It came as little surprise that a game that many felt would be one-sided turned into a complete rout before the end of the first quarter.
The final score, 62-7, pretty much speaks for itself about the game. There isn’t much to say about the Colts at this point that fans don’t already know—they’re in trouble, and the rest of the season doesn’t look any cheerier than what’s past.
Over the next nine slides, we will go through some observations collected throughout the course of the game, some of them with an eye towards future games. Hopefully, the Colts will manage to bounce back from this painful blowout next week against the Tennessee Titans.
It might be the best for the Colts to try throwing the season in a bid for Andrew Luck, but the Colts don’t seem about to give up the ghost quite yet.
They sent a message beginning with the first play from scrimmage in the game, sending a shot deep downfield to Pierre Garcon that was perhaps a foot short of becoming a touchdown.
Even though they played from behind for almost the entire game, the long bombs continued.
In a way, it was a little bit sad to watch the Colts pin their hopes on connecting one of those long plays rather than trying harder to string a cohesive drive together.
Despite their 0-6 record, the Colts are finding new ways to signal to the league that they aren’t ready to give up. It’s simply a shame that nothing they do seems to work out in their favor.
The no-huddle offense is an OK idea for the Colts in theory, but in practice the Colts need more time to put everything together.
It also seems that the Colts didn’t quite account for the noise that Saints fans can generate inside their domes.
The first-quarter fumble was a clear indicator that the offense isn’t close enough to being on the same page to function without a huddle. The Colts wisely retreated into a more traditional offense fairly quickly, but not before more damage had been done than the team could recover from.
When it comes down to it, Curtis Painter may have what it takes to be good. The problem is that he’s simply too slow to achieve much.
Tonight was Painter’s biggest challenge to date, and it really proved that he’s got a long way to grow.
The NFL moves incredibly quickly, a pace that Painter doesn’t seem quite able to keep up with. It seems as though he is constantly just a step behind where he needs to be in every aspect of the game.
His numbers tonight were telling—9-of-17 passes for just 67 yards and two turnovers.
The Colts’ staff and players can put as much of an optimistic face on it as they want, but it’s clear that the Curtis Painter experiment isn’t working out.
Painter simply lacks the skill set necessary to succeed right away in the NFL. For a team that still stocks many potent weapons both offensively and defensively, the learning curve that Painter is showing is simply not acceptable.
There are a lot of games between now and either the end of the season or the theoretical return of Peyton Manning, whichever comes first.
The Colts are going to have to figure out whether they want to find a solution, or if Painter is an acceptable way for the organization to look as though they’re trying, while at the same time putting them in a prime position to draft Andrew Luck.
While it was painful by proxy to watch Joseph Addai try to take the field with his hamstring injury, watching his backup give it a shot was one of the highlights of the game.
Delone Carter carried the ball 10 times for 89 yards and a touchdown, the majority of his touches coming on the Colts’ only sustained drive of the game.
If Addai needs to rest his injuries, the Colts can rest assured that at least on the running front they will be able to keep moving forward.
Certainly, Carter cannot help his team to become any worse.
By the middle of the third quarter, it was clear that the Colts’ offense had mentally checked out.
The protection up front was little better than a joke. The running game had (understandably) been abandoned. The wide receivers were going through the motions in their route running, but they had clearly stopped caring.
After delivering a pick-six to the Saints’ defense, Curtis Painter was removed from the game, handing a quarter of garbage playing time to third-string (or was that fourth-string?) quarterback Dan Orlovsky.
At least Orlovsky was able to string some plays together, although by that point the Saints could certainly afford to relax a bit defensively.
Turnovers don’t just give the other team the opportunity to put points on the board. They also take away opportunities for your team to cash in on offensive possessions.
Thinking of it that way, a single turnover can potentially result in a net loss of 14 points for the team that gave up the ball.
The Colts gave up the ball three times tonight, and the Saints capitalized on all of them.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Colts were in a 21-point hole. The defense may have been responsible for touchdowns ultimately being scored, but the offense was responsible for giving the potent Saints offense a short field twice.
When teams blitz, they leave themselves open somewhere else defensively. Sure, they get the advantage of added pressure on the quarterback, but if the quarterback can get rid of the ball quickly then the defense is shorthanded down the field.
Those big plays won’t happen every time, but the great quarterbacks will make the play much more often than they succumb to the additional pressure up front.
Drew Brees demonstrated that to the Colts tonight as they tried to bring pressure, making them pay for their attempted blitz.
Not too long ago, the Colts defense was one of the better groups in the league. Now, although much of the composition remains the same, the spark has gone.
It is entirely possible that Peyton Manning’s presence on the other side of the ball helped to cast a golden glow over the defense in previous years. Defense is a little bit different when your team is in the lead, or when you know that you have a potent playmaker offensively.