While the Indianapolis Colts came back in the second half and were winning with 30 seconds left in the game, it still wasn’t enough to start the season with a win. The flaws that kept the Colts out of the playoffs last year are still lingering. Again, the Colts begin the season 0-1.
Their inability to put up points early hurt them big time. They didn’t score until the end of the second quarter and only by the incredible skill of Adam Vinatieri who made the 50-yard field goal. That was soon followed up with their first touchdown of the game- a pass to Donte Moncrief. The first half ended with the Colts down by 11 points and Andrew Luck not having thrown a pass farther than ten yards until there was only five minutes remaining. Not the best start especially when the Lions would get the ball to start the second half.
“We have to start better, you know. When we’re down 21-3, we can’t do that. It’s just too big of a hump,” says tight end Jack Doyle.
The Colts offense finally found a rhythm at the end of the first half, mostly consisting of long drives finishing in the end zone with the tight ends, Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle. They answered every score given up by the defense and were able to get a lead.
It’s the Colts defense, once again, that is one of the team’s weakest links. The fact that they struggle against the run is inarguable. The Colts gave up 116 rushing yards and two of the five touchdowns to the Lions running backs. Both of the run touchdowns were scored in the first half of the game, not helping make up for the Colts offense’s slow start. Not only are the running backs getting a good amount of yardage, but are also eating up a lot of time, keeping the Colts offense off the field.
“We didn’t execute,” says Colts defensive end, Kendall Langford. “No excuses.”
So how do the Colts make adjustments? Well, most of this was a task for the offseason as none of these problems are new. The defense needs to focus on the run and the offense needs to take their aggressive comeback approach from the beginning.
The Colts have a good team still. Luck, if he doesn’t get injured, is their biggest weapon. As seen in the second half, he has great receivers Hilton, Moncrief, and Dorsett in addition to Allen and Doyle, who more than proved themselves as incredibly valuable targets in the end zone. It is again, like years past, the success of the passing game that will determine if the team is victorious. There is a lot of work to be done, but as their comeback ability suggests, there may be hope for a good season.
“It’s tough. It’s a tough way to lose,” says Doyle, “but we’ll bounce back next week. You just have to go back to work.”