This game wasn't bad.
Ok, yes, losing to the Jaguars is embarrassing. The team is being led by one of the worst starting quarterbacks I've seen in a long time in Blaine Gabbert.
But, not to be out done, Curtis Painter had an even worse day than the rookie, throwing for just 94 yards on 13 for 19, and two interceptions.
But, quarterback play aside, the Colts team was actually competent. Despite the fact that the Colts' offense turned the ball over inside their own 20 twice, the defense held them to 17 points for the whole game. Yes, Maurice Jones Drew ran for 114 yards, but those yards weren't resulting in anything positive for the Jaguars, as they only put together two scoring drives. While the defense played well (albeit against the worst offense in the league) the special teams was also playing well, not allowing big plays and forcing fair catches on punts.
But the QB play is despicable. In a league that is driven by the quarterback and pass offense, the quarterback is the single most important position for any NFL team. But that importance is severely increased for the Colts, whose entire offensive system for the last 13 years has been built around the quarterback, and that quarterback is one of, if not the, best in the history of the league. Curtis Painter never would have been more than a backup as a quarterback, and if you were expecting him to improve dramatically, well then you've been fooled.
It's easy to find things to complain about things about the franchise when that's all you're looking for. When a team is 0-10, there's plenty of bad to go around.
But, as Nate Dunlevy tells us, the truth is boring. The Colts have been the leagues most quarterback-reliant team in the league for years. There have been other teams who have leaned on their quarterback in NFL history, but none of them have ever had the sustained success of the Colts. When the all-time great, sure-fire Hall of Famer quarterback is replaced by a below average backup (combined with poor coaching), the team is going to be bad.
The fans should expect days like yesterday, where the most of the team plays sufficiently, but poor quarterback play dooms them. But nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to go 0-10, or 0-16. But the Colts have a shot at it. Everything that could have gone wrong, has for the Colts. Manning goes down, Brackett and Bullitt go on IR early, the OL suffers a plethora of injuries (Ben Ijalana being the most detrimental in my opinion), Foster and Nevis go down, and the team has choked on several occasions.
With a healthy team, even this one was able to compete with the Jaguars, the Steelers, the Chiefs, the Browns, and the Buccaneers. But without Manning (who has inaccurately been called a choker throughout his career), the team has failed to finish those games.
The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is minuscule. The Colts could have very easily one any of those five games above. If luck would have gone their way, it's conceivable that they'd have a couple wins, even five were possible.
But, fans don't want to sit back and wait until next year. That's too far away. Instead we sit on our computers, ranting and wailing about everything imaginable, still not realizing how unprecedented the Colts' run of success has been. Criticism is welcome, but it is amusing, yet mind-blowing, that with each loss more people say "That's it! I have no patience left! This is the last straw!"
Really? You're just now realizing that the Colts would be bad without Peyton Manning? That without a captain, a centerpiece, an engine, the team would have the potential to lose every game? You didn't realize that this game against the Jaguars would likely be a loss, simply because the offense has shown nothing under the current quarterback?
You're surprised at all this?
This season has shown us some things, like the fact that most of the coaching staff is more inept than I personally ever thought. Or that Donald Brown is not, in fact, a bust. And yes, Mike Pollak is bad (although he does have some value as a backup guard and possible future center).
The new offensive line coach, Pete Metzelaars has done a tremendous job. Larry Coyer and defensive backs coach Alan Willams? Not so much.
Pierre Garcon does have the potential to be a number one receiver, and has taken steps toward that this season. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are, sadly, regressing quickly.
Not everything this year has been expected, but the end result should have been. Sure, I expected to eke a win out here or there, giving us one or two at this point.
But with the injuries and failure to close games, I'm not surprised to have lost any of the past 10 games. Houston: We knew this was going to be ugly.
Cleveland: Thought that Colts had a chance to get a win. Turns out they did… but bad QB play killed it.
Pittsburgh: Assumed it would be a massacre, but it turned out to be the closest game all season.
Tampa Bay: Again, assumed it would be ugly, but Colts had a chance in this one.
Kansas City: Winnable game, and that's what it turned out to be. But, again, they choked.
Cincinnati: Fans underestimated the Bengals, who are now 6-3.
New Orleans: With the Colts' secondary, we knew this would be embarrassing.
Tennessee: This is one that was worse than I assumed it would be, as offensive turnovers put us in a hole early.
Atlanta: Similar to NO, in the fact that it was exactly what we expected it to be.
Jaguars: Had a chance to win, but QB ineptitude was too much to overcome.
Is it hard to believe that the Colts would lose any of those games? Don't be surprised when the expected results occur. It's going to continue.