We’ve been hearing from Colts officials about getting off to a better start this season than in seasons past, since last season ended and... well... a loss is worse than a tie so:
There’s a to digest from this game, some good, a lot bad. Let’s jump in to the first quarter and see what shakes out.
Gus Bradley Started Hot
The Colts and Houston Texans traded three and out’s to start the game.
Michael Pittman Jr. is in for a big year
His first catch of the season went for 17 yards and a first down. Matt Ryan leaned on MPJ all day long.
At least this one went well
Mike Strachan made a couple of appearances
The second year pro made the most of his opportunities and could be seen giving good effort blocking, throughout the game.
A sign of things to come
Jonathan Taylor is so much fun to watch. You can say whatever you want about the modern NFL and the value of running backs, but JT is great to watch.
Things did not start well in the 2nd
If you look around the NFL today you won’t see very many rookie receivers who came out and played big roles for their team but Alec Pierce had an opportunity to do just that. Instead Pierce ran a great route, got separation and then dropped what would have been his first career touchdown reception. This was disappointing but if you’re concerned you should probably remember how many people were convinced Jonathan Taylor was a bust after his first 6 games in the NFL.
Things continued to go poorly
Play calling got cute. Wish they just would have put it in JT's gut but had this play worked I'd be the first guy to call Reich a genius. Maybe it's good to get these worked out in week one. #Colts#ForTheShoe#Texans#INDvsHOU pic.twitter.com/Fsg26si9KJ— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 11, 2022
You don’t need analysis here, draw your own conclusions. You’ll probably be right.
Bernhard Raimann is being prepped to take over at LT
I’ll go ahead and toot my own horn on this one. I noticed Raimann subbing in during the second quarter. The big media guys seemed to catch on in the third quarter. I saw some people show concern that rotating your left tackle isn’t a good sign and I disagree.
It would be one thing if either Raimann or Matt Pryor played poorly and were then benched in favor of the other. Instead both went more or less unnoticed- which is why most people watching the game didn’t realize they had been rotating until long after they started doing it.
This tells me they plan on Raimann taking over at left tackle sooner than later and are getting him experience without pulling the rug from under Pryor or destroying Raimann’s confidence if the rookie struggles and they need Pryor to step in. You can’t really “bench” a guy who is a rotational player. I like this approach.
I’ve Blocked This Out
After that punt
I think that’s all that happened in the third quarter.
Things started going better
Back when I thought Kickers were people
Turns out, they are not.
I may have been making a drink and missed a big turnover. The drink was needed.
It felt like the momentum was shifting
JT doing what he does best.
Most teams get down and abandon the run
The Colts embraced it.
Pittman is a guy, man.
Matt Ryan made the read and threw the ball to MPJ who did the rest of the work to get in the end zone to bring the Colts to within a point. The extra point evened things up one play later.
Two minutes later, regulation was over.
Kwity Paye made plays when it mattered
The Texans thought using a tight end to block Paye would be fine. It went fine for the Colts. Fortunately for the Colts Paye’s sack got back some of the yards that a kickoff out of bounds lost them. It was the second kick off out of bounds in the game, which is mind blowing.
With the spin move!
Kwity Paye with a sack off of a spin move back inside. The Colts only rushed three and Paye got home. In a game where the Colts pass rush struggled for the 3,000 game in a row, it was good to see Paye make these plays when it mattered most.
This play made me $85 so I’m including it
I had a five leg parlay bet, with five things that were almost sure to happen. I showed my brother (an actual gambler) the bet and he let me know that I wasn’t really gambling, what I was doing should be called investing. It’s true because I’ll never bet on Mo Alie-Cox to catch two passes ever again.
Kickers aren’t people
From the outside it’s easy to say that Blankenship needs to be cut, and I believe it’s true. He missed three kicks today. Who knows how different the game would be if Houston didn’t get the ball at the 40 yard line, twice? We do know that the Colts would have won had he not shanked this 41 yard field goal.
Look, Ballard and Reich probably aren’t going to cut him. They’ll probably want to use it as a way to rally around a teammate dealing with adversity. And they won’t be completely wrong for doing it. The argument that you shouldn’t have to rely on a kicker is real. The Colts squandered multiple touchdown scoring opportunities, even Reich’s decision to go for it on 4th and goal instead of taking an easy three points in the first half would have made a massive difference.
But the thing is, you have a kicker- a guy who specializes in doing one thing, so that you can rely on him to come in and make those 41 yard game winning kicks when the team needs him to. Further, if you’re asking him to kick off, you’re asking him to help win the field position battle and if he has multiple kicks going out of bounds he isn’t helping.
So if he isn’t helping win the field position battle and he’s not reliable to hit those 41 yarders when the team needs him to, well I’m going to need someone to explain to me what his job is, exactly. I would love to be able to not do 75% of my entire job and continue to get paid like I had done it all.
At least they didn’t lose.
There was some good, a lot of bad and a streak (sort of) ended. I feel like I type this every year but, it’s a long season. And yeah, I get that every game matters and not winning games early stinks. Especially when the team gave away so many opportunities to win the game outright. But if the Colts rattle off 10 wins in the next 14 games, how upset are any of us going to be? Conversely if the Colts go 8-8 the rest of the way and miss the playoffs by half of a game, then yeah everyone will understandably be upset about this game.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times; week one is always weird. Bad players look good, good teams look bad, we aren’t really going to know anything about anyone for the first month of the season and even then you never know when a 1-5 team might make a run and end up winning a playoff game.
So give it time, act like a reasonable adult and just enjoy the fact that it’s once again football season. Besides the Colts are currently tied for first place.