clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Colts are 5-3 Again

Wanna talk about it? I’ll be your Huckleberry.

Baltimore Ravens v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Wear a mask! COVID-19 is real! Social distance, work from home if able and be more situationally aware!

I’ve been seeing a lot of those videos lately where the subject is stating that they’ve “had it” or are at their limit about a given subject and I can assure you that that is almost never the case. They “have it” all the time. Whatever it is, it lives in their head rent-free. I would even give you all specific examples, but I think we both know you will let everyone know what that is for you in the comment section below. Hint for new readers: They always do.

This is my “I’ve had it” article.

Clearly, I have not “had it” as I am not currently yelling at my phone in public for clout on the Internet. Instead, I’m typing this in my office during a break at work. In case you did not know, I am an AllState Agent and I own my own agency. I work from home and I am currently in the early business development stages. I can write policy, but I’m still getting my bearings. If you need me, you can find me. That is all I’ll say about that for now. Wish me luck!

I write about 1-2 of these style of articles per year. It is currently Monday afternoon and I’ve just opined at length in a Slack chat that awoke my best friend and Our Glorious Rul-editor Brett who replied, “write it up”. So here we are.

Allow me to set the table.

The Colts are 5-3 and sitting squarely behind the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South at the halfway point of the 2020 regular season. You know, the one where the offseason, nay, 2020 is FUBAR? You know, the one where there were no preseason games and how professional athletes have led the way on wearing masks, social distancing and have limited the spread of COVID19 within their organizations by doing these things? Please do not come at me on “such and such got it”. The infection rate in the NFL and NBA versus the rest of America is incomparable and you are not armed for that conflict.

So not only are we in the middle of a recession not seen since the Great Depression, a pandemic the likes the world has NEVER before seen (I said the world) and the largest civil rights protest since 1968, COVID-19 has changed the way organizations are run and are effecting things like practice. I understand that you think these things have no effect on you, the world around you, and my favorite, “these rich, entitled, spoiled professional athletes should just shut up and dribble”. Until you are willing to acknowledge that we are living in the strangest timeline and that football players don’t dribble, this is going to be a rough ride for you. I’m just letting you know this now.

Jump ship before you get sucked in.

First, if you remove Philip Rivers from the equation, the Colts are one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Second, we can agree that even BELOVED Jacoby Brissett is suboptimal in this offense, and also… presented without necessary evidence, so is Jacob Eason! Tracking? If I told you, random reader, that I was also going to bring ANOTHER person and in that, albeit a veteran NFL quarterback possibly and apparently past his prime, would you be surprised if Philip Rivers, the man, the myth, the legend, wasn’t ideal for this offensive system either, but that he’s head and shoulders better than what we have or what else was available for acquisition?

Can we agree on those two points? Jacoby is suboptimal in this offense and so is Philip Rivers.

Then we are going to get along swimmingly. Who knew the man with like a dozen legitimate children would have a problem scoring? Seriously, how were any of us to know that would be the case? Lots of weapons, an outstanding defense, special teams and offensive line, a wonderful organization… the man has it all if he comes here, right?

Can we agree Philip Rivers has issues that can’t be fixed?

First, Philip Rivers is old and slow. He can’t fight, fly or crow (I’d argue he can crow). There, I said it. You know what else? He has this weird release that is beloved by some, sure, but have you ever heard an actual quarterback talk about his release? It me.

I hate it! His mechanics leave a ton to be desired and it isn’t just that he shot-puts the ball like a nervous middle schooler, either. He can ONLY throw while his feet are planted OR he’s running at full speed. There is no happy medium. He can get the ball out quickly and accurately in the short to midrange at an elite level, but if the play breaks down AT ALL, he doesn’t just get Peyton’s “happy feet”, he tends to put the ball and himself at risk and it’s basically because he’s a statue.

If Jacoby turned the ball over this much through 8 games, he’d have wound up on the bench and we all need to acknowledge that.

Last year was a tryout for Jacoby and ultimately, he was too conservative with the football. We punted a lot and put a lot of pressure on our aging kicker to save us as a result. Did you know the Colts were also 5-3 through their first 8 games last year? Not only do the Colts have the same record, but they also average about 4 more points a game on offense this year than they did last year. They are about 10% more likely to score, too, though, so there is promise yet! SMDH.

Beyond all these things, let’s talk about injuries and consistency.

I harp on these things. Look, Tom Brady isn’t the GOAT. He’s been consistently above average, though, AND he has been healthy all but one season of an over 20-year career. Last night was NOT it, obviously, but understand what kind of value a guy that plays every Sunday and consistently above average brings to a team. Can we admit that there is a high likelihood that since Philip Rivers has become a Colt, the offensive players he has thrown the most live balls in practice to are TY Hilton and Parris Campbell? Additionally, Marlon Mack is good at running back and he’s out for the season. None of those three players have played meaningful minutes at all this season. I say this with the utmost respect. I think TY Hilton’s kryptonite is physical play from the secondary and he’s been banged up basically all year. These are not things to argue about. Our best receivers and best running back have not been producing or playing.

Still with me?

So far, we’ve agreed that, in no particular order:

-Wear a mask! COVID-19 is real! Social distance, work from home, be more situationally aware!

-2020 has been a crazy, life-changing year for everyone and the Colts are no different!

-The QB room is holding the Colts back at this point partly because they are not ideal candidates to run the style of offense the Colts run.

-The Colts are considerably better on offense this year even while missing three very important players.

-The Colts are 5-3, the same spot they were in through 8 games in 2019, albeit with a considerably better offense and defense.

Now that we all agree on these inarguable points, let’s talk about why the Colts lost to the Ravens on Sunday. I said on the latest episode of Afternoon Pancakes (the weekly podcast I host with every Stampede Blue fan’s favorite writer, Stephen Reed, and you can find us on Twitter.com/podpancake or anywhere you find your podcasts by searching for Afternoon Pancakes), that the Ravens and Colts are basically the same football team, it’s just that Baltimore is the best rushing offense in the NFL and the Colts are above average in the passing game. The Ravens always have a great defense, great coaching, high quality players and are even great at drafting! In addition to being one of the best organizations in the NFL at drafting and playing football, a few years ago every other team in the NFL made the biggest and most racist mistake to date (maybe the 2nd biggest mistake behind why didn’t your franchise trade everything for Patrick Mahomes) by passing on Lamar Jackson in the draft. Literally, he was even passed up by Baltimore, who drafted Hayden Hurst (who is now an Atlanta Falcon so about that) over Lamar. Lamar Jackson was the most electric quarterback prospect in his draft class AND that I have ever seen in my life and I’ve been watching college football consistently for more than 20 years. Ask me why organizations wanted Lamar to do drills at running back and wide receiver. Ask me why even Baltimore had to pick another player first before they picked a Black quarterback. You probably don’t want to know the answer to that or are willfully ignorant, so here you go. There is a stigma on Black quarterbacks that they are great in the regular season and fold under pressure, particularly in the Playoffs. I would like to insert Patrick Mahomes here and destroy that entire argument but keep that in mind. Did I mention the Ravens draft very well?

Think about it, towards the end of Joe Flacco’s time in Baltimore, he had basically become a statue and a liability if the play breaks down. The NFL is getting faster and teams are choosing speed over everything. Not only is Baltimore a class operation, they also got the gift of a lifetime in Lamar Jackson. Sure, he can be limited if you take away the run and make him throw. He didn’t look very limited Sunday going 19-23 or completing 82.6% of his passes because the Colts sold out to stop the run (and failed) and let Lamar set and throw all afternoon.

In addition to all of that, there are 5 plays in this past game that broke it open and I’d argue that at a certain point, it’s obvious this isn’t the week for us and it’s not worth endangering our players further, so let’s water down this offense or more specifically “let’s run our offense”. Meaning no sense of urgency, no hurry-up, no no-huddle, just go back out there and see what you can make happen. On paper, it’s going to look like the Colts kinda did what they wanted on offense, too. That’s because they got down two scores and had the ball in garbage time.

These are presented in no particular order. First, there’s the cheap shot to the head on Jack Doyle. He’s in concussion protocol today. Watch the tape. That is a shot on a defenseless receiver and I’m not taking questions about it or arguing. It looks like it was intentional. Second, there’s the cheap shot on Darius Leonard by Nick Boyle. I saw you, you gutless thug. Third, there’s a late hit on Rivers in the second half that didn’t get called. Normally, in a football game, these are called penalties, especially at home. Remember how I told you have a podcast? You know what I said about Baltimore on my podcast? The Ravens commit more penalties than the Colts and are undisciplined. Did they get called for these penalties Sunday? No.

Do you see how this is a problem for the Colts? You can’t do anything about it right after it has happened. You know what you can do? Spread the ball around and try to not create a predictable target for the defense. You see how this is difficult to do in a football game? Do you still wonder why the Colts did not record a rushing attempt in the 3rd quarter? Is this statistical anomaly not ringing the alarm inside your brain? Was it really circumstantial, or at what point in a sporting event do you realize the Colts win that game in a fair fight, don’t need to win that game to achieve our organizational goal of making the Playoffs, and can just let it go? What player would you sacrifice to win that game? You can’t answer that, can you?

Then, there’s the fumble by Jonathan Taylor. I’m not even going to argue (again) that it wasn’t actually a fumble. I did that already. I have not seen the reverse angle yet and can’t tell you for certain. He’s basically had 300 touches in 8 games and this is his first career fumble, so shut up, Terry. It only took 8 games!? If he fumbles twice a year and also continues to be good for about 5 yards a carry, he’s going to the Hall of Fame. Let’s take a look at a Colts favorite running back in Frank Gore. He played 15 seasons, was never told that he had a fumbling problem, and finished his career with 46 total fumbles (or 3 per season). See? Do you want me to keep going?

Lastly, let’s talk about that interception by Philip Rivers, shall we? What is even “control of the football”? Answer this question honestly. If I showed you the slow-motion video of JUST THE BALL IN THE MARCUS PETERS’ HANDS ON THE WAY DOWN, would you say, “he caught that pass”? No. You would not say that. Now, if I panned out and said “Okay, now check out the whole shot.” You would have questions at the very least.

There. I think that’s it. Congratulations, America. I mean, thank you for voting.