THE QUEEN has died. The world is burning, but not the parts that are drowning. The chaos of the school year is in full swing now; there are lunches to be made each morning under intense physical and mental duress, but you can’t make that. Or that. (Definitely not that, what is your deal.) The kids are fighting, of course, and one of them needs a quick ride this afternoon to their soccer scrimmage in Toledo. Another needs the name of an electrician who doesn’t ask questions—no reason. Oh, and America’s nuclear secrets are now stored at the West Palm Beach Wendy’s on Okeechobee Boulevard, which people seem strangely cool with.
I get it. It’s a lot. Nobody expects you to keep abreast of such supposedly frivolous things as “the Colts.” Or “remembering stuff.” Or the fact that the NFL season kicks off tonight. That’s my job! You’ve got bigger fish to air fry. Let’s get you up to speed …
You probably don’t recall, but last year’s Colts season did not end on a super-great note. Some people claim that the Colts limped to the finish line, but those people are being too kind. Limping implies the presence of some determination. Some competitiveness. Some fight! Limping leaves the impression that their spirit was willing, but alas, their flesh was unable! (Curse these handsome calves!!) That impression would be misleading, of course. The Colts demonstrated all the spirit of a CPAP machine. (Their flesh was still woefully unable, though. That part is true.) Limping does not capture the oomph of the catastrophe.
To be more accurate, over the final two weeks of last season, the Colts sewer line collapsed to the finish line, killing 103 and displacing millions. Then they threw up on Sen. Richard Lugar’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, on accident. Then they flew home and cleaned out their lockers at the facility. Then the playoffs began. I’m assuming that is all in the last episode of Hard Knocks that nobody had the stomach to watch.
Was it the most gruesome and prolonged late-season collapse in Indianapolis sports history? You bet your Mike Vanderjagt jersey it was! It was a miserable experience, stem to stern! People lost their families. But it was necessary. And in the end, it proved beneficial to everyone involved (sans the lost-family folk).
Make no mistake: With or without The Meltdown™, the Colts had been rushing right toward an existential crisis. After the Jaguars loss, though, they were thrust head first into the cold and unforgiving foyer of the NFL abyss—that bottomless pit of sustained irrelevancy and elite running attacks and way too many 1 p.m. regional games—right on the verge of becoming the one thing they swore they never would: a REAL AFC South team, through and through. One of them. You know, a broke-ass NFL Europe franchise masquerading as a legitimate outfit. Jesus. That was a bridge too far, obviously. Drastic times and so forth.
Fast forward a few months, the Colts, out of sheer necessity, did most of the Football Things™ necessary to theoretically peel back from the abyss. Enough to please the experts around here, at least. Namely, Jim Irsay shoved Carson Wentz into a flaming peat bog—left handed—a move that went a shockingly long way toward clearing out the stench of last year’s sewer line collapse. There were other key transactions as well involving various coaches and players, but they are boring and we do not have the bandwidth for them. We are not Football People here, and we are not terribly interested in how the sausage gets made. Gross.
What we are interested in is that juice (mmmmm, sausage juice)—that je ne sais quoi—that accompanies every fun and cool Colts team. And I’ll be goddamned, but against all odds and logic and common sense, THIS👏TEAM’S👏GOT👏THAT👏JUICE. They do. They got it in spades, somehow—this after they were running a $8,000,000,000,000,000 juice deficit in January.
A stunning turnaround, really. Possibly supernatural. No notes. Go Horse.
Colts 24, Texans 13
Season record: 12-5
AFC South standing: 1st
Season ends: AFC Championship Game (at Arrowhead)