The Indianapolis Colts franchise and its fan base entered the 2020 season with high expectations. Jacoby Brissett was replaced by a borderline Hall of Fame quarterback late in his career. All Pro DeForest Buckner was added to a defensive line that was considered a strength of the franchise for the first time in a very long time.
Yet, the global COVID-19 pandemic threw off everything in the offseason, and the Colts never looked cohesive. The offense had a game plan that was impacted when starting running back Marlon Mack left with an injury that could cost him the season. Jonathan Taylor was clearly not a big part of the offensive game plan in the first game of his career, which isn’t particularly surprising for a backfield that has a ton of experience playing ahead of him.
The defensive line didn’t thrive against a maligned Jaguars offensive line. An undrafted rookie running back looked strong in his first NFL action. Gardner Minshew had a solid command of the Jags' offense, and the Colts secondary was a cause for concern. Xavier Rhodes wasn’t particularly impressive. Rock Ya-Sin wasn’t particularly good, either, and the linebackers were out of position in short zones.
The expectation in a game like this one is that the Colts defensive line would be dominant, the Colts defense would be opportunistic, the Colts offensive line would destroy a defensive line that has undergone considerable turnover, and the Colts receivers would burn a young secondary.
None of that happened.
Philip Rivers looked like he was out of sync with his receivers. His bad reads and decisions led to the kind turnovers that have kept Colts fans up late at night worrying about in the offseason.
With all of this said, there is very little to take away from this game. Next week, it is likely Jonathan Taylor will be the primary weapon out of the backfield. Rivers and his receivers will have at least seen a live defense respond and have a chance to adjust accordingly. The defensive line and linebackers will have had a chance to play against a live opponent.
Our very out Chris Shepherd predicted ahead of this game that Colts fans would overreact to the outcome of this game - no matter which direction things went. There is no doubt at this point that he is right. In three weeks, neither the Colts nor the Jaguars will look anything like they did in a pandemic-affected Week 1.
Still, for those who are upset or are panicking, this is a frustrating trend to continue. The Colts had a chance to bury a horrible football team on the road, in the division. Instead, the Colts have started behind the eight ball in the division (again), need to regroup and recover, and have left fans to call for the heads of coaches and players way before any of that makes sense.