The Indianapolis Colts fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-27 in London, falling to 1-3 on the season and leaving many fans frustrated once again.
It’s been the same story for the Colts, who once again fell behind in the 1st half, only to lead a last minute comeback attempt that ultimately fell short. The team has yet to lead a first half this season and has been outscored by 29 points through 4 games during their Sunday intermissions.
The first half turnovers certainly haven’t helped, as the Colts have had 3 first half turnovers in their last two games.
However, on Sunday, it was the foolish penalties–a pair of rookies T.J. Green and Curt Maggitt each drew an unnecessary roughness flag that extended drives, while veteran Antonio Cromartie imploded on the final drive of the first half attempting to cover Allen Robinson–being flagged for two penalties in the process.
It was the drops–rookie running back Josh Ferguson had a critical 3rd and 2 drop on the opening drive, while tight end Dwayne Allen followed it up an offensive series later with a 2nd and 8 drop that would’ve been a first down.
As a result, Luck was hit a play later with the ball batted, being ultimately intercepted by the Jaguars Yannick Ngakoue–leading to a Jacksonville touchdown with such a short field to score.
It was the missed tackles.
How many Colts does it take to tackle a Jaguars wide receiver running a simple route?
Apparently, 5 isn’t enough.
Despite all of this tomfoolery, the Colts still had a chance with 2:31 left in the 4th quarter and only down 27-30 to tie or win the game.
On 3rd and 10, Andrew Luck threw to T.Y. Hilton, who may have been able to cut up field more for the first down, but instead ran wide to the sideline–stretching but ultimately falling just short of moving the chains.
Just a play later, the Colts turned the ball over on downs, as the team opted to keep veteran running back Frank Gore–who had averaged 4.3 ypc on the sidelines in favor of scatback Josh Ferguson on 4th and less than a yard.
The Colts didn’t even entertain the idea of actually running the football, and the Jaguars weren’t forced to respect the run with Gore sitting out such a huge play.
Instead, Luck scrambled forward and looked like he was going to dive for the first down–which he would’ve easily gotten, only to inexplicably throw to Allen–who had the ball knocked out of his hands by Jaguars cornerback Josh Johnson.
Head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff only have so much control of the roster, but they can gameplan better and start the game with more stressed urgency so as not to fall quickly behind to a deficit.
They can hold their players accountable after stupid penalties by chewing them out or sitting them.
They can practice more fundamental aspects of the game such as tackling.
They can call better plays on 4th and short or actually go to the no huddle offense much sooner during the course of the football game.
Instead, it was the Colts who were outclassed, outcoached, and ultimately outplayed.
It’s ironic that this game came against the Jaguars of all teams, who in the Peyton Manning era of Colts football, with a stingy defense featuring the likes of Mike Peterson, Marcus Stroud, John Henderson, and Rashean Mathis among others would routinely melt down and make the unnecessary penalties and foolish mistakes late in close games under then head coach Jack Del Rio to narrowly fall short of beating the Colts.
This time around, it was the Colts who shot themselves in the foot in a key divisional game–losing the game by their own mental mistakes and lack of discipline.
Entering the game, the Colts hadn’t lost an AFC South game started by Luck since Week 15 of 2012, as fans still steadfastly maintained that despite the rough start, Indianapolis remained the team to beat in the division as long as Luck was healthy under center.
Instead of wondering whether the Colts or Texans were the toast of the AFC South, the Colts left London contemplating whether they are now worse than the Tennessee Titans for the division’s cellar.
The Colts can no longer just beat up on the AFC South, while playing .500 football against everyone else and expect to make the playoffs. The supporting cast surrounding Luck isn’t strong enough, and the rest of the division has clearly caught up to the Colts.
Their season isn’t over yet, as the Colts still play in the woeful AFC South. However, the team’s margin for error became much smaller after Sunday. The Colts have to cut out the lack of discipline, drops, and overall mistakes and get back to the sound fundamentals and smart plays that ultimately winning teams make.