Colts sit at 1-3 as they prepare to face Patriots on Thursday night

This past Sunday, head coach Frank Reich may have made the best, bad decision in the history of Colts football. Facing a 4th and 4 on their own 43 yard line in OT, Frank Reich chose to gamble. He chose to put the game in his best player’s hands, but unfortunately Luck (and Chester Rogers) couldn’t deliver. Three plays later, the Houston Texans would take the victory on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 37 yard field goal.

Sometimes though, it’s what you learn in losses that make you a better, more resilient team. By taking that shot, and putting his confidence in the offense to go make a play, Frank Reich now has everyone on the same page. This head coach doesn’t want to dwell on the what if’s, he wants it black and white. Win or lose, no grey areas. He wants his team to be aggressive. He wants his team to have, “an obsession to finish”.

With the Colts now at 1-3, it’s left many fans disgruntled. Critical turnovers, some key injuries, and costly penalties have shown that missing a couple of the little things are what can turn a spotless record into one that’s sub par. In week one, it was a Jack Doyle fumble, in week 3 it was penalties and poor execution in the red zone, and week 4 it was 14 points given up off of turnovers.

Now the Colts will go to Foxboro, and kick off week 5 action Thursday against the New England Patriots. This will be their toughest test so far. It won’t be tough for the obvious reasons of New England playing at home, or because Tom Brady is under center for the Pats. The game will be tough because there’s an urgency to win, and a stigma that says the Colts can’t/won’t win this game. The media says they won’t, the fans say they won’t, the casinos say they won’t, and history says they won’t. The Colts haven’t beaten the Patriots this decade, as New England has gone 7-0 in their matchups since 2010. Andrew Luck, who entered the league in 2012, is 0-5 in those matchups.

Maybe it’s time for a Colts win. At 2-2, New England isn’t exactly playing their best football. They still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but something seems a bit off. Aside from their week 4 win over the Miami Dolphins, they look out of sync. Taking losses to Detroit and Jacksonville, they’ve shown that they have weaknesses, and that they aren’t the super heroes they have been in the past.

If Indianapolis can play its best game of the season, they just might have a shot at taking out the Patriots and beginning a string of victories. After Thursday, they’ll have two games against rookie quarterbacks (Sam Darnold-Jets and Josh Allen-Bills), and then head to Oakland to play a Raiders team that seems to lack an identity since trading away Khalil Mack. Those 3 teams only have 3 wins collectively (3-9 overall). This could put Indianapolis in a more reasonable spot when they hit the bye in week 9.

Before the “easy” games though, the Colts have an opportunity to stick it to Josh McDaniels who left them at the alter during the off-season coaching search. Who better to help them, than the former Eagles offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, who beat them in the Super Bowl in February? They also have the opportunity to make this a rivalry again, because let’s be honest…there has been nothing resembling competitiveness in this series for almost a decade.

This week, I’m predicting more of the same in this series. Indianapolis came out of the Texans game really banged up. On Monday, they had 8 players who didn’t practice, and several more on a limited practice. That may seem natural for a Monday any other week, but knowing that they play Thursday night is cause for concern. It’s not rotational players getting injured either, it’s the starters. Notable injuries on the Did Not Practice list are as follows:

Wide Receiver-T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring)

Tight End-Jack Doyle (hip)

Linebacker-Darius Leonard (ankle)

Center-Ryan Kelly (hand)

Cornerback-Nate Hairston (ankle)

Defensive Tackle-Hassan Ridgeway (calf)

Cornerback-Quincy Wilson (concussion)

Cornerback-Kenny Moore (concussion)

With these big names here, and several others, such as left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) practicing on a limited basis, the Colts are in trouble if they can’t find a magic healing elixir by Thursday.

IND: 20 NE: 38

Photo credit: USA Today Sports

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