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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Colts defense lays an egg in Houston

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OK folks, I guess I could say I told you so, but since I did not predict a total collapse of the Colts defense, I guess I should just be quiet.

On a day when a junior high school running back would have caused the Colts problems, the defending AFC champs looked more like chumps as the Houston Texans ran over them 34-24 in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score indicated.

While we have witnessed some futility historically in terms of the Colts ability to stop the run, I feel it is safe to say we were not prepared for the coming out party that was Houston’s Arian Foster, who simply shredded the Indianapolis defense while gaining a robust 231 yards and scoring three touchdowns. As you might expect, the Colts were generally speechless afterwards in terms of their defensive performance.

“We did not rise to the occasion,” said linebacker Clint Session to reporters afterwards in what might have been the understatement of the century. Head coach Jim Caldwell was equally stoic.

“They controlled the line of scrimmage all day,” offered a disappointed Caldwell.

What Caldwell actually might have been saying, in my opinion, is that with a physically beleaguered offensive line getting all the focus leading up to the game, the defense really was downright horrible. With the ability to run without any problem, Houston’s Matt Schaub threw just 17 times, completing nine of those tosses, including one for a touchdown.

His All Pro counterpart had quite a day despite being sacked twice and hurried on numerous throws. Yes, the debacle that was the Colts defense certainly overshadowed a great performance by Peyton Manning, who hoisted the ball an incredible 57 times, completing 40, for 433 yards and three touchdowns.

Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie all found the end zone in the first game of the season, on a day when the Colts could only muster 44 yards of rushing on 11 attempts.

NOTES: While center Jeff Saturday and left tackle Charlie Johnson continue to struggle with injuries, it was Bob Sanders that caused concern when he apparently injured his elbow and had to leave the game. There were also reports that Sanders injured a biceps in the game and if so, he could be out for a prolonged period of time, if not the entire season. Both Sanders and the Colts were not talking about the extent of things afterwards. It does, however, raise the obvious question: Will Sanders ever be able to play effectively again? I regretfully say no.

Devin Moore returned a kickoff for an apparent touchdown, only to have it called back due to a holding penalty.

Regardless, the pride of Indianapolis’ Cardinal Ritter High School can certainly move the ball, and hopefully he will continue to get the opportunity.

The Colts play their home opener Sunday Sept. 19 at Lucas Oil Stadium against Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Kickoff is slated for 8:20 p.m. and the sold out contest can be seen locally on WTHR. You can also listen to Bob Lamey’s radio call of the game on WFNI-AM (1070). Speaking of Lamey, he spared no one on the Colts defense when voicing his displeasure on the air during the Houston game.

Just another reason he is one of the best in the business. Kudos to Lamey for not mincing any words.

Danny Bridges, who thinks the Colts defensive unit should donate their Houston game checks to charity after their dismal performance, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.

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