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The Three Worst Things From The Colts Game

Yet another McCoy Special in a winnable game.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

1 Soft coaching, soft team

In my opinion, this game was lost in the 2nd quarter.  Right after getting the ball spotted at the Colts 25 at the end of the 1st quarter, down 10-0, the play call was for a pass on 3rd and 1.  The pass went incomplete.  Instead of trying to make one stinking yard on 4th down, once again, the coward stalking the sideline in his female golfer's visor chose to tell his own team that he did not believe they were good enough to get one dammed yard when they really needed one.  By choosing to kick a field goal in that situation, McCoy once again put his timid imprint on a team that plays in a sport where the primary themes are aggression and violence.  By not calling a run on the 3rd and 1, McCoy and Whisenhunt once again told his line and RB's that they were not going to be trusted with even a single yard.

The next play from scrimmage, the Colts gave the Chargers two gifts; an interception and a facemask penalty.  First and goal on the 6.  Once again, a situation in which playing some tough minded "I'm going to dominate you" football was passed up in favor of trying be clever with a few finesse plays into the end zone.  The first play resulted in a holding penalty on DJ Fluker.  That penalty pretty much doomed the gift to a 3 point present which the Chargers tentatively unwrapped.  It took another three plays, some of the worst that Rivers has ever thrown, to make that official.  Make no mistake though, the transforming of a 1st and 6 to a 1st and 16 with the holding call was what doomed that opportunity to tie the game.

The holding call should have never happened.  A team that gets a first and goal from the 6 tries to run the dammed ball a time or two before resorting to finesse.  An aggressive team runs the ball.  A team that pays more than lip services to "imposing our will" runs the football.   A team that has faith in the large, powerful offensive linemen it has acquired tries to run the ball.  A team that has confidence in the running back it used 3 picks to acquire runs the ball.  A soft, timid team does not. A coaching staff that does not believe in its own players does not run the ball, but goes early to finessing their way into the end zone.

An old NFL adage is that teams reflect the personality of its coach.  And here we are.  A team afraid of its own shadow.  A soft team.  A team that is afraid to lose, while simultaneously being afraid to do things needed to win.  A team that needs display a hammer on its draft room table (a shiny one, right off the shelf that had maybe been used to tap a make-up case closed after the press conference prep), because it knows that none will appear on the field.  Mike McCoy's team -€” like the late Mr. Lubener, born without a spine and as frightened as its coach is of the next shoe that will surely drop.

This team has shown in 3 games that it cannot stay aggressive to protect a lead, does not know how to come back when it is behind, and will only win when its opponent is playing softer or dumber than them.

2 Penalties

Last week, the Bolts managed to stay mostly penalty free, while the Jaguars committed several that were devastating to their efforts to win.  This week, it was the Chargers that committed more penalties.  And those made a material contribution to the loss.  The Colts got 5 first downs as gifts from the Bolts.  As mentioned before, a first and goal from the 6 turned into a 1st and goal from the 16 and a probable 4 point swing.  Philip Rivers even got an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty (which is potentially a Sign of the Apocalypse).  One of the Bolts worst offenders was Jason Verrett, flagged for several defensive holding calls, which are automatic first downs.  Which brings us to the final item of the worst things...

3 YOYO Jason

Competent defensive coaches seek to take away the primary weapon on an offense.  LT in his prime and Adrian Peterson in his routinely ran against 8-10 men close to the line of scrimmage.  Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and AJ Green will be consistently double covered.  Apparently, this aspect of coaching a defense never made it in memo form to Coach Pagano or if it did, he did not read it.  Or read it and forgot it.  Or something.

It was pretty clear even in the first quarter that TY Hilton was fully healthy and having his way with Jason Verrett.  A capable coach, a good coach, makes an adjustment.  Tells Verrett to not play press coverage.  Rolls safety help to Hilton's side.  Plays more zone.  Something other than leaving a CB that is regarded as one of the best in the league singled up against a receiver that is playing well, while your CB is obviously having a bad game.

None of this happened.  The Bolts stayed with press coverage in a man-to-man coverage scheme and Hilton had 8 receptions on 11 targets for 174 yards and a TD.  Verrett was also called for an additional 3 (if my memory is accurate) Defensive Holding or DPI penalties.  This was easily Verrett's worst game as a professional.  No Verrett did not play well, but as a coaching staff, the Bolts failed to help Verrett have a better day than he had.  I am hoping that the Bolts defensive coaches can think of something other than "You're On Your Own" if a situation like this comes up the future...

No, that's not right.  The only thing I am hoping for now is mass firings.