WHY, HELLO AGAIN, Colts fans. I’m your regional 1 p.m.-game commentator Nate Miller. I’m joined by sports talker Derek Schultz and Indianapolis Monthly editor-in-chief Michael Rubino. Welcome to Week 4 of the NFL season, which is not normally a must-win proposition, although these are not normal times. The 1-2 Miami Dolphins hosted the 0-6,943 Colts on Sunday afternoon—winner to keep some semblance of hope for the season, loser to be relegated to Conference USA.
The good news? The Colts won 27-17. The better news? They won’t be playing UTEP next weekend. The BEST news? Hope remains for this team, if only briefly, and that is all that matters. Because losing to the Jacoby Brissett–led Dolphins would have been too much to bear. Right, Derek?
SCHULTZ: Honestly, I’m just glad the Colts avoided The Disaster Scenario … that being, ‘See?? They should’ve kept Jacoby derppp!’ Nice guy, great teammate, but I never understood why some fans, even after three years and 30-plus starts, still felt strongly that Brissett could be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. I mean, what kind of person willfully ignores mountains of data, evidence, and informa- wait, actually, don’t answer that. Yes, the Colts absolutely needed a win. They also absolutely needed to avoid the embarrassment of stumbling into an 0-4 crater, thanks to a loss against a guy who they knew wasn’t good enough to be QB1 here.
OK, rant over. Here’s my non-Brissett takeaway: The Dolphins stink, but if this season is going to go anywhere for the Colts, they absolutely have to beat all of the teams that stink (hello, Houston and Jacksonville four times!) on their slate. There is no margin for error.
RUBINO: This game was like running into that ex you hadn’t seen in awhile at a party. And in this scenario, that ex is Jacoby Brissett—who is still not a great quarterback. Right about now, the Colts front office has to feel very validated. Yes, thank God that’s settled. Listening to outraged fans pine for Jacoby this week would have made my ears bleed. Bye, Jacoby. We’ll never forget you (again).
One last Jacoby thought: That dude had a pretty wild little arc with the Colts. We went from ‘Free Jacoby!’ to ‘Free, Jacoby!’
To Derek’s point, there isn’t any margin for error. The problem is that when you’re talking about these Colts, so much could go wrong with off-the-field-ish situations. Injuries have turned the offensive line into a bit of a junk drawer with a weird 9-volt, a CR32A and D when you need all AAs. Several key players aren’t vaxxed—their starting QB among them. And that backup quarterback situation has been handled so poorly, that it makes me wonder if there isn’t something more going on behind the scenes. Keeping things close to perfect seems like a really tall order. But here we are. Put on your gasoline boots and walk through hell, Colts. Wu-Tang!
MILLER: First things first: I want out of CBS Sports’ NFL torture-basement. They have us held hostage in this gross regional dungeon, at gunpoint, and it’s been this way for far too long now. It is dark and irrelevant down here, and it’s ALWAYS one o’clock in the afternoon. It’s Zed’s basement, really, and Zed is CBS Sports. Right this way, Colts fans. You there, bring out the gimp. [pulls Spero Dedes and Jay Feely out of a crate]
They may be fine and decent gentlemen, Spero and Jay, but they are a constant reminder of our national insignificance. They’re the Bizarro Banner no franchise wants to hang. And yet here they are, every Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp, waving sadly in our airwaves commemorating just how much nobody wants to watch this team play football.
Secondly, the path to not-Speroville is paved with wins over the likes of Jacoby Brissett’s Dolphins. Derek is exactly right.
RUBINO: Historic-cultural sidebar question about Indianapolis and Miami: Why are there so many Dolphins fans here? Dig the colors? Strong Mark Duper love? Isotoner fetishists? This team hasn’t been on my radar since Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
SCHULTZ: I don’t get it at all, man. I don’t know how that franchise has any fans, much less fans across the country. My biggest fear whenever the Colts face the Dolphins is the Colts someday becoming the Dolphins. Miami is one of those franchises that’s in the worst possible place to be in pro sports: not bad enough to get high-end, franchise-altering draft picks, not good enough to be relevant. They had an outlier 1-15 season in 2007, but outside of that, they’re 158-162 in the 21st century with zero playoff wins. They have basically gone 7-9 for 20 straight seasons. Does it get more “meh” than that? Do you remember a single moment that involved the Miami Dolphins since the Clinton Administration? Has anyone actually owned a Miami Dolphin for a full season in Fantasy Football the last 20 years? They’re like the Avon, Indiana, of NFL franchises—you’re aware of its existence and it’s not completely terrible, but there’s also not a single thing interesting about it.
MILLER: This is neither here nor there, but Hard Rock Stadium looks like if Wimbledon got into the drug game reluctantly and had to move to South Florida just to lay low—to wait for shit to cool down back in London. It’s not a football stadium. It’s a 65,000-seat cigarette boat that “knows a guy” in Malta. I rather like it.
RUBINO: Total garbage stadium. Miami season tickets holders get $75 off their first CoolSculpting session, a Don Strock bobblehead, and city guide to Robert Kraft’s favorite massage parlors, Rub Hubs.
MILLER: Nobody will remember the particulars of this game, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important—or as important as a Week 4 game in Miami can possibly be, that is. We’ll remember that Jacoby did not go all Kill Bill on his former associates. We’ll remember Mo Alie-Cox doing cool Mo Alie-Cox things, maybe. But mostly we’ll remember how disaster was averted, how we were left hoping against hope that this season isn’t a complete wash just yet. That is where its importance rests.
More Spero-worthy, it could not have been. Whatever. We’re on to Baltimore. See you next week.