Any time a franchise quarterback goes down, it’s natural to assume his team is going to be worse off without him. This is especially true in the modern era when the passing game is more vital to success than it’s ever been before, and even more so when the team in question relies on its quarterback to the extent that Indianapolis does.
But when a former 10-6 playoff team is down 34-0 to a team they beat 30-17 in their last meeting and the only discernible difference is the absence of one particular player, there have to be other factors at play.
Jim Caldwell has been a voiceless, anonymous ghost his entire career, and while the public has so far overlooked his complete lack of a presence because his team just kept on winning, there’s no way he’ll be able to continue evading mass scrutiny if the Colts keep playing the way they did today.
The Colts were outplayed in every aspect of this game.
They gave up 363 total yards in the first half alone. They gave up passing touchdowns. Rushing touchdowns. Special teams touchdowns. They converted only one third down the entire game, while letting Houston rack up 26 total first-down plays (12 rushing, 13 passing), and their first trip to the red zone didn’t take place until the fourth quarter, when the game was already well out of reach.
If there isn’t significant improvement in all areas next week, backlash against Caldwell will begin to mount.