I said last week that the entire Indianapolis Colts coaching staff needed to make adjustments and improve just like the players. The 22-17 loss to the worst team in the NFL right now showed me they didn’t improve. No matter what happens during the game, there’s no reason to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m going to say this multiple times in every article that the Jaguars are the worst team in football today.
I can point to a couple of things to blame for the loss. One is the lack of effort in allowing Maurice Jones-Drew to rush for a touchdown on the first play on offense in the second half. Another one is the final defensive play in allowing Cecil Shorts to catch and run an 80-yard touchdown reception to take the lead. Who?
The final thing to put blame on is the chip shot field goal Adam Vinatieri missed with just over four minutes left in the game that would have put Indianapolis up by one.
All three of those mistakes should be put right on the shoulders of this Colts coaching staff.
Notice that all three came in the second half of the game when the Colts already had this game won. When they’re up 14-3 at halftime against the worst team in the NFL, you don’t lose. Jacksonville couldn’t do anything right in the first half and their quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked like himself in being the worst player in the entire Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. He only had 75 total yards passing until the Jaguars final drive. He missed nearly every pass he attempted.
Instead of trying to win the game in the second half, the Colts coaching staff decided to play to not lose. They did this last week when they were up 20-3 on the Minnesota Vikings and gave up 17 straight Vikings points in the second half to tie the game before Vinatieri kicked the game winner at the end.
I was critical of the coaching staff to play to not lose last week and expected major improvements this week. They showed me this may be the way their style is and if so, don’t get too comfortable with the staff, because this way of football will get them fired.
Why play not to lose? Play to win the darn football game. That’s what the fans are paying all this money to watch and that’s what the team is paying all these players to do. Why go conservative to waste time and hope to not leave the other team with much time to score in the end? That philosophy proved to bite them in the you know what when the worst quarterback to ever suit up threw one pass for the game winning score with under a minute left.
That’s all it takes, coach Pagano. One play to lose the game in the end. I hope this proves to be a lesson for you to not manage games this way. Why not bury the terrible teams like Minnesota and Jacksonville when you had the chance and cruise to a 20+ point win? Why make it so hard on yourself, the team and the fans? Those teams had no business being that close in the end. There were plenty of opportunities to bury them in the third quarter and end the game. Then, cruise in the last five minutes of the game.
Don’t start letting off the accelerator in the second half because you’re too afraid on giving up big plays or losing. We just saw that big plays can happen in the end too on mental breakdowns, so just play the entire 60 minutes. The fans paid to watch a 60 minute effort not a 30 minute effort of trying to win mixed with 30 more minutes of trying not to lose.
We drafted Andrew Luck No. 1 for a reason. Take the training wheels off and let him blow teams out. When he’s given free reign, the kid has led us to scores. Look at the first half of both games and at the end when we needed scores. He got us there.
The three mistakes all were coaching mistakes. They should have dialed up the right play to stop Jones-Drew early in the third quarter. Instead, they got complacent and didn’t pay attention. The second touchdown at the end was a huge mistake of play calling.
Why play a dumb cover zone when they could play man at the line and put all four linebackers and two safeties deep to not allow that catch and run? Didn’t they promise to play more man and get rid of the old Tampa two? That’s what happens when players have a mind lapse and release a guy to another zone where nobody is.
There was 45 seconds left and no timeouts for Jacksonville. The worst quarterback in the history of the game led the team for their own 20. Why not get out of a zone and put help deep and just play? Gabbert completed nine passes before that. I would like to think he’s going to come out inaccurate again. Why change what worked?
Then, the biggest blunder is why take a delay of game on Vinatieri’s miss? It was fourth down and we all knew we were going to kick. Why weren’t the players out there ready to go? That five yards proved to be crucial because with five more yards, he would have made it.
Those three mistakes all fall on the shoulders of Pagano. It’s time to realize when the chance is there to win, just do it.