It wasn't so long ago that I would look at a box score from the Colts game and see that they scored 44 points on any given Sunday. Other times, it might be 38 or 41 or 30. However, this season, if they total 44 points between two games, they consider that lucky.
On Sunday, the Colts beat the Browns 10-6. Yes, that was the final score. The once mighty Colts' offense only managed 10 points the entire game. All of their usual offensive weapons were playing, so there is no excuse for them not to be scoring points. How is it possible then that this team can't put up the points they used to?
For starters, the offensive line seems to have forgotten how to block. Peyton seems to get sacked more this year than he has over the past several years. Not to mention all of the penalties they have racked up on false starts. If the offensive line doesn't start blocking and being more disciplined, things are going to get much worse.
Joseph Addai has battled his own set of injuries this season, but it seems that no matter if the Colts stick to the ground game or the passing game, Addai isn't getting much done. Against Cleveland, he ran for a total of 57 yards and fumbled once. He didn't score a touchdown, but out of all the offensive guys, he ran for the most yards.
Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are considered to be a force amongst wide receivers, yet they only combined for a total of 73 yards. A total of 73 yards for two of the biggest catalysts for this offense...not good at all. Harrison was injured for most of last season, but he and Manning have been playing together long enough that there should be no timing issues.
Anthony Gonzalez is probably the most underrated factor on the offense. He only ran for 13 yards on Sunday, but given the opportunity, there is a good chance he could seriously improve that number.
My buddy Dallas Clark only managed 24 yards on the day, and that is because he is used as a blocker too much for the offense. Clark is a tight end and therefore has the ability to block and eat up yards almost simultaneously. He's big and strong and should be able to run people over while running into the end zone.
The biggest indicator that something is seriously wrong is that Peyton only threw for 125 yards and was picked off twice. This is a guy that normally throws 125 yards in a half and sometimes a quarter, and is totalling out at 125 yards.
So how do they go about fixing this? I'm sure the coaching staff are scratching their heads trying to figure this out, and hopefully these ideas come to them.
In order for the Colts to not only make the playoffs but win in the playoffs, the offensive line has to start stepping it up. They need to create holes for guys like Addai and Rhodes to run through. Without those holes and the opportunity for Peyton to use that gun he has for an arm, the team won't be able to keep up with teams like the Steelers, Patriots, and Jets.
The offensive coordinator needs to put a little more faith in Gonzalez and Clark. Since Harrison and Wayne aren't really getting the job done, it's time to start throwing to these other guys. Gonzalez has the speed to run good routes and get open for Manning, and Clark has the strength to eat up yardage with a few people on his back if necessary.
The Colts can no longer settle for putting up three points on a possession. Sure Vinatieri has been solid all season (Despite the field goal he missed against Cleveland) but the Colts can't be satisfied with simply getting into field goal range. In order to be successful they need to put up six points on a possession, and then call on Vinatieri to make it seven.
Indy caught a break in squeaking by Cleveland, but unless they make these changes to bolster their offense, they are going to be going home sooner than they or their fans want to.