The Indianapolis Colts overcame another fourth quarter deficit and this time managed to hold onto a lead to get their first win of the season. It wasn’t pretty, but it may have just saved the season.
Three times the Colts have faced a one-score game in the fourth quarter and now they’ve finally come out on the winning side. The defense (and coaching) let them down in Week 1. Week 2 can be put firmly at the feet of Andrew Luck. But in Week 3, after trying to give the game away, Luck dusted off his cape, pulled one out for T.Y. Hilton too, and led a game winning drive. And unlike Week 1, the defense forced a turnover to end the game.
First a few thoughts on Luck.
Luck was sure taking a pounding on twitter around halftime yesterday. He had gone from six straight completions to a pick six to a fumble for a touchdown and became the worst, most turnover prone QB of all time. But that really isn’t fair to Luck.
In three games, Luck has turned the ball over just four times. He’s already dropped back to pass 139 times, and has 124 passing attempts (nine sacks and six scrambles). Those attempts has him at third most in the NFL. Despite that, he’s only throw two interceptions which translates to 1.6 percent of his passes. That is tied for a career low for Luck right now.
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The fumbles are a bit of an anomaly. The first can be chalked up to Von Miller doing Von Miller things. The second, from yesterday, was Luck A) not recognizing the blitz pre-snap, and B) trying to break out of a sack (or rather not going down as soon as he was hit). At times breaking out of a sack attempt has led to big plays, but that was never going to be one of those times.
The nine sacks is concerning, or would be had they not given up five to the Broncos. That’s what the Broncos do. But a few things can happen to lessen the number of sacks. For one, Rob Chudzinski can give Luck some quicker routes (perhaps a shallow cross with Phillip Dorsett?). Two, Luck needs to do a better job pre-snap at identifying the blitz and making adjustments.
At times, it feels as if Luck isn’t allowed to audible. Colts fans were spoiled with Peyton Manning, but there is no reason Luck can’t at least approximate what he did at the line of scrimmage.
These expectations for Luck are completely fair considering how much money the Colts are paying him. Couple that with a defense that is still recovering (and lacks playmakers) and a run game that is fleeting at best, and the team’s success rest on Luck’s shoulders.
But for now, Luck is fine. He’s actually playing very well and despite his struggles on Sunday he led the team to a win. Luck hasn’t gotten to play the Jaguars in over a year and in 2014 he completed 72 percent of his passes and threw five touchdowns in their two meetings.
Here’s what else stood out from Sunday’s game:
- Hilton backed it up. Over the week, Hilton talked about how poorly he’s played and all but guaranteed a win on Sunday. Boy did he back it up in the second half. If there is a knock on Hilton is that unlike a true number one receiver, he disappears for long stretches at a time. Sunday was a monster game, and while that won’t happen every week, it certainly feels like a sign of things to come especially against the talented corners on San Diego.
- A defensive playmaker? Clayton Geathers had a hell of a game, and not just because he had the game sealing forced fumble. Whereas Mike Adams is often in the right place at the right time, Geathers is turning into the guy making those plays Adam’s benefits from. He showed flashes last season (the game against Atlanta stands out) and there is no telling where he’d be had a foot injury not sidelined him for camp.
- More bad coaching. Chuck Pagano opted not to run a real series just before the half despite having about 55 seconds and two timeouts. Luckily the Colts didn’t need that extra possession, but they still basically just turned the ball over to the Chargers without even making them force another turnover. For the record, Jim Caldwell’s team beat the Colts with just 37 seconds. If you have time (and timeouts) always go for the score.
Up next the Colts head to London to face the Jaguars (0-3). We’ll have more on that matchup later in the week.