The Colts remarkable rally wasn’t enough. Andrew Luck couldn’t overcome his first half deficiencies. Again it was the penalties, the turnovers, the interceptions, and the poor defense that led to an insurmountable 27-21 victory for the New Orleans Saints.
This is the point now, where Colts fans start to wonder if they’ll be saying, “those early season games when Andrew was bad.” Or instead “the beginning of a terrible year for the Colts.” They’re are still perched on top of their division in the AFC South, ensuring a play at home playoff game. But, it’s not a position that seems earned.
This game was indicative of the season thus far. The Colts have a great moment or two, and the crowd says this is the Colts we expected to see. Then they shoot themselves in the hooves. The Colts can’t make it past three and outs. They come in, they go right back out. It’s happened over and over this season. That’s how this game started too. The Saints were stuck, then the Colts drive went nowhere. Two early challenges from the Saints head coach Sean Payton went in the Colts favor, but it didn’t seem to matter.
The Saints took an early lead. Then Luck threw an interception. And, the Colts had trouble getting anything started against the worst defense in the league. That does not bode well for any weeks after this one. The Colts went down 20. And Andrew Luck didn’t have a completion for a solid chunk of that first half. It wasn’t the expected tough and gritty, or even angry Colts viewers expected to see after that tough loss to New England in the previous week. The first time the Colts got into Saints territory was with 38 seconds left on the clock of the first half.
The second half was something of a different story. Luck threw a career long 87-yard catch to T.Y. Hilton after his defender fell down. That happened again later in the 3rd with a 46 yard catch by Hilton. Then it seemed like the Colts would get something going, and then get a holding penalty. They haven’t been consistent. They haven’t been sharp. They gave fans momentary hope, but then the defense couldn’t make a stop when they needed it most. They stayed six points down.
What’s been frustrating about this season has been how each game seemed winnable. If this changed, or if that call went the other way, if this play had never been run. There would be a chance. They could have found a way to win. Instead, the Colts hold a losing record. Whether it’s front office issue or a mental problem. Something needs to change to see the tide go the other way. Because it’s bad when your punter is playing better than anyone else on the team.
It’s not like the games will get any easier this season. The Panthers, with their perfect season, are next up. And the Colts are on the road. Believing in blue seems to be getting harder and harder. The faith that Andrew Luck can somehow make it happen in the fourth quarter, despite the odds, despite the pressure, seems like an old dream now.
The Indianapolis Colts take on the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina for Monday Night Football November 2nd at 8:30 p.m. and broadcast on ESPN. If you’d like to support the Colts on the road, check here for Colts Tickets.