Hakeen Nicks – The Forgotten Man

Every person in Colts and TBF Nation are reeling from the pounding the Colts took at the hands of the hated Steelers.  There were many people to blame for the complete fallout we saw from both sides of the ball yesterday.  Luck made some terrible decisions with the ball and the offensive line was, well….horrendous is the word that immediately comes to mind.

Hakeem Nicks -300x225However, after a healthy debate yesterday between two other well-known Colts bloggers, I felt that there was an issue that needed a closer look.  Hakeem Nicks, the forgotten man.  He was brought here as a good fit for the offense and to relieve some pressure from Reggie and T.Y., but he has yet to become a focal point of the offense.  There are a couple of reasons for that. Continue reading

What’s the Deal With…

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

If you are a fan of 90’s television then you’re probably familiar with show “Seinfeld”.  If you’re not, Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian and it centers around his apartment and his friends.  He jokes that the show is about “nothing”, meaning the daily problems that occur with the group are the stories.  Well, judging by the thrashing the Colts received at the hands of the Steelers, the team might try to sell you that the game meant nothing.  Is the sky falling? No, but at the same time the team that shut-out the Bengals last week suddenly couldn’t stop Pittsburgh or more namely today, Ben Roethlisberger’s six touchdowns passes.  Where does the team go from here?

What’s the deal with…

Seinfeld also used observation comedy that centered on specific issues where he would ask “What’s the deal with [insert subject] then he would further expand on the issue.  I thought I’d use this device.

What’s the deal with the Colts defense?

The short answer and most direct one is the team has to move on past the loss but can’t overlook some of the glaring issues exposed by the Steelers in preparation for a Monday Nighter against the Giants. The defense had no answer at all to the Steelers offense.  639 yards of total offense – 639!!  It wasn’t just one issue but more of a complete collapse defensively.  Although Vontae Davis went out, it didn’t make a whole lot of difference when he was in.  Greg Toler and Josh Gordy continually were caught behind Antonio Brown who went for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns himself.  Also, the defensive line didn’t really even sniff Roethlisberger, whom seemed to be able to move around comfortably hooking up with whomever he wanted to the tune of 522 yards and 6 touchdowns!  The Colts pass rushing scheme that was so successful the last few games came away with zero sacks.

What’s the deal with the Colts Offensive Line?

It seemed that up to this point the Colts offensive line had played pretty well despite having to go with younger and inexperienced players, yet they weren’t the only ones having issues – just ask Gosder Cherillus.  Pittsburgh was credited with 2 sacks on Luck, but he was under constant duress the entire game.  I joked on Twitter that Luck should get a sponsorship from Tide due to how dirty his Jersey was, and that was only about half way through the game. Harrison at center probably had one of the worst games he’s played, but as I stated previously, the whole offensive line looked overmatched and I’m sure PFF grades will validate that. Pittsburgh was employing their “Blitzberg” scheme with Kiesel and Harrison looking like they found the fountain of youth.  The offensive line was outmatched against a Pittsburgh team that really is average (15th) ranked while the Colts were slightly higher at (14th).   It really wasn’t close.  Besides pressuring Luck, they shutdown the Colts running game which had been fairly successful up to the game.  Bradshaw, Herron, and Luck racked up 63 yards (26 were Luck scrambles).  The team is not going to be very successful with efforts like that.

What’s the deal with the Coaching?

The staff on Sunday just looked confused throughout much of the game and at times seemed unable to deviate from the game plan (if there was one).  The Colts have been a pretty good second-half team with their ability to make major adjustments.  That was not the case on Sunday, Pittsburgh was able to continue running at will or passing to open receivers throughout most of second-half of the game just like the first half.

We have seen this happen before with the coaching staff.  It seems like once a season the team comes out flat or unprepared in what should be a routine game.  Coach Pagano and the team basically said that they got their asses kicked in all facets of the game.  The odd thing is the team doesn’t give up, but at the same time seems unable to change what is not working.  That’s the part that is hard to wrap your head around.  The team plays hard but doesn’t always play smart.  That falls directly on the coaching staff.  Hopefully, this is that one game that we get per year because the team has the following teams left: Giants, New England, Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, Tennessee. That will not be an easy finish, especially if the defense can’t stop anyone like they showed on Sunday.

What’s the deal with Hakeem Nicks?

Much was expected of Nicks this offseason and his contract seemed to ensure that Nicks would flourish with the Luck and the Colts’ offense. Instead, he’s looked lost and when thrown to seems unable to bring in what are considered routine catches. I really liked the signing but now rookie Donte Moncrief has made the decision easier for the coaching staff to take away snaps because he’s produced when given the opportunity. Moncrief has made the most of his chances while Nicks just looks done. He still has eight games to show his worth, but right now I’m not holding my breath.

Bottom line – not much went right aside from a few players: Hilton, Moncrief, Luck (Played well despite trailing), Vinatieri, Studebaker and Newsome on defense found ways to show their worth. I guess probably the best thing to do is what the experts and former players suggest- take the game film, watch it, see if there are anything to be learned from it, and then toss it the trash and prepare for Monday’s game. I think this game will probably say more about the team and where they are then getting “Fiftyburger” dropped on them by the Steelers. If they get blasted again at Metlife Stadium then it may be the appropriate time to hit the panic button. Also, we get LaRon Landry back (Crickets).

Colts Defense Lays Down Against Steelers

The Steelers rocked their hideous bumblebee jerseys on Sunday and absolutely stung the Colts, 51-34. It was a windy day at Heinz Field and many thought the kickers would struggle but Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger took care of that by taking matters into their own hands.

The story of the day was Roethlisberger as he played the best game of his career. His stat sheet says it all: 40-49, 522 yards, and 6 TD passes. He is the first QB to throw over 500 yards in multiple games. It honestly looked like his wide receivers had Stick em’ on their hands as they couldn’t drop the ball if they tried.

Roethlisberger deserves a ton of credit and respect for his record-performance, but he had a lot of help. After praising the Colts’ defense after their shutout of the Bengals last week, it appeared as if they never left Indy this weekend. The Colts showed an overall lack of defensive awareness which allowed the Steelers to not only score a TD on their first possession, but it was the first TD they had allowed in the first quarter all season. It was all downhill after that.

 

The Colts trailed 7-3 after the first quarter, but the game was out of reach just 44 seconds into the second quarter. The Steelers scored on a 5-yard TD pass to Martavis Bryant and then just 41 seconds later William Gay scored on a pick-6 from Luck. Just like that, Colts down 21-3.

 

The Colts responded with a Dwayne Allen 21-yard over-the-shoulder TD grab – his 6th of the season. Finally, the Colts are showing some life….temporarily. The defense gave up back-to-back touchdowns to Antonio Brown (8 & 47 yards, respectively), which extended their lead to 35-10. Luck then transformed into his well-known comeback mode by leading the offense to a TD (28 yard pass to TY Hilton) and a field goal (23-yards) in the final 1:56 of the half. We TrueBlueFans believed all the momentum was in favor of the Colts.

Big Ben threw his second TD of the day to Bryant (2 yards) for a 42-20 advantage, but the Colts responded with a pair of TDs in the span of 1:03 late in the third quarter. It looked like the Colts were prepared to complete the miraculous comeback as they trailed by just 8 with the ball, but Luck was called for a controversial intentional grounding call in the end zone which resulted in a safety for the Steelers and that pretty much confirmed that the Colts just weren’t meant to win this game. Big Ben added a sixth TD pass TD as an exclamation point. 

 

Final score: 51-34

 

The Colts scored 34 points while Luck threw for 400 yards and added another 3 TDs. Despite his two costly interceptions, scoring 34 points on the road is usually recipe for a victory. But, our defense looked completely lost and Pittsburgh controlled the tempo of the game (Steelers nearly doubled the Colts in time of possession). Congrats to Big Ben on getting that 100th win!

Luck will get his faster though!

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