for these systematic, pathetic, uninspiring and just downright embarrassing finishes with such consistency. If only on principle alone, 3 wins in a season with so many late-game leads deserves to be dealt with swiftly.