Colts hold off historic 9 year Week 1 losing streak… in a tie. (Colts short post-game thoughts)

Well… that was absolutely heartbreaking. Why do I feel like I just sat through a game with the emotional weight of a wildcard game. These are my worst Sunday’s. It’s always a rollercoaster with the Indianapolis Colts. I sat through all of that for it only to end in a tie.

It’s never easy… The Colts can NEVER just take care of business for me can they? They have to make me sit week in and week out psychologically pulling my nails every game.

What an anxiety inducing performance from the Colts. There are no easy wins in the NFL. But heading into this one, I thought the Colts at -6.5 was pretty generous to those looking to back the Boys in Blue. Boy, was I most definitely an optimistic fanboy for the Indianapolis Colts. Let’s go through each facet of how we tied this one in just a ludicrous game of football.

The Colts Offense:

After the initial 3 and out, I was convinced that was just pent up excitement clouding ability to operate. I fully expected Matt Ryan and the offense to slow down and run it how they worked on all offseason. And he did just that with the first first down of the season, with a toss to Michael Pittman Jr. Which gave me hope (even though it was just one play) that Michael Can take the next step into an elite NFL wide receiver. As far as the offense seemed in the first, Matt Ryan consistently found Michael in the middle of the field.

While Pittman was performing in that first half, getting open. He was unable to make a play when we absolutely needed to. Had he caught that third and long, even if he was unable to convert, we would have been in field goal range. This all changed in the second half when he came out at set the standard for the Indianapolis wide receivers. His play in the fourth scraped Indy back into this one. Getting open and providing the appearance of any threat whatsoever allowed the run game to expand and the passing game in turn.

I am happy with the step up Michael Pittman Jr. showed today.

Out of the gate our offensive line wasn’t finding their blocks, limiting the lanes available for Taylor. We began figuring out some sense of a run game to close out the first quarter. Then the offense began to absolutely unravel. They were just weak today. After signing his historic contract I was looking for Nelson to hold the line accountable. They just provided little to no protection for Matt to deliver passes during regulation. Which probably played into Matt Ryan’s erratic nature in the pocket for a large portion of today.

Also Ryan Kelly… get the ball to Matt. This is high school stuff.

Wildcat offense. Terrible choice. That’s all on that call. I thought following the first questionable go for it moment when Rodrigo got the 3 points, we were going to be a little more conservative this season. Unfortunately, Philly-Philly seems to have given Reich a self imposed green light for recklessness. It’d be one thing if we had a history of converting, we just don’t. Let the Special Teams do what you pay them to do. Story of the first half was just an inability to finish on both sides of the ball. On the offensive we just could not finish off the drives. We will want to finish this season with an elite red zone conversion percentage if we are going to look to be competitive deep into the playoffs.

Starting out the second half with a botched exchange to Matt Ryan spelled disaster out of the gate. They were winning the turnover battle, and without Shaq, the Colts absolutely needed to protect each and every drive. We failed to do so.

The man looked lost at points.

Matt Ryan made some bone headed plays in his debut. That fumble to incomplete pass was a thing of beauty. In that moment I felt the Texans garner ever last drop of momentum to be had in this matchup. No way we were coming back from that. Matt looked lost out there. No way around it.

But when Michael Pittman was able to get open and showcase a new level to his game, we were able to battle back into this one. Michael Pittman got us back into this game, allowing Matt to have a reliable option (dropped passes galore for our receivers) gave Jonathon Taylor a chance to open up the field and rack up some yardage in that 4th quarter.

Jonathon Taylor was unable to deliver an expected performance out of the gate. Due to poor line play.

Heading into overtime I wasn’t too confident, just based on the floundering drive we had to end regulation. Cheers to Kwity for setting a tone in overtime that carried into the offense, allowing us to march down the field and give Rodrigo a chance to win us this football game! Cheers to the offense for being able to handle business efficiently enough (that Matt Ryan scramble just before the kick was a bit wild, as well as the botched exchange) and getting Rodrigo in range to win this thing.

Plenty of tape to rip apart though.

UPDATE: JT had the most quiet 161 yards I’ve ever see .

The Defense:

Throughout the game I would try to sum our defense up in one word… Unspectacular. Our defensive identity has lived and died with our turnover rates since Shaq Leonard’s arrival in Indy. Awesome holding the Texans when we absolutely had to. But really unremarkable stuff by all around.

I need Shaq back immediately. He is the heart and soul of this defense, probably the team. Without him all edge is absent from our game.

That was the case until a sense of life was found by Kwity Paye’s 2 Overtime sacks! This is what I am talking about. This is the step up in development I needed to see from him. They did what they needed to in overtime. Same can’t be said for the special teams.

The Special Teams:

I thought it was promising to see Frank Reich give the reins of to the kick team in situations that I think that would have went for in years prior. I love the excitement of going for it as much as the next guy, but I am a believe of bank any point you can, when you can. I was glad to see we were going to play a little more conservatively out the gate. That sentiment immediately changed when the Texans got that 4th down stop at the goal line. I don’t know how many times that has worked out for us, but I promise it hasn’t worked far more often. Get you points and get out. BANK ALL POINTS!

I don’t know what the heck happened on the kickoffs towards end the game and in overtime. We can not make these mistakes that are just lazy. That and Hines almost costing the game on that fumble. Too many easy fixes to be made. That’s that cliche attention to detail stuff.

All of these were thoughts I had until the very end of that one. All of these thoughts were relevant until that overtime…

Dang it… Rodrigo… you had to make that kick man! If he can’t make it we need someone who can… it’s sad to say but this is the NFL, not the nice guy popularity contest. If he can’t cut it, we must cut him. It’s astounding to me 32 people can’t just mechanically make a 40 yarder. What a heartbreaker.

The Opposition:

The Texans came out to play today. There ability to seize the momentum and never give us a chance to take it back was huge. Davis Mills impressed the heck out of me. Texans are committing to him and it appears to be he’s developing slowly, but is developing. Because his game seems to have stepped up. He managed it well and made some impressive throws. The Texans still suck though…

Heading into week 2 0-0-1:

Look for these two to continue showing off their improved skills.

Now we have to do dumb, stupid, moronic math with a tie variable this year. That just stinks…

All in all, I cannot believe how we historically just cannot win in Week 1 it’s absolutely bananas. And it is just so Colts Football to come back and not lose the 9th week 1 in a row, but also not win it. Of course, as has been the case over recent years we always play ourselves back into it only to let it slip away, and rip my heart out of my chest with the way they’ll finish.

The Colts cannot come out this slow against Jacksonville. I am so tired of them playing from behind. Matt Ryan and our offensive line need to figure out how to work together to allow the receivers time to make some plays.

Matt for sure needs to have a coming out party next week. The first half play was an absolute blooper reel if Pittman wasn’t putting the team on his back to get open and make a play. It was bizarre to see such rookie mistakes from one of the NFL’s most season vets.

Reich… figure it out. The play calling is backyard at times, and not cool backyard like Philly Philly, more like no drawn up idea backyard. Our playfalling is our worst enemy far too often. If we want to get everything I was hoping to from this season every aspect of The Colts’ game needs tightened up. Here’s hoping Shaq is back to give our defense the boost they need to get some turnovers.

Thank you all for reading, sorry if the thoughts are a bit eratic. Just look to get some short thoughts out immediately following. Take it easy.

Lastly… ties are the worst..

On to Jacksonville.

For the shoe!

-Burke

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