A season ago, the Indianapolis Colts seemed to be the talk of the NFL. During the year last year, on seven different occasions, the Colts managed to find a way to win games on last second drives. A lot of that may have had to do with the rallying cry behind coach Chuck Pagano, as he was dealing with illness most of the year. Some thought there was still magic left this year when in Week 1 the Colts marched down the field during the final minutes and walked away with a win over the Oakland Raiders. Then in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, the Colts found themselves in the unique position once again down by a touchdown, late in the ball game.
Week 2, however, would not result in the same magic. Why? The Colts imploded on their final drive. They couldn’t get the ball over the Miami 23-yard line. Once they got there, it was incomplete, incomplete, incomplete and a sack, helping the Dolphins hang on for a 24-20 win. With the loss, the Colts fell to 1-1 on the season. Now let’s get one thing straight here; this year’s
Colts team doesn’t look as good as last year’s team. There are still flaws here on this team. Don’t get me wrong, Andrew Luck has done pretty good so far this year, and he almost won them the game on Sunday. Luck usually gets a ton of credit when the Colts pull out games like these, and he deserves it. By the same token, Luck deserves some of the castigation for the way things unfolded during that fourth quarter. Just making things fair here.
Now then, let’s take a look at this another way. It wasn’t just one play or two pendulum-swinging plays that led to the Colts losing to the Dolphins on Sunday. They lost on a bunch of smaller plays – death by paper cuts. A year ago, they would have found a way despite the mistakes. Sunday, the mistakes ran them down like a cheetah on a gazelle, ultimately consuming them.
Sure the Colts can still find a way to win games, but they won’t always pull out the games in these types of situations. It is possible to lose a game while giving it an all out effort. There isn’t a team in the NFL that doesn’t go out and play hard every week. Some games it just works and the team can pull a victory from the jaws of defeat. At the same time a team can miscalculate and not get the job done on the game’s final drive.
The Colts do have flaws, and they aren’t quite as good as they were a year ago. They are still going to be a playoff bound team, but they have to play a little better going forward than they did against the Dolphins. One game doesn’t change that, but they can’t lose winnable home games like they did Sunday.
Magic only lasts so long.