In yet again, another slow start, the Indianapolis Colts starters were outclassed by an elite football team on Saturday night in Dallas 19-24.
In a game that promised to be a good test for the Colt’s revamped defense, in order to see where they stood, the Colts instead were left gasping for breath after a fast start for the Cowboys on their first drive. There was seemingly nothing the Colts could do on defense to stop the onslaught early, and the Cowboys quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Colts offense trotted out Scott Tolzien for the 2nd game in a row, and for the second game in a row went 3 and out on the first series after Tolzien threw way behind T.Y. Hilton on a 2nd down slant and throwing under the coverage on 3rd down.
The second time the defense was on the field they didn’t put up any resistance yet again until new edge defender John Simon forced a fumble on the 5 yard line. That was the 2nd turnover Simon has been involved in, in the 3 drives he’s seen action. Yet again, the offense went three and out and that was pretty much the story for the starting unit on offense.
The Colts defense did force another turnover on a strip sack by Barkevious Mingo on 2nd string qb Kellen Moore, which Lavar Edwards scooped and scored on to make the score 7-7. They then traded field goals before halftime making it 10-10.
The 3rd quarter started about as bad as possible, with a multitude of penalties on both sides of the ball for the Colts, while Dallas was driving the ball right down the field putting them up 17-13. Early in the 4th quarter it turned into a 24-13 game, and seemingly it was over.
I’m assuming Colts fans had turned it off at that point, and found better things. If so, you missed perhaps the best part of the game. Stephen Morris came into the game mid way through the 4th quarter, and put together the best drive of the game for the Colts. They came up short on 4th down trying to punch it into the endzone, but came right back with another impressive drive that ended with an 18 yard strike to Freddie Brown for the only touchdown of the night for the offense. A failed 2 pt conversion finalized the score at 19-24, and another preseason loss for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts might have fallen again tonight, but there is some buzz brewing about Stephen Morris, and rightfully so. Using the eye test, it might not even be close in terms of what the quarterbacks can do, yet they continue to not play Morris in meaningful minutes. He has provided the only 2 touchdown drives by the offense in two games, and played lights out at times in the preseason last year as well. Chuck Pagano acknowledged that he has some decisions to make regarding the quarterback position, but would not guarantee anything or make any promises about next week. This is a story to watch as the fan base is clamoring for Morris to get more time, maybe we see a shakeup this week leading into Pittsburgh next Saturday.
Marlon Mack and JoJo Natson continue to be bright spots for rookies on the offensive side of the ball. Mack in particular provided plenty of excitement, carrying only 5 times for 45 yards, including one carry for 23 yards. JoJo hauled in 3 catches for 60 yards and was also the teams primary return man.
The defense for the Colts stayed out on the field well into the 2nd quarter, mixing in both starters and subs in what seemed to be an effort to find combinations that worked. After a shaky start, they seemed to settle in and play somewhat better, putting up more resistance in the passing game. However all game long they were gashed by the running game, and the defensive line seemingly got bullied from the get go by the NFL’s best offensive line. There is a lot to work on, I’ll study film and see what went wrong and get a better feel for what was good and bad.
The next step as always is watching the game film and analyzing what happened better. It gives a better look at individual matchups and who played well that may have gone unnoticed. There are always positives to takeaway from it, and these early games aren’t game-planned for, so they usually seem worse or better than they actually are. Don’t jump off that cliff yet Colts fans, we’re all in this for the long haul.
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