We all went to school last night to re-learn the same lessons from last week.
The Colts need a quarterback.
For reasons I can't fathom, Indy fans mostly seem up in arms about the defense today.
The same defense that was on the field at a nearly a 2:1 clip and played it's wounded guts out is generating the bulk of the complaints.
By the same token, the quarterback who was sacked four times, fumbled, and completed 43% of his passes seems to have had 'a good night'.
I guess the fan base will be held back again.
The Colts defense, for all its flaws, played well enough to win. Curtis Painter did not.
Indy had 3 scoring drives. Other than those three drives, Curtis Painter completed 4 passes.
Aside from the two amazing plays by Pierre Garcon, Painter was 11/28 for 135 yards (4.8 YPA).
He didn't do ANY more than Kerry Collins has done. In fact, he's almost identical to Collins. The Colts put up 17 points. Collins led them to 12 points two weeks ago (not counting a garbage score against the Browns). He had one of those nights where his passer rating was great, but his DVOA and other advanced metrics will be horrid.
Yesterday, I said it would be a good day if he completed 50% of his passes and had no turnovers. He didn't even get that far.
Painter was horrible and incredible efforts by Garcon don't change that. By the way, on the first touchdown to Garcon, what is the corner doing? Why did he try to tackle him? Shouldn't he just have shoved him out of bounds?
Painter doesn't deserve credit because Garcon broke a screen pass. He didn't play well and pretending he wasn't the problem is foolish.
Having said that, the team seems like him, and they played hard for him. The downfield blocking on Garcon's screen was amazing. That fact alone means the Colts should stick with Painter moving forward, at least until he completely embarrasses himself.
Unfortunately, that's probably coming. Painter threw three near picks, and struggled to complete passes against a horrible pass defense. He made one truly exceptional play late in the game to extend a drive for the Colts, but other than that showed me little. He played better than I expected, though. I expected him to be worse than Kerry Collins, and instead he was about the same as Kerry Collins.
I don't expect him to get better, however. I expect that was the upper limit of his abilities.
All that means is that it's about to get worse for the Colts. Believe it or not, last night might have been the high water mark for the Colts. I'm convinced fans are seeing what they want to see. They WANT to believe Painter was playing well, so they do. They WANT to believe he was better than Collins so that's what they see. People aren't learning their lessons, and I fear the fanbase will be cursed to repeat them until the lesson becomes emblazoned on our consciousness: the Colts need a quarterback.
The worst is yet to come.
- Pierre Garcon is Pierre Garcon. He's electric, dynamic, and oh my word the man can't catch.
- The injuries are piling up. Aside from Eric Foster's heroism, the Colts also lost both Castonzo and Ijalana. I'm afraid the injuries will be too much to overcome this year. It's going to get ugly.
- Funniest sequence of the night was Brown's blown block. Just minutes before both Addai and Carter had BOTH blown blocks, but when Brown did it, the Colts fans were up in arms. Selective outrage, you have to love it.
- Delone Carter has been terrible. He shouldn't be playing. 3.0 yards a rush last night. He's not getting yards, he can't catch and he can't block. I'd way rather see Brown out there than Carter. He's not good in short yardage. He's not good at anything. He's just terrible. I honestly believe Brown should be playing and Carter on the pine. Brown was better behind a worse line last year and he can catch. Carter can't block either, so don't use that as an excuse. Carter does nothing well. If he can't catch or block, and he's down around 3.5 YPC, why is he playing?
- Caldwell has to answer questions about why Tryon was cut. He just does. In terms of playing ability you can't tell me he wouldn't have helped this team last night. I'm willing to keep an open mind and believe there is a reason he was let go, but we need to know it. It is interesting that no one has picked him up. That leads me to believe there's something else going on. We need to know what.
- Caldwell's decision to punt at every opportunity was insanity, but I will completely defend the decision to take the penalty in the first half after the Bucs faced 4th and 3. I'll take 3rd and 19 over 4th and 3 at the 37 any day. Tampa would have gone for that. Indy had a stupid offsides and then a more stupid screw up on 3rd and 14, but the numbers say it was the right call.
- The Colts have problems with their zone. Conner is still lost out there, and the young corners and safeties are making too many mistakes.
- I knew Indy would never see the ball again when Caldwell punted on 4th and 5. I swear, he lives in a parrallell universe where his defense was't on the field 2/3rds of the game.
- Caldwell's 'strategic mistakes' are the same mistakes most coaches make. I don't think they are damning, because I think most every coach would make the same moves. They are stupid moves, but most NFL head coaches are insanely conservative. This is a broken record.
- Mathis and Freeny, or Frathis as they will now be known, are amazing. Nothing else needs to be said.
- Jerry Hughes got a sack! If this was last year, I'd be happy about it. Still it's funny that he did something after Rodger Saffold was so awful on Sunday.
Conclusion: It was the same game as last week. The team played hard. They didn't quit. They were better than I expected. I'm proud of them.
They don't have a quarterback and they may not win a game this year.
Wash, rinse, repeat.