Colts claim a sloppy victory in Houston
When the Colts went into Reliant Stadium on Sunday night, it was easy to wonder which Colts team would show up.
Would it be the team that physically outmatched and outsmarted the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos? Or would it be the team that laid an offensive egg against the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins?
For the entire first half, it was clear which team showed it up: the latter.
While the absence of Reggie Wayne ultimately changes the face of the offense and the structure of every game going forward, the Colts first half struggles went well beyond the absence of the veteran who hadn’t missed a game in 12 years.
If we’re to point fingers, and we’re going to, let’s point the first finger at the Colts’ special teams.
They were absolutely terrible.
On Adam Vinatieri’s first field goal attempt, JJ Watt easily got a hand on a low kick. But their troubles didn’t stop there: on the next Colts’ punt, Pat McAfee mishandled a snap only to miraculously recover and boot a 50-yarder while on the run. However, the kick was nullified and the Colts were forced to kick again and disaster almost struck.
McAfee received the snap, but the kick was very nearly blocked for an easy touchdown. A roughing the kicker penalty should have obviously been enforced, but there’s absolutely no excuse for the atrocious blocking that was evident for most of the game.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen a worst half of fundamental special teams in a football game. There was no blocking. No energy. No timing. Nothing.
And for a team that has struggled mightily with special teams for what seems like a decade, these kinds of mistakes and terrible technique will be a huge emphasis for the coaching staff going forward.
Just two weeks ago, the Colts were brilliant on special teams. They were able to control the game because they won the field position battle over and over. They also limited arguably the most explosive return man in the NFL this year, Trindon Holliday, to a few basic returns, while forcing a fumble on one of them.
And that’s how you beat teams like the Broncos.
We often hear “all three phases of the game” and think you only need one (offense), but that’s simply not true. If your team is winning the special teams battle, you can afford to have some troubles on offense.
The Colts, however, were collectively terrible in all three phases, at least in the first half.
I know Andrew Luck has played out of his mind lately and the offensive line couldn’t block a turtle on Sunday, but that could have been the worst half of football from Luck that we’ve witnessed.
But, ladies and gentlemen, this is why Luck is the best young quarterback in the game – he has amnesia. It was like the first half never happened for Luck and that’s why the Colts ultimately won the game.
Well, that and T.Y. Hilton’s blinding speed.
It’s true – a win is a win. However, Sunday night’s victory over the struggling, emotional Texans should remind the Colts that they have a lot to refine if they want to hoist the Lombard
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