After being held scoreless in the first half of their season-opener, the Indianapolis Colts were held scoreless until the fourth quarter of their home-opener, ultimately losing to the New York Jets, 20-7, on Monday Night Football.
The reaction in Indy? Not good.
“Well, the fans aren’t happy,” Indianapolis 1430 CBS Sports Radio host Kent Sterling said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The media’s not happy, but Chuck Pagano reminded us during his post-game comments a couple of times that this is exactly where they were last year. The Colts lost the opener to the Broncos and then on Monday night they played against the Eagles. They lost that game, too. They were 0-2. They won 11 of their next 14. They wind up 11-5 and in the AFC Championship game. But this just feels different. This just doesn’t feel right. It just looks discombobulated. There’s something wrong with this team and it’s really hard to put your finger on, but Andrew Luck looks a little bit lost – and Andrew Luck shouldn’t look lost. This is his fourth year.”
Luck struggled mightily against the Jets, throwing for 250 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He also fumbled. Frank Gore fumbled as well – untouched, on the goal line, on the 18th play of a 79-yard drive to open the second half.
“Those aren’t the kinds of plays that those two guys are being relied upon to provide,” Sterling said.
But does Luck look lost because of changes to the offense or because he’s constantly been under duress?
“I think it’s because he’s under duress,” Sterling said. “There have been a lot of blitz packages. The offensive line is different from last year. Picking up these blitzes is not something that the Colts are doing maybe as well as they should, and they really face two of the best defensive coaches in the NFL the first two weeks in Rex Ryan and then Todd Bowles. Todd Bowles, when he faced the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck in 2013, it was a lot of the same thing. Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals back in ’13, and he really put Andrew Luck in bad position after bad position. The Cardinals won that game, 40-11, and this looked a lot like that.”
Gore, aside from the fumble, wasn’t bad against the Jets. He carried 15 times for 57 yards and had several nice runs called back for holding.
“They need kind of what he brought tonight,” Sterling said. “Tonight he was pretty good. Minus the fumble, he showed burst for a 32-year-old running back. That was kind of the thing that fans were looking for, the media was looking for and I know the coaches have been looking for. They’re hoping that Frank Gore hasn’t passed that period of time where he can be a productive running back. I think he showed tonight that he can be productive. In the first game, he says he drank too much energy drink and wound up getting cramps as a result, so we give him a pass on that. Tonight, I thought he looked pretty good – except for that fumble. It seemed like in the second half they figured some things out. If Gore doesn’t put it on the turf – no contact, he just kind of coughed it up – but if he doesn’t put it on the turf, the Colts, for as poorly as they played, might have won this game.”