INDIANAPOLIS — Whether you win or lose, NFL coaches always seem to stress taking what you can from the results of a game, enjoying or lamenting those thoughts for a few hours, and then moving on to your next opponent.
Frank Reich did that one week ago when his team was coming off a disappointing season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and you bet he was in the same frame of mind early this morning when he arrived to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
The feeling this time around was much more satisfactory, however, as the Colts earned their first victory of the season, 21-9, over the Washington Redskins at FedExField.
No one would blame Reich if he took even a few hours today to continue celebrating his first win as an NFL head coach, but that's not how he's wired.
In fact, by 8 a.m., Reich had already mentally moved on to the Colts' next opponent: the Philadelphia Eagles.
"You wake up today, come in here, was in here early this morning, was done kind of grading and watching the film by 8 a.m.," Reich told host Matt Taylor today on his weekly "Colts Roundtable Live" appearance on 1070 The Fan. "Already moving on to Philadelphia at 8 a.m. trying to get ready to beat a very good team."
How'd he grade his team against the Redskins? Obviously there were many, many more positives to take away than negatives, considering the strong start and finish by the offense, and the swarming performance by his defense, which did not allow a single touchdown and kept a strong Washington run game in check.
But there are going to be a few teaching points, as well. For Reich, his centered on an offensive drought that lasted more than 20 minutes of game time from the end of the second quarter to the start of the fourth quarter that allowed the Redskins, at one point down 14-3, to start creeping their way back into the ballgame.
The results of the Colts' five drives during that span? Punt, punt, end of half, interception, punt.
"Yeah, we didn't play well offensively in the third quarter. Didn't get anything going," Reich said. "So I'm not sure we really set much of anything up other than putting our defense in a bad position and being out on the field too long. But that's sometimes the game — you've got to play complementary football and the defense has to pick the offense up, and vice versa at times. So thankfully the guys were able to get it going and have that big drive there in the fourth quarter."
That big drive, of course, spanned 13 plays and went 75 yards, and culminated in a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, a play that moved the score back to 21-9 and gave the team more than enough breathing room to earn the win.
"You know you're going to have some ups and downs in a game, and you've gotta be able to overcome that adversity like we did," Reich said, asked what he learned from Week 1 to Week 2. "You know, we came out in the second half of the Redskin game, the defense was still playing well but the offense kind of sputtered. But then we were able to get it back on track and finish, so that was the big takeaway."
Reich confirmed on Monday that defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway and cornerback Quincy Wilson were the only injuries coming out of the Redskins game.
Ridgeway has a calf injury, while Wilson has a concussion and is now in the league's protocol. Reich did not offer any sort of timeline for either player's return.
Another player "banged up" throughout the course of Sunday's game, running back Marlon Mack, was able to return and seems to be fine, Reich said.
Mack was already playing in his first game of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in the Colts' preseason opener Aug. 9, and appeared to be getting looked at by team trainers at one point during the first half of Sunday's game.
Mack had eight carries for 27 yards in the first half, but just two carries for seven yards in the second half. He played 18 snaps in all.
"Marlon's fine. He did get a little bit banged up, but he's going to be fine and finished the game healthy," Reich said. "He was on a pitch count. You know, we had a certain number of carries — we said we wanted to get him 10 to 12 touches and maybe 20 to 25 plays, and he kind of hit that limit, and that was the plan."