Who’s ready to talk about your FIRST-PLACE Indianapolis Colts?!?! Welcome back to Year Three of the best—and definitely smartest/most serious—Colts’ game recaps around! Editor-in-chief Michael Rubino couldn’t make it for the opener, but I’m Derek Schultz, who has been published more than twice but fewer than four times. I’m joined by IM’s Erratic-in-chief, Nate Miller, who is still not allowed near the actual magazine (or anything flammable).
In Week 1, the Colts accomplished two massive goals by earning a hard-fought tie against an amazing Texans team yesterday: They snapped their eight-year opening-week losing streak and they took the first step toward ending a seven-year AFC South drought. Well, it was a tie, so I don’t know if it was toward. A sideways step? It sure as hell wasn’t backward, though! That’s right, with a sparkling record of 0-0-1, the Colts are top dogs in the vaunted AFC South, matched only by Houston (also 0-0-1). Stupid Tennessee (0-1-0) and crappy Jacksonville (0-1-0) both lost on Sunday, meaning the Colts’ epic overtime draw puts them on the mountaintop! Huzzah! No, they’re not going to go 16-0-0 like the 1972 Dolphins, but what matters is the Colts control their own destiny for the division. I’m guessing 8-7-2 or perhaps 7-6-4 can get it done.
So … why’s everyone so angry???
MILLER: I think, in general, ties confuse and irritate us. The whole concept is un-American. That’s why everyone here secretly hates soccer. Dan Campbell chokes up with a quiet, seething rage whenever someone reminds him that there are ties in the NFL.
So we don’t like ties. Know what else we don’t like, Derek?? AMASSING NEARLY 3,000 YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE AGAINST A SUNBELT SCHOOL AND SCORING ONLY 20 POINTS. Let’s start there.
SCHULTZ: But enough about Georgia State’s offense. In all seriousness, that (the 517 total yards of offense) was perhaps the only real positive thing about the day. The Colts looked like the team we thought they’d be in the final 25 minutes of the game, once the final quarter began. A dropped touchdown pass by one of their Ballard Scrapheap Receivers (I’ve lost track. Was it Ashton Dulin? Zach Pascal? Dontrelle Inman? Blair White?? Who even knows anymore!) was the only thing that prevented the fourth from being a three-touchdown quarter. Their one possession in overtime included four first downs and a field goal attempt that basically any competent kicker can/should make. It was right there for the taking, but when you’re so laughably cringe in the first 75 percent of the game, that result can’t be excused—certainly not against the Texans.
So, Reich? The kicker? The OL? Ballard? Irsay? Who do you take the issue with after 0-0-1 opening week?
MILLER: [rubs WWDCD?—What Would Dan Campbell Do?—bracelet, which is actually the petrified Achilles tendon of a fallen foe] Make examples of the weak-willed; they must pay for their ineptness with their jobs. Make the kicker hitchhike home. Make everyone else do 92 million “up-downs” on the tarmac in Indy. If anyone ever mentions the term “wildcat formation” again, they get harpooned in the neck—no questions asked.
On the other end of the spectrum is my mom, who quite liked how no one had to suffer the indignity of a loss. She just wanted everyone to have a good time, and she thinks that they did, more or less. She’s bummed that the Colts squandered the first three quarters so negligently, but she’s kind of encouraged (?) by the fight they showed to get the game to overtime!
Me? I’ve been swinging violently between those extremes for the better part of 12 hours. This could be a long season.
SCHULTZ: When each season begins, we think we know who teams are, but we rarely really know. That said, it’s hard to envision this Davis Mills and Lovie Smith–led bunch as anything more than a 5-11-1 or 6-10-1 team. Houston is probably a year away from being a year away. With the Colts entering 2022 with a more established core of veterans, a more reliable quarterback, and a coach/GM each at the half-decade mark, I, and basically all of you reading, was expecting more in that opening performance.
Regardless, the time for results is now. No more waiting.
THE CONGREGATION: Hallelujah!!
No more quarterback excuses. No more “this one’s on me” from Reich. No more pass rush–tinkering and wide receiver–defending from Ballard. No more. I don’t think my bar—winning The NFL’s Crappiest Division and (hopefully) getting a playoff win—is unreasonable!
MILLER: Okay, you’re getting kind of intense here I’m just gonna sneak out the ba–
SCHULTZ: Sunday’s performance didn’t nuke that for them, but the first three quarters were a repeat of a lot of the same underperformance and incompetence issues that we’ve seen befall this team recently. It has to change soon, because although the Jaguars are 0-1-0, they are 6-0-0 against the Colts in their home stadium since the 2015 season. (Yes, I’m using three-digits for every team’s record for the rest of the season. Deal with it, TIE-DENIERS.)
See you next week after Jacksonville. What could possibly go wrong???