The Colts suffered their most heartbreaking loss of the season Sunday afternoon, virtually collapsing in the second half to fall to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-24. To be brutally honest, it’s hard to pick out one single player who performed consistently well throughout all four quarters of this game. However, in the first half the Colts came out firing on offense, and they looked better than they had all season up to that point. If the Colts can reestablish this kind of momentum and maintain it for a full 60 minutes, they can most certainly win at least a few games this season.
I’m going to ignore the debacle in the second half when announcing the recipient of this week’s Horseshoe Hero honors. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever be writing something in which I actually praised this particular player, but there’s a first time for everything. This week’s Horseshoe Hero is … Curtis Painter!
Maybe it was the adrenaline. Maybe it was all the extra reps he’s been getting in practice. Maybe it was all the support he’s been getting from his teammates. Or maybe he just finally channeled his inner Peyton. But Curtis Painter played like a legitimate starting quarterback in the first half of Sunday’s game. I was proud, impressed, and utterly shocked.
Painter went a remarkably perfect 5-for-5 on his opening drive, capping it off with a 6-yard touchdown pass to the ever-improving Pierre Garçon (Did Garçon read my column last week and find some glue?). Painter followed that up with a 67-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, again to Garçon. In the third quarter, Painter also drove the offense 80 yards in eight plays to set up Delone Carter for a rushing touchdown, Carter’s first career score.
Overall, Painter completed 15 of his 27 passes and threw no picks. He was able to operate the no-huddle offense efficiently, and he played like a confident leader, something that I did not see from Kerry Collins. If Painter had started the first game of the season, would the Colts be 0-5 at this point? It’s debatable, but at least maybe now the Colts will move in the right direction. Painter may develop into the artist that his name suggests. I’d certainly like to see a Michelangelo-like performance!
Horseshoe Hero honors go to one player and one player alone, but I want to recognize a couple other individuals for their accomplishments this past week. For one, Adam Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal in the second quarter was his longest as a Colt. He’s clearly not showing any signs of age, and I feel like he’s even improved since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in 2009. There was also a new face on the offensive line Sunday who did a solid job protecting Painter. Quinn Ojinnaka was signed to the active roster last Tuesday and had less than a week of practice with his new team before starting at right tackle. Not a single sack was recorded on Painter. This is a significant accomplish for the Colts’ OL, who struggled in the first few weeks of play. Things can only go up from here!
Will the Colts earn their first win Sunday in Cincinnati? Regardless, check back next Tuesday to see who is recognized as the Horseshoe Hero against the Bengals.