Falling to 1-4, the heavily injured Colts just couldn’t keep pace with Tom Brady. Starting the game off, New England marched down the field with a 12 play, 75 yard drive that lasted just over six minutes. This drive, capped by 3rd and Goal pass from Brady to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, would set the tone for the rest of the game. With 9 players missing to start the game, and several more injured throughout Thursday’s contest, the Colts were scraping the bottom of the depth chart by the end of the night.
The Patriots never trailed in this game. Tom Brady would score four total touchdowns (3 passing 1 rushing), including his 500th passing touchdown of his career. Aside from 2 tipped passes that led to interceptions, Brady played flawlessly. Taking advantage of Colts turnovers, and picking the secondary apart for most of the night, Brady was classic Brady, and that was unfortunate for Indianapolis, as the end of the game favored New England 38-24.
The Good: Andrew Luck is possibly playing his best football of his career. Completing 78 of 123 pass attempts (An NFL record for passes in a five day stretch), Luck has been incredibly efficient. He has thrown for over 800 yards and has a 7:2 touchdown to interception ratio in the last two games. What’s crazy, is that Colts receivers have dropped over a dozen catchable balls in the two game stretch. If he and the receivers can get on the page going forward, this could be a career year for Luck and the Indianapolis offense.
The Bad: As good as Luck is playing, he can’t do everything. The lack of a running game, and injuries piling up, have the Colts forcing Andrew Luck to pick up the slack and put the team on his surgically repaired shoulder. Although the Colts did manage to rush for 4.0 yards per carry on Thursday, the 24-3 deficit in the first half kept them from consistently running the ball. Luck knows passing this much is not sustainable, and head coach Frank Reich echoes those thoughts. Drops that lead to turnovers and drops that could’ve been touchdowns have plagued Indianapolis since the beginning of the season as well. The Colts have dropped over a dozen passes the last two games, and with the depleted receiving core, it doesn’t look to get better.
The Ugly: I’ll say it louder for those in the back…INJURIES! Missing the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle and Marlon Mack is tough. Then you add in all the defensive absences, and you have a big problem. Injuries to Darius Leonard, Kenny Moore II, Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson have the Colts looking very deep in their depth chart. The Colts preach next man up, and expect all members of the team to perform as if they were starting, but you’ve got to admit that the lack of primary players played a huge difference in Thursday’s matchup. Only 44 players were dressed for Thursday’s game due to the amount of player who are banged up.
Indianapolis’ next test will be in the Meadowlands, as they travel to New York to face the Jets. This will be the Colts 4th away game in 6 weeks. Indy has a 10 day gap in action, so hopefully the extra time to prepare will allow them to get healthy. The Jets are the first of three, 1-3 teams that the Colts will face before the bye. Indy faces rookie quarterbacks over the next two weeks, and will travel to Oakland to face the now Khalil Mack-less Raiders in week 8. They have a good opportunity to go streaking, and put some check marks in the win column before a week 9 bye week. Perhaps they can pull it around and reach 4-4?
Picture Credit Jim Davis/ Boston Globe