Quotes and Information in today's Colts Notebook are provided courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Giving up Big Returns
Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots started nicely with the Colts leading as they quickly jumped out to a 14-7 lead, but the momentum quickly turned when the Patriots’ Julian Edelman ran a punt back 68 yards for a touchdown. From there, it became one of those games in which everything seemed to fall apart. The Colts gave up two quick scores without New England’s elite offense even taking the field, part of a 21 point run. Colts Punter Pat McAfee likened it to a perfect storm.
“It was definitely a switch from the penalty getting called back, to me hitting a not so good punt, and then the guy hitting the lane,” McAfee said about Edelman’s return. “It was a perfect storm of all the bad things that could have happened on that play. Whenever you have a quarterback like Tom Brady, you can’t give him points on special teams.
"Yeah, I think whenever you are playing professional athletes, you have to be on your “A” game at all times. Edelman is a heck of a player. We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. Two big returns by the same guy is just not comforting at all.”
Tough Day for Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck posted his fifth 300+ yard passing game, a rookie record. Beyond that, it was a frustrating outing for the young quarterback. Luck threw three interceptions and, despite his yardage total, had a quarterback rating of just 63.3 for the game.
Bruce Arians was asked if the Patriots did anything special to cause Luck to struggle. “Just bad throws,” he said. “No, they didn’t do anything different. That’s all hype. We’ve just got to play better.”
Offensive Tackle Winston Justice is confident in his quarterback’s ability to learn from the unpleasant experience and bounce back. “He’s really good at improving,” Justice said, “using the good and bad to get better. As an NFL player, you have to use those opportunities. I think Andrew is really good at that; he’s really poised and I think he’s going to do a great job getting better.”
“Its fundamentals,” added Arians about Luck’s struggles, particularly his second interception. “ I mean, you can’t throw them that late and he knows it. We talked about it and he was mad at himself. And that is the beauty of him.
“He will come off [the field] and tell you exactly what he is thinking and we don’t hide anything between each other. So, it was something he knew that he couldn’t do and he did it anyway. I don’t think he thought Reggie [Wayne] was going to be that clean. And he threw it out there late and inside and you can’t do that.”
You Don’t Forget a Game Like That
Sunday was tough day to watch, and likely a tough day to be, and Indianapolis Colt. When a team experiences a blowout loss like the one that happened in Massachusetts on Sunday, some might suggest the best thing to do is to erase it, forget it, so one doesn’t dwell on it. Offensive Coordinator/Interim Coach Bruce Arians does not see it that way.
“No, you better remember it,” said Arians. “You better damn remember it. Because you hope to be back here, and you don’t want to forget it. You don’t throw things away in this business, you learn from them. We will watch this tape real hard tomorrow. We won’t burn it and go to the next one. We will watch it and learn from it. Each guy individually and us collectively as a coaching staff and a group. And we will get better for it.”
“Why would you?” Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne said. “Whenever you get taken behind the woodshed it’s kind of hard to forget. Hopefully we take care of business and make sure we come back in this stadium.”
“He knows that football games like this happen,” Running Back Vick Ballard added referring to Coach Arians, “but we have to put it behind us and keep moving forward.”
Learn From it, and Bounce Back from it
These types of games happen in the NFL. The next day, the players relive it all, breaking down every minute detail in the film rooms. They have to learn from what happened, and find everything they can possibly correct. Then, after a day off, it’s back to practice and time to prepare for the next opponent. Much can be learned from a brutal loss like the one the Colts experienced this week.
Colts Kicker Adam Vinatieri, when asked about whether the game could be seen as growing pains for the young team said, “This is one of those games that if you don’t play well and you have a lot of mistakes or things that go the wrong way, any team in this league can embarrass you at any given time. We just need to play a little bit better all the way around. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we just have to play better”
Outside Linebacker Robert Mathis, talking about positives to take from the blowout loss to the Patriots, said, “There is a whole lot because last year at this time we were 0-9, so trust me, if there is anyone that knows how to bounce back, it’s the veterans on this team. We are not going to get our heads down, we are going to take this as a lesson and move on.”
Andrew Luck, on looking forward: “I think we’re going to have to get over this game, obviously. We’re going to have to be critical of ourselves. We do realize we are still in a decent position to hopefully accomplish something.
“Buffalo is the next opponent. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be rockin’ at Lucas Oil [Stadium] hopefully. But, we’ll learn from this though. I don’t think we’ll brush it under the rug and not watch the film; we’ll learn from our mistakes and hopefully improve.”
I do not wish injuries on players, but in this case, I am glad Gronkowski broke his forearm, kudos to the colt that made it happen. This should be a warning to bastard Belichick, and any team that likes to run up the score on opposing teams. Watch your back! He's dumb enough to put the hillbilly out there, then he got what he deserves. Teams have a short memory when you run up the score on them. Besides, it is poor sportsmanship, which Belichick has never had in coaching.
I think the Bills game will really be the make or break point of the season. (The Pats game always had the feel of a pending disaster to me.)
If the Bills are able to light up the defense (a distinct possibility) the magic of ChuckStrong could be used up, and things could go south in a hurry.
It was bad, and it got pretty unwatchable at the end, but it's not as bad as the final score might indicate. Luck had a rookie game, and given it's maybe the 3rd time he's slipped, it's ok. Special teams was terrible, and while they're never amazing, they don't normally look that bad.
The defense gave up "only" 38 points, which I think many people would have found an accurate prediction if you said offense and special teams did their jobs, and even taking away the scores they gave up, they did not.
The defense needs to sit back a bit more against good QB's. The young offense needs more tape like this to study so they can hopefully avoid stupid mistakes. We're all more than used to bad surprise games for special teams.
It's better for them to shoot themselves in the foot now, in a game they were expected to lose and didn't need to win, than to watch it all fall apart in the playoffs when they face some stiff competition. They must limit self inflicted wounds to stand a chance against playoff teams.
@DougEngland That one could be a shootout. The Bills moved the ball really well against the pats if I remember correctly. If they do that and take care of the ball (which they don't usually, but they'll be facing OUR defense), it could be another game where Luck feels he needs to score on every drive.
@Mattrellen Yeah, if you looked at the yards gained, it looks like a pretty even game. That has happened to a lot of Patriots opponents. They're like the 2004 Colts (though some might say, with less class), in that they score at will and have a bend-don't-break, turnover-forcing defense.
I sure hope they bounce back from it. That second half was just a young team having one of those games where everything goes wrong.
@MarcusDugan This actually reminded me a lot of the 2002 season and the 41-0 game against the Jets...not to bring up more bad memories when this one is so fresh...
But it was a game in which the defense wasn't so hot, special teams didn't help at all, and the offense felt the need to score every single time. I suppose that this reminds me of a game played in 2003 (and against a worse opponent) is a good sign that the Colts are well ahead of schedule in rebuilding.
A young team should learn a lot from this, including hopefully Luck learning not to try to be Superman (just as Manning did, though it took him several years to learn to manage bad situations instead of trying to turn them around), and they gain something else to play for...to avoid this feeling again.
Luck is already scary good, but he'll get twice as good once he figures out how to deal with broken plays, but it'll be hard because I've never seen someone make something from nothing like him, but he has to learn that sometimes it's better just to throw it away or even take a sack rather than make a bad throw.
ST was bad, but I'll take it as a blip. Defense was bad, but it was about what we expected against the Pats. 21 points weren't on them and they were put in terrible situations most of the game.