Rams (4-6) 38 - Colts 8 (6-3)
They were finally getting the recognition they deserved. They moved up to second in ESPN’s weekly NFL Power Rankings. They were seen as Super Bowl contenders, no longer pretenders. Andrew Luck could do no wrong.
Then yesterday happened.
The Colts were outplayed in every facet of their Week 10 contest at home against the St. Louis Rams. Indianapolis fell behind early, definitely not an abnormal occurrence, but this time, there was no fourth quarter magic or game-winning drive from Luck and the offense. Instead, the Colts fell farther and farther behind until Luck was taken out of the game to save him for another day. Following the loss, Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s attitude was described by some of the Indianapolis media as being reminiscent of former Colts coach Jim Mora. That speaks volumes.
So what went wrong? The numbers are scary to look at. Luck threw three interceptions, was sacked three times, hit seven times, and he lost a fumble. Trent Richardson had just two total yards on five carries – definitely not the performance you’d expect from someone for whom you recently gave up a first round draft pick. The Colts did not get on the board until the fourth quarter, down 38 points. They converted on just 16% of their third down attempts. Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin had a breakout performance and ran all over the Colts defense, accumulating 138 receiving yards on just two receptions. He alone amassed 310 total yards and had two touchdowns, including one punt return TD that went 98 yards to the house. Rams defensive end Robert Quinn continually put pressure on Luck and had him scrambling all afternoon. The Colts offensive line was no match for the Rams defensive front.
The positives in this game were small, but there were some. Robert Mathis had two sacks of Sam Bradford and has a chance to break Michael Strahan’s single season sack record (He currently has 13.5; the record is 22.5). Pat McAfee did something very special pre-game and reunited an army sergeant with his family in honor of Veteran’s Day. He also bought the family a new car.
The Colts took several steps backwards yesterday, but the good news is that the team still sits atop the AFC South division with a two-game lead, and favorable opponents are ahead on their schedule. The Colts will contest Thursday Night Football in Tennessee to kick off Week 11 in just four days. They have a lot to fix before then.