The Indianapolis Colts lost an absolutely UGLY one at San Diego, 19-9, on Monday night. And, along with the God-awful performance by the receivers, the coaches are to blame.
Mainly offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton (yet again, sigh), but head coach Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and their staff aren’t off the hook either.
What in God’s name is Hamilton DOING? There is a difference between being a power running team and a team that runs till they get behind and then throw like hell and hope for the best.
I am personally an advocate of having a good running game, as I believe those are the types of teams that win Super Bowls, but this is not how it’s done. Use your quarterback to your advantage; Andrew Luck is already one of the best in the league at age 24! Give him control of the offense and let him throw the ball at beginning of games as well as the end, and sure as hell not only after first down.
Trent Richardson ran like a beast on Monday but the offense didn’t have the ball enough to grind it out. In order to have a good run game you have to have a solid defense, and the defense did not perform against the Chargers. Therefore, put the ball in the hands of your quarterback and let him light it up, especially against a less than mediocre defense.
Furthermore, from what I could see at least, Hamilton’s play designs were extremely suspect. What kind of routes was he calling for the receivers to run? Half the time it looked like Hamilton was telling his receivers to run upfield five yards and turn around. Especially when the pressure is coming, that route is not going to create separation.
The Chargers were bringing the heat with blitz after blitz. That is when you need extended routes that allow receivers to find the open crease and, consequently, get separation. Not only that, but you got to work the middle as well. That blitz is coming up the middle and you have one guy, at most, occupying the space in between the hash marks? Mind boggling.
Not to mention on numerous occasions it seemed the receivers were stopping their routes short of the first down marker on third downs; the fault of both receiver and coordinator.
And oh boy the receivers; T.Y. Hilton could’ve easily had a touchdown pass down the sideline on a beautifully thrown ball that he simply did not give all his effort to reach out for. Reggie Wayne, uncharacteristically, dropped a huge third down catch and Darius Heyward-Bey could’ve laid out for a deep throw (thought we’d see more of those to him) from Luck in the first half.
Oh and Coby Fleener. Fleener, Fleener, Fleener. The second-year tight end dropped a potential touchdown catch and run at the end of the first half. How many times is he going to do that? Drop the damn ball?
And he doesn’t just drop it. He wastes his size as well. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him body up a defender and go up and grab a ball. How are you 6-foot-6, 255 and you don’t man up enough to help your quarterback and pluck some throws out of the air? A waste of talent that really needs to realize he’s wasting it.
Finally, a few remarks on Pagano. Why not go for it on 4th and 3 in San Diego territory when you desperately need a score and your defense couldn’t stop my intramural flag football team if they wanted to? It’s a combination of Pagano and Hamilton to make this decision, and they need to stop being so damn conservative and have some guts. That’s what winning coaches do in this league and we know Pagano wants to be a winning coach. Man up.
A small but big decision was also the choice to inactivate a former starter in Kavell Conner (coach’s decision, not injury related) and have Mario Harvey take his spot. We saw how that turned out.
This disgusting performance by the Indianapolis Colts may end up being a good thing for this upcoming matchup against the mighty Denver Broncos. Maybe they’ll FINALLY learn that this conservative play calling can kill a team when it
matters most. Maybe they’re sick of slow starts and realize that they can’t wait till the end of the game to put it in Luck’s magical hands. ‘Cause Luck sure as hell looked like the only player out there that wanted to win the game.
Maybe they’ll finally learn that they need to step up their game if they want to be considered a good coaching staff.
Because this upcoming matchup against the Peyton Manning-led Broncos is the biggest regular season game the Indianapolis Colts will ever have (I’ll be at the game sneering at all the people wearing Peyton Manning Broncos’ jerseys). Go Colts!