When the Indianapolis Colts lost wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a season-ending knee injury, they knew it was going to hurt them. They knew losing their best receiver and veteran leader would be tough to overcome, but they never knew it would be turn their once high-flying offense into a shell of its former self.
The Colts were at a loss for any receiver to step up and be a difference maker this week against a St. Louis Rams defense that came to play. Built around the pass rush, the Rams’ defense feasted on Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense once they ran out to an early lead. Indianapolis was forced to abandon the running game, and they had no receivers who could get consistent separation for Luck.
Luck has truly relied on the presence of Wayne so far in his young career, probably more so than any of us had realized. He’s had as much success as you could as for from a second-year passer, but how much of that was due to having a reliable, veteran receiver at his disposal?
He didn’t have him this week, and once the Colts couldn’t run the ball to create space for their undersized receivers to operate, they sorely needed a traditional wide receiver like Wayne to get open against a St. Louis team that was lined to up stop the pass.
The Colts have Super Bowl aspirations after a good start to the season. But at some point down the line, they’re going to find themselves in another situation where they will need to put up points against a team that knows they’re going to pass. They just may not have an answer to those situations without Wayne.