3 things we learned from the Colts in Week 1 The Indianapolis Colts Week 1 Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey
, 34-23 loss looks bad on paper if you’re simply looking at the score, but the Colts showed signs of being a team that can make the division very interesting as the season progresses. It wasn’t all good, otherwise they would have won the game, but they were clearly better prepared than in year’s past.The season is obviously very young, so there’s not much that we can truly know about them, but the four quarters we all saw did give us a little peek at what the Colts may be this year. It’s certainly not all doom and gloom, but the team still has a long way to go.Here are 3 things we learned about the Colts in Week 1.The Colts defense is bending a bit too muchIt’s understood that the Colts new defensive scheme is going to have these kind of games where they allow a ton of yards. They want the speed and instincts from their players in order to turn the ball over, and the defense is ultimately made to play with the lead. Similar to the days of Peyton Manning.Well, that didn’t turn out too well Sunday. At first, I presumed the Colts were significantly better in the first half being as the defense had only given up 10 points. That was not the case, in fact, they were technically better in the second half in a couple areas. Let me explain.The Bengals actually were trying to rack up some big plays by putting guys like Joe Mixon in space, but the Colts forced two turnovers in the first half and managed to turn the tide a bit. The Colts did, however, allow 7.36 yards per play (28th) in that first half, but because they were so good on third downs, they weren’t allowing long, sustained drives. They allowed one 10-play drive that ended in a field goal, but otherwise, a 5-play drive — a touchdown drive nonetheless — was the high for Cincinnati in the first half. The Colts’ 22 defensive plays in the first half was fourth-lowest in Week 1.In the second half the Colts allowed 6 yards per play (24th), and that isn’t good either, it’s just less than the first half. They began to allow long drives as Andy Dalton regained his confidence and the Bengals were putting points on the board each [possession. They scored on every meaningful drive in the second half aside from their first.They were equally porous on the ground and through the air allowing 5.1 rushing yards per attempt Al Woods Jersey
, and 7.6 net passing yards per attempt throughout the duration of the game, and that simply has to stop.It’s going to be a process, we know that much, this defense is new for most of the Colts. But, Matt Eberflus must scheme a way for them to take away some of the big plays that came in space Sunday. The Colts only allowed 4 plays over 20 yards, but they allowed a 75% completion rate which tells you that the Bengals challenged the Colts to stop them on these underneath routes as the game wore on. The Colts have to be better in that respect, but again, that’s how this defense is designed. The pass rush did create some occasional pressure, but Andy Dalton was 11-of-14 in the second half and was nearly unaffected by it. An increase in successful pressure needs to be created in future games if those in the back seven are going to be able to stop anyone this year.The second half is still the Colts’ enemyThe Colts were 6-of-8 on third downs in the first half. They were rolling. They were getting some good yardage on second downs — 7.5 yards per play (10th) — to make third-and-manageable a regular occurrence Sunday afternoon. They did manage to go 5-of-9 on third downs in the second half, but they simply weren’t doing anything with ball averaging only 4.05 yards per play.With the Bengals scoring on their possessions, the Colts allowed both of their sacks in the second half, Luck nearly threw 2 more interceptions, and added the crucial fumble recovery in the final seconds to sew it up. No amount of stats can tell you that a team shouldn’t give away a 23-10 second-half lead with Andrew Luck under center.The thing is, though, is that they did. They were dominated in the fourth quarter, again, and when they did begin to get it together they coughed up the ball. Last season the Colts amassed a total of 3 touchdowns all year, and while you’d have to be quite irrational to think that will be a trend with Luck under center, it’s still a problem that needs to be rectified by Frank Reich at the very least.Colts offensive line is a work in progress, but still better The Colts started two backups, a rookie, a former first-round pick Cheap J'Marcus Webb Jersey
, and an old guy Sunday. Andrew Luck did get forced out of the pocket a handful of times, and did take his two sacks on the day, but with all things considered, this group of lineman did a pretty solid job of protecting the franchise quarterback.Luck dropped back 56 times... Fifty. Six. against one of the better defensive fronts they’ll play all season. The Bengals did generate 8 QB hits behind the line of scrimmage, but very few of those were hard hits or affected Luck’s ability to make the throw outside of the two sacks. It’s not an excuse for them, necessarily, rather more of an acknowledgement for the workload they were tasked with and how they worked together.For some perspective about the group this offensive line had to battle in Week 1, five of them that they matched up against accounted for 31 of the Bengals’ 41 sacks from 2017. That was no small feat in my eyes by this Colts’ line. I was actually pretty encouraged by their efforts and am quite interested to see what they can accomplish once they’re fully healthy.Colts fans are used to having a swiss cheese offensive line, and everyone wants Luck untouched as he comes back from an entire season of rehab — I get it. They may still have a bad year with the injuries they’re accruing, but Week 1 wasn’t one of the games we should attempt to form much of a judgement. They could just as easily improve with such a young group along the front line.There are too many bad things that could have happened with Joe Haeg in his first start at left tackle and the slowest human on earth (J’Marcus Webb) at right tackle — so let’s not overblow this one. It is Week 1 after all. On a night when he reached 500 career touchdown passes, Tom Brady welcomed back a buddy with one of his three scoring tosses Thursday, then connected with a newcomer who could help him reach more milestones.Brady also sneaked in for a rushing touchdown and the New England Patriots put together their second straight win after a mediocre start to the season, beating Indianapolis 38-24.Brady's 500th went to Josh Gordon, recently acquired from Cleveland, where he basically was unavailable through NFL suspensions for all but five games over the past three seasons. But, as he often does, Brady spread the wealth, hitting running back James White 10 times for 77 yards, and greeting the return of buddy Julian Edelman by completing seven for 57 yards to him."We wanted to get him the ball and he made some great plays," Brady said about Edelman. "Just good to have him out there. We all want it to be perfect when we go out and it was great to have him out there ... healthy and having fun."As for 500 TD passes, third on the career list behind Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508), Brady called it a collective mark."I think all these things like that Adam Vinatieri Jersey
, milestones, there are so many people that contribute, all the people that have really worked hard," he said. "A quarterback doesn't throw to himself."These are all great team awards, pretty cool."The five-time NFL champion also tied Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, a former teammate, for most victories with 226. Brady finished 34 for 44 for 341 yards.As everyone in Gillette Stadium except, apparently, the Colts knew, Brady started off with a pass to Edelman, who was wide open for 9 yards. That drew the first of many loud cheers for the 10th-year veteran receiver in his first game since the 2017 preseason, when he tore up a knee. Edelman was suspended for the first four games this year for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancers."During the rehab you are just sitting there and waiting to get back on the field," Edelman said. "It felt great to be out there with the guys."That was the first of three receptions for 28 yards for Edelman on the opening 75-yard touchdown drive Brady capped with a 1-yard toss to Cordarrelle Patterson .From there, even though the Colts (1-4) had a drive deep into New England (3-2) territory, usually reliable Adam Vinatieri missed a 38-yard field goal.Nothing was going right for Indianapolis, particularly after Brady led a 72-yard march to his sneak from the 1. Then he took the Patriots 68 yards near the end of the half and hit workhorse White for a 6-yard score to lead 21-3.Under pressure, Andrew Luck threw a poor pass that Patrick Chung intercepted at midfield, and Stephen Gostkowski made a 45-yard field goal for a 24-3 halftime lead.Luck did extend his string of games with a touchdown pass by hitting Eric Ebron on a 14-yarder in the third quarter. Showing a strong arm all night — remember, Luck missed all of 2017 with shoulder issues — he has a TD throw in 28 successive games, tops of any current quarterback."We're not going to win consistently until we learn how to get out of our own way," Luck said. "That's not taking anything away from New England. They were the better team today. Anybody who watched it or played in it knows it. It was self-evident."But we're going to have to learn how not to lose if we want to give ourselves a chance to win."After Matthias Farley's interception of a pass bobbled by Chris Hogan, Indy could do nothing. Rookie Jordan Wilkins had the ball stripped from his hands by Devin McCourty four players later.But a second pick of Brady that was not his fault — Rob Gronkowski had the ball stolen and Najee Goode wound up with it — helped the Colts get back into it for a short time.Looking like vintage Luck http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-eric-ebron-jersey
, he brought his team 80 yards, including a pair of big third-down throws to Ebron, and Eric Swoope caught a 13-yard scoring pass to make it 24-17.That's when everyone saw vintage Brady as he hit the half-century mark for TD throws by connecting with newcomer Gordon for 34 yards, the 71st player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady, an NFL mark."A great play Josh made jumping over two defenders," Brady said. "It tells you kind of the confidence I have in him in a short period of time. Obviously he has earned it."KICKING ITVinatieri, whose leg helped New England win three Super Bowls, hit the left upright with his 673rd career field goal attempt, the second most in NFL history. He already holds the mark for most field goals made and is closing in on Hall of Famer Morten Andersen's points record, but was victimized by a high snap on the first-quarter miss.Showing his true skills, Vinatieri later nailed a 54-yarder with plenty to spare.PRODUCTIVE BACKFIELDIn addition to White's receptions, rookie Sony Michel had 98 yards rushing on 18 carries, including the final New England score, a 34-yard burst down the sideline in the final period.UNDERMANNEDThe Colts were severely depleted, missing five starters, including their best receiver. T.Y. Hilton was out with chest and hamstring injuries. Tight end Jack Doyle (hip), running back Marlon Mack (hamstring), tackle Denzelle Good (personal matter) and cornerback Kenny Moore II (concussion) also were sidelined. They lost five more players during the game.DEFLATED FEELINGNot much was made of the "Deflategate" saga, even though this was Indy's first trip to Gillette Stadium since getting routed in the 2014 AFC title game. That loss led to an NFL investigation of alleged underinflated footballs, and eventually to a four-game suspension for Brady, which he sat out in 2016.UP NEXTColts: at New York Jets on Oct. 14.Patriots: host Kansas City on Oct. 14.