Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts: 4 Reasons They Won't Win Without Him
This puts the once-dominant Colts at 0-4. It is clear that the loss of their franchise quarterback and team leader, Peyton Manning, has crippled them.
At this point it looks as if Manning is as good as done for the rest of the season. The Colts simply aren't talented enough to make any sort of a run at the playoffs without him under center.
However, the Colts issues run deeper than simply not having Manning.
Here are four reasons Indy won't win without him.
Lack of Defense
This has been a major issue for the Colts the past few years even with Peyton Manning in the starting lineup.
The Colts' defense has been less than impressive for some time, and it is really showing now that they don't have an offense that can keep them in games.
They are currently allowing the fifth-most points in the NFL.
They have proven that they can neither hold a lead nor contain an offense to give their offense a chance to get back in the game.
The Colts still have some very talented players, such as Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. However, there is only so much these two can do when the rest of the squad is coming up short.
The Running Game
The Colts' running game has struggled almost as much as the passing so far this season.
Joseph Addai's stats appear to suggest otherwise. His numbers look decent, especially his 4.6 yards per carry average. However, that stat is somewhat deceiving.
Addai is only averaging 12.5 carries per game. He has yet to break 100 yards rushing in a single game this year and only has one touchdown all season.
You would think that the current quarterback struggles would cause the Colts to let Addai and company pound the rock for better or worse.
Yet, the most carries he has had in one game was 17 against the Steelers. That was his best game thus far this season.
I believe that the Colts need to put some more weight on Addai's shoulders. It is understandably difficult because they are often playing from behind, but you have to go with what works.
Addai most likely will not be able to maintain that YPC average with more carries and has shown a history of getting hurt.
It is a high-risk, high-reward situation for the Colts, but at this point they need to try something.
No Serviceable Quarterback Replacement
When it was clear that Manning wasn't going to be ready for the start of the season, the Colts turned to Kerry Collins rather than backup Curtis Painter.
Collins started the first three weeks of the season and put up pitiful numbers. His completion percentage was under 50 and he was only able to throw for two touchdowns.
In Week 4 the Colts turned to Curtis Painter for a change of pace.
While it appears that his performance was better by putting up 281 passing yards against the Buccaneers, most of those yards came from two big plays from Pierre Garcon.
Painter certainly completed those passes, but Garcon is responsible for the big plays that followed after the catch.
I don't think that anyone expected Painter or Collins to fill Peyton Manning's shoes. However, I believe the hope was that it wouldn't come to this.
Indy is going to have a hard time beating anyone with no passing game.
Peyton Manning has always received huge amounts of praise for his ability to change the play on the field and make adjustments after reading the defense.
With long-time offensive coordinator Tom Moore gone, the offense is in shambles. Caldwell has taken some heat for his coaching ability.
There have even been rumors that he isn't involved in who is in the starting lineup.
The claim from the released Colts cornerback may or may not be true. Yet, when it comes to things like this, if there is smoke, there is usually a fire.
The Colts appear to have lost their biggest leader in Peyton Manning. If there is no one to fill his role with leadership and skill set on the field, than the Colts will struggle to beat anyone.
They do have some very winnable games left on their schedule. I'm by no means ready to claim that the Colts will go 0-16.
However, there are some serious holes in this team that need to be fixed. If nothing improves, the Colts are on a very slippery slope that could lead to a very ugly finish.