The Simple: Colts just 121 net yards of offense
Where to start. This was the reason the Colts lost, and the reason why Frank Reich is now currently out of a job in the NFL. The offense got just 121 net yards on total offense on Sunday, the same week they fired their offensive coordinator, and against a Patriots’ defense that has not been particularly dominant this season (I mean the Bears put 33 on them at Foxborough). Sam Ehlinger could not do anything with at least two guys in his face consistently throughout the day, Deon Jackson and the running backs had no room at all to run, and the receivers were just not open at all. This was most likely the worst showing I have ever witnessed from a Colts’ offense, and every single week I think “Okay not like it can get any worse than this”, and yet week after week it somehow does.
The Complicated: Allowed 9 sacks, failed to score a touchdown for the third time this season, 0-14 on third downs, two special team’s mistakes.
“I do feel like our protection has been pretty good the last few weeks,” Reich said. “The run game last week was better. Not where we want it to be. We’ve had the changing dynamics there. Do we have to play better? Yes. Are we headed in the right direction? I do feel like we are.” This was said right after the firing of Marcus Brady, so watching the offensive line play perhaps their worst game of the season right after you claimed they were consistently improving has to be a tough look. You just cannot allow that much pressure and expect your offense to run smoothly.
The Colts had failed to score a touchdown just once in the past 4 seasons before this one (0-6 shutout loss against Jacksonville in Duval), yet this season there have now been 3 games where that happened. Simply inexcusable.
The Colts’ offense was also abysmal on third downs, a common trend this season, but on Sunday it reached a whole another level of incompetence, not converting on all their 14 third down attempts. What was a strength of Frank Reich offenses in the past few years has been a glaring weakness this season.
Another reason the Colts lost (but not nearly close to being the main one) is because of the two special team’s mistakes made on the day. There was a missed 39-yard field goal by McLoughlin when the game was still within reach and a blocked punt by the Patriots downed at the 3-yard line that resulted in an easy touchdown for New England. When your offense is just so bad, you cannot afford your special team’s unit making two key mistakes.