Colts/Bills report card-F
I am going to try not to over-react after 1 game, but that was pretty much a total domination of all 3 phases and a very sloppy and lack luster effort, which like the pre season is kinda hard to understand, with all of the off season programs and pre season to get ready for this game and look like they were not ready to play a football game.
Offense: Is Luck ready to be in the elite group? Not based on that performance, did not show good judgement or display very good accuracy, for most of the game, moreso in the first half. The running game looked good at times, although it was an afterthought once the game got out of hand, but really was an afterthought even early in the game, so much for a balanced attack, I think the game plan was to pass and pass and pass, get a lead, then run the ball, didn't quite work out that way. Gore looked good, for the most part, but spent alot of time on the sidelines, the 2 rookie backups played well. The rushing ( RB's) total for the game was 44 yds, with a 49-17 pass-run ratio. Hilton seemed to be the only receiver on the field the first half ( or the only one who was targeted), then spent alot of the second half on the sidelines. You would think with all of the weapons on the perimeter, the 2 tight ends-who are a matchup nightmare would be a key to the game, were seldom used, except for quick hitters on short routes. The O-line struggled, as was expected, this is one of the best defenses in the league and facing what was hyped as one of the best offenses in the league, it looked like a street fight,on paper, but our offense, did not have an answer. Have to give a failing grade to Hamilton, in his first shot with the loaded offense, his job is to create plays, that will give the players a chance to succeed, he also had no answers and using hindsight, did not a very effective game plan. Johnson did not impress, in game #1.
Defense: the 2 big questions entering the season, were the 2 lines, and alot of focus was on the D-line and the run defense-overall. After 1 game, it does look very promising, giving up 147 yds and almost as many missed tackles. The pass defense really wasn't much better, making Taytor who was starting his first NFL game, look like a seasoned vet. Butler is very good inside, covering the slot receiver, looked lost on the outside filling in for Toler and was torched. There was not much pressure on the QB and finished with 0 sacks. Most people didn't expect the defense to be dominant, but the hope is that they could be at least-decent, the 2 rookie linemen should get better as the year goes on and they had better learn quickly! Anderson did tie for the team lead (with Jackson) with 9 tackles, impressive for a D-linemen and Langford made several plays for a loss early on. Can't say the defensive game plan was all that impressive either.
Special teams: even the dominant unit from last year, did not have a very good game, the coverage units were ok, McAfee was not on his game and Adam missed his only field goal attempt, the returners were so/so and had a huge turnover.
Summary: We try not to over react to 1 game, there are games like that , every year, but it is hard to overlook a complete domination and lackluster effort in game #1. Most of the predictions had the Colts winning, I expected a hard fought, down to the wire type of game, a game we should win, but even if we didn't, I did think we would be competive. I already hear the words, we will watch the tape, make the necessary corrections, it's a marathon, not a sprint, I almost said the playoffs appear to be a long shot after that performance, but playing in the AFC South, it's pretty much still a given, but to improve on last years championship game and make it further, is going to take a lot of fixing and after the first look at the 2015 team, there is alot of problems. In any game, there are always positive, there were several individual players who stood out, but as a team, can't say there was much to be positive about that effort.
a few of the "keys" to the game:
* too many costly penalties on the O-line
* turnovers (4- and almost had a 5th) including Dorsett's costly fumble ( after bobbling the previous kickoff)
* Freemen drops an almost certain pick-six, that was in his hands
* dropped 2 pt attempt by Johnson ( that appeared huge at the time)
final thought: I hate to pour salt on a wound, but I feel very strongly that the #1 pick in the draft should have been used on one of several dominant defensive players who were on the board at the time and not in upgrading one of the strongest and deepest positions on the team and after game #1, that has only been magnified, as Dorsett was seldom used and only saw reps at WR, due to Hilton's injury and slammed the door on the comeback attempt with his turnover and watched the run defense get shredded-again.
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