It’s only pre-season. It’s only the Rams. It’s only one game. Yes, but if you’re a Colts fan it’s the absolute best outcome you could wish for. Not only did Andrew Luck blow us away with his performance (10-16, 188 yds, 2 TDs), the team as a whole showed us that they came to play. And play they did. A 38-3 blowout.
After some early shaky defense (two quick 6 yd runs for Stephen Jackson) and O-line play (lots of pressure on Luck), the Colts settled down on both sides of the ball and destroyed the St Louis Rams. It was a complete team victory, and that impressed me as much as Mr. Luck. Again, it’s pre-season, I get that. But the way this team represented itself today, being the only NFL game on tv, put a bit of a smile on the faces of disgruntled Colts fans everywhere.
Reading the comment boards there were a lot of non-Colt fans that were impressed also. Of course there were your usual haters and trolls that post on these boards (mostly Texans fans who seem afraid that their stay atop of the AFC South will be short lived), but most were appreciative of what the Colts did on Sunday. Consider a couple of stats that I think say a whole lot. Yards per Pass: Rams 4.5, Colts 10.5. The Colts have been bashed all summer long about the cornerback play, and the Rams had the #7 ranked pass defense in the league last year. It’s only pre-season. Rushing Yards Allowed: Rams 3.6, Colts 2.8. We all know the problems the Colts have had with the run defense and rushing offense. Three penalties and no turnovers, that’s good execution. That’s great football. It’s only the Rams.
Nate D from Bleacher Report says that the pre-season means absolutely nothing. For the most part he’s right. But not in Indianapolis, not right now where fans of the Colts have bought into that for years, watching the Colts go almost win-less in pre-season games for the last 10 years. Back then we could all just say “don’t worry, Peyton will make it all better.” Then he would. To me, the last few years were especially worrisome. It just seamed that if Peyton wasn’t in there (and sometimes when he was) the team just looked like a DII college team. In my mind I felt that sooner or later we were going to pay for having the worst scrubs in the NFL. Then it happened. The sum of all fears fell on the Indianapolis Colts when #18 went down. All those ugly pre-season performances were for real. They were bad, very, very bad. It showed that the Colts relied wholly on one man and one man alone. The Colts, as a whole, were horrible without Peyton Manning.
Gone were the Polians, Caldwell, Manning and damn near everyone left from the great years. In came Grigson, Pagano, Luck and 60 new faces to the Colts roster. 60 new faces, wow. So this game was more than just a pre-season game against the lowly Rams. It marked the beginning of a whole new team, a whole new way of thinking. This game mattered, to us, as Colts fans if no one else.
Now we travel to Pittsburgh. Another test. A much bigger test. How the Colts perform there will tell us a lot. But then again, it’s only pre-season.
About the Author
Written by Rich Marchione
I have lived in Indiana most of my life with the exception a stint in the Marine Corps in the early 80's. I currently live in Anderson, IN, where the Colts camp out for the summer. I have followed the Colts since the Jeff George days. Back then you had to go to the game to watch them because they weren't very good and around Indiana basketball was king, so they were never on television. Then Peyton showed up and the rest was history. Now he's gone and we start a new era. I am excited about all the new changes and will be following them closely. I am married to Cynthia Marchione, I have one daughter, Kaylee and three step-children, Jason, Autumn and Nikki. I also have eight grandchildren.