Against the New York Jets Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts look to come in with a lot of confidence after coming off a huge victory over the Green Bay Packers last week. With the Jets struggling lately and the Colts riding high off motivation with the recent and tragic news to head coach Chuck Pagano, this looked like the Colts’ game to win.
It didn’t turn out that way, however. The Jets ended up destroying Indianapolis, 35-9, and headed out of the stadium with a 3-3 record. Mark Sanchez‘s job was saved as a starting quarterback and Rex Ryan can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
As for the Colts, this loss proved that there is still some work to do with this time. Coming into the game at 2-2, Indianapolis looked like they have enough to make a playoff-caliber team. However, it doesn’t seem like the case so far exactly.
There were a lot of factors that played into this, such as the team being pretty banged up. Starting cornerback Vontae Davis has been banged up with an ankle injury, which definitely hurts the team’s secondary, as it’s the weakest part of their pretty strong defense.
And the secondary didn’t show up on Sunday, allowing Sanchez to play like if he was Peyton Manning out there. He made it look too easy, finding open touchdowns to rookie Stephen Hill.
The pass-rush simply wasn’t there, but a big reason to this loss has to be the health, as mentioned before. Right as Dwight Freeney made his return from an injury, Robert Mathis was ruled out and he could be for one or two more games. The Jets took advantage of that, getting as many double-teams as possible towards Freeney.
Cory Redding also got shook up, leaving the Colts’ defensive line pretty thin. It led to Antonio Johnson starting at nose tackle, and he struggled mightily. This led to the rush defense playing mediocre, allowing Shonn Greene to rush for 161 yards and three touchdowns and giving Joe McKnight an extra 71.
The offense has been banged up as well, with Donald Brown out for the next two-to-three weeks after having surgery on his knee. With that, Vick Ballard got the starting nod, but he didn’t do much. Instead, Indianapolis kept turning the ball over with several fumbles, including even in the last minute.
Andrew Luck also had trouble staying calm in the pocket. I’ve said it many times before, but the Colts have probably one of the worst offensive lines in the league. And it showed as Luck threw two picks, never being able to find a groove. There were many times where Indianapolis could have had quick touchdowns or easy first downs, but it led to Luck overthrowing his receiver.
The only decent statistic from the afternoon was Reggie Wayne‘s five catches for 87 yards, but it was barely noticeable.
The Colts have always struggled with staying healthy for the past few seasons and they’re going to need all they can get in that department. But with Pagano out, this team still needs some work and being as inexperienced as they are, they are going to be wanting him more and more every week.