INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For those who might have missed their first five games, the Indianapolis Colts offered a four-quarter refresher course on just who they are Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
Troubles in the red zone.
A fourth straight loss, this one a 42-34 stumble against the New York Jets.
“Yeah, there’s no doubt that is who we are right now,’’ Frank Reich said, admitting in his post-game press conference what was painfully obvious earlier in the day. “All of us have to work on correcting that. We’re not going to point fingers. It’s not any one person or one thing.
“It’s the cumulative effect of all those things.’’
Four turnovers – three Andrew Luck interceptions, one Robert Turbin fumble – led to 20 Jets’ points. That included Morris Claiborne’s pick-6 on the second play of the game when Marlon Mack was unable to secure a screen pass from Luck.
At least five of Luck’s passes were dropped, including Mack’s and one by Chester Rogers on the Colts’ first two snaps. Another was an absolute killer when rookie running back Nyheim Hines dropped a pass in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 2. A touchdown would have pushed the Colts in front 14-10. Adam Vinatieri’s 21-yard field goal tied things at 10-all.
When the defense gave the offense another red-zone opportunity with a second takeaway on consecutive Jets’ possessions, the offense again came up short and had to settle for Vinatieri’s 31-yard field goal.
“Some plays that we left out there,’’ Luck said. “Just execution.
“You loathe going to the sidelines while Vinny’s trotting out there to kick a field goal when you know a mistake here or there, or a bad throw or a bad call (occurred).’’
Same ol’, same ol’.
“Unfortunately it was kind of a similar formula,’’ Reich said. “Just too many mistakes early.’’
There’s no bigger determinant for success than giveaways and takeaways. Through six games, the Colts are a minus-3 in the turnover department. More telling, they’re now a minus-14 points. They have suffered 13 turnovers that have led to 43 points while the defense has 10 takeaways that have resulted in 29 points.
“Football is the greatest team game there is,’’ Lucks said. “It’s never just one guy; it never is. Turnovers . . . you’re win-loss probability percentage is in very direct relation to your turnover margin.’’
Despite yet another error-filled afternoon, the Colts remain steadfast with their approach.
At 1-5, they’re bearing down on a fourth consecutive non-winning record. The last time the Colts endured a similar streak: 1978-86. Yep, it stretches back to Baltimore.
“I can just say this at the outset: I believe in what we’re doing,’’ Reich said. “I believe in our guys, but we’ve got to play better football. Overall, there’s no quit in the players, no disbelief in what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.
“It does get difficult. That’s what we talked about in the locker room. We’ve talked a lot about conviction and belief. It’s going to get tested for each one of us. I really believe, as much as that hurts, if we are who we say we are, then there is good that will come out of it.
“That’s what I believe will happen. I’ve very confident that will happen. When? I don’t know, but I believe that will happen because we’re doing things the right way. I still will not waver in the belief of what we’re doing.’’
Luck agreed. He used the words “stupid’’ and “silly’’ when describing the Colts’ latest missteps, but also remained optimistic things will turn around even though the team is dealing with a rash of injuries to key personnel and relying on a slew of young players.
“Six games into this now, no one’s young in the NFL anymore,’’ he said. “There’s no one young. Before we learn how to win we need to learn how not to lose. We have to take that step.
“It’s a bit frustrating and I feel a bit like a broken record, but talking about it, that’s the easy part. It’s doing it. It’s living it. But I am not discouraged. Really in my core, I am not discouraged.
“From a 10-thousand-foot perspective, we’re not happy we lost. There are a bunch of competitive people in there. But I think we’re going in the right direction, and the results will come.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.