For the second week in a row, the depleted Colts faced a long-time conference foe. For the second week in a row, injuries were an undercurrent of the game. And for the second week in a row, the Colts couldn’t get it done. Even with home field advantage – which has been strong this year – and even with the Chargers also having their share of injury troubles, the Colts lost. The key was that the Chargers ignored the Colts’ run game, instead focusing on the pass rush against the lighter and less experienced O-Line.
The Colts actually got off to a fast start, driving 78 yards over 12 plays scoring on a Tamme touchdown. It was easy to be fooled into thinking that maybe this game would be different than the last two. Unfortunately, the game was all Chargers after that, with 4 interceptions of Manning (2 going for touchdowns), a fumble lost by Javarris James (who was injured on the play) and the Colts with absolutely no run game at all.
The number of times Donald Brown got the ball and ran straight into the back of a Colts lineman was maddening. The Chargers didn’t respect the run game, nor did they need to. They mostly sat back and waited for Manning, who was rather uncharacteristic in some of his stare-downs, to throw. And then they capitalized on turnovers, scoring 23 points off of them.
It’s difficult to find anything positive to this game, but I’ll name a few: first, the AFC South is still very much within reach; second, the Colts get another home game next week against an inconsistent Cowboys team; and finally, a number of players should be back next week. It seems as though Hart is very close, Addai may be getting closer, and Sanders may even see some time next week. Tryon had limited practice this week, so there’s hope he’ll come back.
The question Colts fans must ask themselves is whether it’s worth it to get to the playoffs with this O-Line and all the obvious flaws, or better to not make it this year and get a better draft pick. I know I don’t want to hear how Peyton choked in the playoffs again (which will be what is said if they go 1-and-done, despite whether it’s warranted).