The Indianapolis Colts had been waiting for this day for months. Finally, all of their juicy offensive weapons were ready and available to play. Reggie Wayne got that “first hit” out of the way, so he didn’t have it hanging over his head going into the game against the Denver Broncos. No potential deja vu situation, playing his first game this season against the same team he played his last game against in 2013. Ahmad Bradshaw was back as well, also getting that “first hit” out of the way, and if all went well, competing with Trent Richardson for a starting job.
But from the very first snap, things were just a little bit off, reminiscent of Friday Night Lights when Saracen and Smash had their battle of egos. T.Y. Hilton started the game by lining up offsides, negating Wayne’s first catch. Andrew Luck seemed to be throwing short, and Hilton struggled with coordination, or maybe concentration. He had just one catch for five yards (in five attempts). Whatever was off between them seemed to spread to the entire offense, indicating to me that this might be the most critical relationship on the team (short of the snap exchange between Luck and Center X).
Preseason football is a rough watch because when a team does well, like the New Orleans Saints, it’s shrugged away. And when a team clanks like a band that didn’t get a sound check, like the Colts, we stay up late into the night trying to talk ourselves off the ledge. The game was advertised as a clash of potential Super Bowl contenders, and we felt a little lied to, maybe like watching a highly touted television pilot that falls flat. Are they starting slow but on a potential juggernaut trajectory, like Seinfeld? Or will they fizzle amidst the faithful’s wailing and gnashing of teeth, like Firefly?
It was beyond disheartening to see so much dissonance in the lineup we’d been waiting months to see. Twitter went to far as to discuss “Bad Luck vs. Good Luck” in a similar vein to “Good Lance vs. Bad Lance” of Indiana Pacers fame. Let’s whoa back on that right now. Everyone has bad days, but this is no place for that sort of gross wordplay.
If we’ve learned one thing, it might be that as Luck/Hilton goes, so go the Colts. It’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.