A disappointing start to the Indianapolis Colts regular season
Just because Vegas says so, doesn’t mean it is so. Case in point, the Colt’s disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. Because although the betting world favored the Colts by 2.5 points, the boys from Buffalo showed up at Ralph Wilson Stadium not only to beat the odds, but also to destroy one of this year’s early favorites for a Super Bowl bid.
“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us,” said Colts coach Chuck Pagano. And one of those biggest everythings, was a trick play to start the game.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor — instead of lining up behind the center where he later proved he belonged — took to the line of scrimmage as a receiver and let the 11-year veteran Matt Cassel take the snap. Cassel then faked a handoff to Taylor and placed the ball in running back LeSean McCoy’s hands. But the play didn’t turn out to be tricky enough to get past Colts Defensive End Kendall Langford who stopped McCoy for a six-yard loss. So far so good, at least for the Colts and for anyone who took the odds on favorite.
Lousy first half sets a second-rate performance
Unfortunately, the tables turned quickly against the Colts. Quarterback Andrew Luck had a second-rate first half throwing an interception and completing only 11 of 23 passes, the ever-dependable Adam Vinatieri missed a 52-yard field goal, and running back Frank Gore carried the ball eight times for a lousy 31 yards.
On the other side of the field, the grass was definitely greener with Taylor connecting on 9 of 11 passes for 147 yards. Going into the locker room at half, the Bills would lead the off-kilter Colts 17-0.
So why such a lack-luster performance from a team stacked with talent and poised for another successful season? The answer, like any answer, depends on who you ask but in reality was a combination of things.
Under-coached, overestimated, and outplayed
When it comes to coaches, off the field everyone loves Pagano. But if he doesn’t find a way to reel in his team and spark some offense, off the field might be the only place Colts fans want to see him. Good thing is, he seems to recognize this and isn’t afraid to take responsibility for his team’s poor showing and inability to advance the ball.
“That’s on me,” said Pagano when commenting on their continual poor field position this past weekend. “We’ve got to coach (them) up better. We’ve got to do a better job in that area.”
As for being overestimated, that too — as hard as of a pill as it might be to swallow — is also a possibility. Perhaps the preseason predictions that placed the Colts on the elite list were too lofty? Perhaps, but on paper it’s hard to argue against this team’s prowess. But hey, these guys are professionals and surly one loss isn’t going to be enough to collapse their ambition even if it was a pretty ugly loss according not only to everyone that watched, but also to Luck.
“They beat us pretty bad,” Luck said. “You don’t let one game necessarily define you, but that doesn’t make it any easier of a pill to swallow.”
All in all, when it comes right down to it, the Colts were outplayed this last Sunday. They were, along with their fans, blindsided. But while everyone is reeling for excuses and trying to evaluate every last play of the game, it was just one game. And although an 0-1 start isn’t where anyone wants to be, it’s a small penalty worth taking now — so long that is, as the rest of the season stacks up against those Vegas odds.
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