At some point GM Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich have to realize they need to surround their franchise quarterback with quality players. Surprisingly, tight end Eric Ebron has been Andrew Luck’s most consistent target. After being released by the Lion’s in the offseason because of sub-par production and many drops, he’s quickly become the Colts most reliable receiver. With 30 receptions, 326 yards, and 6 touchdowns Ebron has been one of the few bright spots in the Colts offense.
With over $50 million in cap room, many wonder what Ballard’s long term plan is for Indianapolis, and why the Colts are so hesitant to make a splash in the form of a trade or big free agent signing. With injuries piling up, and receivers dropping passes left and right, the now 1-5 Colts have to be feeling some aggravation. With wide receiver Dez Bryant still a free agent, the Steelers reportedly interested in a trade of Le’Veon Bell, and recent news of the Raiders shopping wide receiver Amari Cooper, an assortment of options are certainly out there for Indianapolis, they just have to be willing to deal.
Indianapolis was competitive at times in today’s game, even holding the lead 13-10 in the first quarter (albeit for just 8 minutes or so). However, they found themselves down 30-13 just a few minutes into the second half, and couldn’t do enough to overcome the Jets big lead.
Cutting the Jets lead down to 6 points in the 4th, the Colts couldn’t get out of their own way as they saw the Jets score just enough to keep them at bay. A late Indianapolis touchdown would bring the score to 42-34, but a failed onside kick would allow the Jets to kneel down and bring the game to an end.
A few of the big things Indianapolis is struggling with right now are the following:
Turnovers: With 3 interceptions on the day (two due to drops), Andrew Luck and the Colts offense can’t seem to find rhythm. Adding in a Robert Turbin fumble brought the turnover total to 4 on the day. You can’t win the game, if you can’t control and protect the ball. Indianapolis’ wide receivers added another 6 drops this week, and have the coaching staff and fans missing the consistency of T.Y. Hilton even more.
Time of possession: Echoing my last point, you can’t win if you don’t have the ball. The Colts are averaging less than 25 minutes with the ball and failed to eclipse 23 on Sunday. While 34 offensive points is impressive with the amount of time used, the 4 offensive turnovers gave the Jets short areas to work with, and allowed them too many opportunities to extend their lead.
Injuries: We get it…its the NFL and injuries are inevitable. However, there’s a difference between having a cold and having the plague. This Indianapolis team unfortunately has the latter. With stars like pro bowlers Jack Doyle, Matt Slauson, and T.Y. Hilton on the sideline, the “next man up” mantra is starting to sound like a broken record. It’s already difficult to win in the NFL, but when you’re working with 2nd and 3rd stringers instead of the regular starters, it makes it that much harder.
Preview for next week:
The Colts’ next contest will be a home game against Buffalo next Sunday. Buffalo may be without starting quarterback Josh Allen, as he injured his elbow late in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans. The Colts will look to get more key players back next week. T.Y. Hilton has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, and Jack Doyle hasn’t been active since Indianapolis’ win against the Redskins in week 2. Stay tuned for a game preview later this week to highlight the Indianapolis vs Buffalo matchup.