INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ charter from New England arrived in Indianapolis just past midnight following a sobering 59-24 loss to the Patriots.
Players were in the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center hours afterward to view tape of the game, meet with coaches, workout just a bit and to get some advice from Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Players will be off on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday to prepare for Buffalo. What Arians imparted to the players was what he himself spoke with Head Coach Chuck Pagano about as well.
“Just to keep fighting, (the) same thing he’s doing,” said Arians. “He’s always upbeat and positive. That’s the thing that we wanted the guys leaving the building (Monday to feel) – to be anxious to get back here on Wednesday. Learn from the corrections, not criticism, but corrections and coaching, and leave the building getting ready for Buffalo.”
The NFL schedule does not slow, whether victory or loss. Indianapolis saw its four-game winning streak end at New England in a hail of turnovers and play not up to the standard that had allowed a 2-3 start to reach a 6-3 record.
After a quick break from the gate on Sunday, Indianapolis yielded two touchdowns in a 61-second second-quarter span. Two seven-point leads built on opening scoring drives gave way to a seven-point halftime deficit.
New England totaled 31 second- and third-quarter points before adding 21 in the fourth in sending the Colts home on a somber flight.
Arians thinks the nature of the loss will be an agent for motivation.
“Oh I don’t think there’s any doubt, especially the way we gave it away,” said Arians. “We were in it, playing very good and then within a matter of three minutes, we basically gave the game away and couldn’t get back out of that hole.
“I give credit to them, they came out and they played extremely well. We gave them some gifts, and they were more than thankful for it.”
The fast start had positives, but the young team also had moments that helped spell defeat.
“Our first two drives were outstanding. We ran the football at a 5.0 clip,” said Arians. “We had four negative plays because of mental errors, so it could have even been better. I thought we stopped the run. They had a big reverse late in the game but other than that, we stopped the run, which we set out to do. Our third-down percentage (was good), our red zone was two-for-two.
“There were a lot of good, positive things in the ballgame that we set out to do. The big negative was number one, protect the football.”
The Colts had allowed 33 points off turnovers during the first nine games. Three turnovers resulted in 21 New England points, while the Patriots also had a scoring punt return. The quick-strike plays altered the nature of the game and put the Colts in a one-dimensional attack that typically dooms the chance to win.
“I think especially just not repeating the mistakes you made. That goes for any game, any practice,” said Luck. “You’ll watch the film and realize, ‘Where did the wheels come off and why?’ Make sure we don’t do that again.”
Rookie tight end
“There’s nothing to hang our heads low about,” said Allen. “Did we perform at our highest level? No, we didn’t, and we know that. Of course we lost by 35 points, or whatever it was, but we didn’t give them our best shot. They did a great job of capitalizing on our mistakes. We need to eliminate those mistakes and next time play as best as we can.”