The Indianapolis Colts put on an embarrassing display Sunday. They failed to even attempt to show up against the Dallas Cowboys and would have been better off resting starters without any pretence.
With little to play for, the Colts laid an egg against the Cowboys who were playing for a division title. It was ugly, but there wasn’t much that we haven’t seen before.
More concerning is the struggles of the offense and perceived issues with Andrew Luck. If the Colts are going to have any hope in the playoffs, he’s going to have to find that level of play during the middle of the season where he was turnover free and throwing multiple touchdowns.
The 2014 Colts are no different than any other Colts team since 1998: utterly dependent on the play of the quarterback for success.
Here’s what stood out from Sunday:
- More Struggling. Its hard to pin the entire offensive failure on Luck, as he didn’t get any help and the team was down 14-0 before he even attempted a pass (there is not situation where Pat McAfee should have an attempt before Luck). His first interception was clearly a bad decision. Was he trying to throw it out of bounds or did he really think Coby Fleener would make an effort to prevent the catch? His second was tipped at the line, which is more on his linemen not engaging the defenders than Luck’s throw. It certainly doesn’t help that the offense was basically forced to being one dimensional for most of the game and pressing to get passes downfield.
- Line Woes. The offensive line is a mess. Injuries have decimated the right side of the line and changes at center haven’t helped matters. Khaled Holmes got the start but was underwhelming, especially when it came to pass blocking. The lack of continuity has certainly hurt this unit, and much of that is related to injury. But the coaches continue to tinker with the line and almost seem to actively seek out the worst possible combinations.
- Drops. While not having T.Y. Hilton certainly didn’t help, he wasn’t the sole reason for the offense coming apart. Had Luck gotten any help, the Colts might have made this game interesting. Five dropped passes certainly didn’t help matters. Dwayne Allen was particularly troubling as it looked like he didn’t put forth much effort towards those three drops. He even played poorly in terms of run blocking and suffered an injury.
- There’s also Dewey McDonald‘s drop on fourth down. McAfee threw a perfect pass to the third string safety, who took his eyes off the ball and promptly dropped the pass. The decision to go for it was dumb enough, but it should have worked. Always look the ball in, especially when you’re already past the first down marker and just need to keep the drive alive.
- Defense? After Jerrell Freeman‘s taunting penalty (which was weak for taunting, but monumentally stupid), the defense fell apart. They didn’t get a stop until late in the first half and Dallas was able to do whatever they wanted on offense. This defense is statistically worse than the one from the past two seasons and continues to give up a ton of points to quality opponents. The secondary was leaving receivers wide open at an alarming rate. On a positive note, the Cowboys were held to 3.2 yards per carry and ran the ball 40 times to get 127 yards (that includes a few big scrambles from Tony Romo as well).
Ultimately, this game means nothing going forward. We didn’t learn something new about this team that we didn’t already know. They struggle on the road and against team’s with quality quarterbacks.
The first round playoff matchup with be the most important factor. If they end up facing the Steelers or Chargers, it will likely be a loss. If its the Ravens or Bengals, the Colts have a good shot at a win.