Unbridled: A History Of Colts Mind-Blowing Meltdowns In Week One

August 31, 2022

With the season starting soon, how will the Colts respond? They haven’t won a Week One game in nearly ten years and are 33-36 all-time when opening the season. A familiar division foe on the schedule doesn’t make the task any easier.

Week One is on the horizon. The Colts will travel down south to face the Houston Texans. On September 11, they begin again, climbing the proverbial “mountain” that Frank Reich so often references. A mountain that Indianapolis hasn’t been able to conquer. Since 2012, they are 1-9 in Week One of the regular season and 0-4 with Reich at the helms. Let’s take a look at how they got here.

Slow Starts Have Doomed The Colts In Recent Seasons

Think of the Colts as an old Cadillac that your parents gave you when you asked for your first car. It certainly works, but it needs three to five business days to get it up and running. That’s a bit dramatic, but it paints the picture: Indy simply starts slow.

For example, the Colts played the Seahawks in their 2021 season and home opener. They struck first, with a quick 21-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship, and added a Zach Pascal touchdown in the second quarter, but by that point, it was too late. The score was already 21-10 at the half. Indianapolis only scored six points the rest of the way, including a failed two-point conversion. Russell Wilson also masterfully carved up the slow response by the Colts’ defense with a blistering 18 completions on 23 attempts, including a 69-yard touchdown to Tyler Lockett. Ouch.

Mind-Numbing Collapses Have Been Common For The Colts

Not to be outdone, the team also has some mystifying collapses. Looking back at 2020, the Colts traveled down to Jacksonville (a place where they also haven’t won since 2014) to play the Gardner Minshew-led Jaguars. Indy was up 17-14 at the half of what seemed to be a very even matchup.

However, the collapse was quickly bubbling, ultimately rearing its ugly head in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Phillip Rivers threw an untimely interception with four minutes left and longtime fan-favorite T.Y. Hilton dropped two passes on the team’s final drive. It was their division rival’s only win that season. Brutal.

Lack of Killer Instinct Dooms Colts In Close Games

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Colts is their inability to close out games, especially with ample opportunities. This trend actually started early in Reich’s tenure, during his first game as Head Coach. The Colts opened the season against the Cincinnati Bengals at home. At the end of the third quarter, they led 23-17, but the Bengals were clawing at their heels. They tacked on a touchdown with eleven minutes left in the fourth quarter and a field goal with just under four minutes left in regulation.

Andrew Luck managed to march the offense down to the 30-yard line and connect with Jack Doyle for what should have been a critical first down conversion. Instead, Doyle uncharacteristically fumbled and the Bengals collected the ball and ran it back 83-yards for a touchdown. Pain.

Perhaps the Colts can reverse the trend with the help of Matt Ryan’s leadership and his unrelenting pursuit of excellence. If there was ever a time to change, it has arrived.