Heather Lloyd, a.k.a. The Blue Mare, shares her Indianapolis Colts insights with Phillip B. Wilson on the team’s disastrous 42-7 loss at Detroit and trying to regain some sort of momentum in Sunday’s season finale at Tennessee.
Phil B: You’re in a good mood. No concerns. No worries. I know you were positive about upbeat about Sunday because that didn’t really happen, right?
Heather: (Laughs.) What’s there to be worried about right now? Life is good as a Colts fan. We have no concerns, right?
Phil B: We’re supposed to accentuate the positive, right?
Heather: Oh, God.
Phil B: Oh, God? Oh, God? That sounds like … Or did you say ‘Football Gods?’
Heather: If we’re going to accentuate the positive, I would accentuate that they at least got one rushing yard, because they could have had zero. And at least they scored because we were in the fourth quarter of a football game and the concern was that if the Colts didn’t get any points on the board, we were going to break a 21-year streak without a shutout. I think one rushing yard and the concern about breaking a 21-year streak without a shutout pretty much says most of what you need to know about that game on Sunday.
Phil B: Well, let’s not forget Zurlon Tipton scored his first NFL touchdown.
Heather: That was a good thing. I was happy to see him get a touchdown. God knows, we need it. And I was happy Adam Vinatieri got a point because that kept his streak going of games with at least one point. There are two positives right there.
Phil B: Barely, barely got a point.
Heather: (Laughs.) Exactly.
Phil B: I read some of your comments and reactions. I never thought you were soft, I knew you had some toughness to you, but you sounded like me a little bit. You sounded agitated.
Heather: Yeah, we’ve talked about the same things every week since they’ve played the Bengals. We’ve said every week that there are concerns that are still there and they need to start addressing some of this stuff. The reality is, you have to be honest, if anything those concerns have really gotten worse as the weeks have gone by. We said for a while that some of the stuff that was happening wasn’t going to fly against better teams. What happened when we played a better team is it really exposed every issue the Colts have had for weeks now all in one game and it was not pretty.
Phil B: So the Colts are going to go to Tennessee because as coach Chuck Pagano said, he hopes they can get their ‘mojo’ back. I personally don’t think beating Tennessee gets ‘mojo’ back, but that’s what he said.
Heather: The reality is we want to win on Sunday obviously. For the Colts to win and finish the season 11-5 … If you put it in the perspective of this, the Colts have lost Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Robert Mathis. If you go down the line of signifiant players the Colts have lost for a good chunk of the season, and you told me they would finish 11-5, I’d be pretty happy with that. But the problem is, when you look at the 11-5, a lot of those games were just difficult to watch. I think that’s the other thing, how extremely frustrating it is watching this team play right now. When you look at the way they started this season, then losing Mathis along the way, I would have thought if we got to 11-5 I’d be ecstatic. But that’s just not the case because there are some really big problems that they don’t really seem to be addressing and they seem to be getting worse. Because of all that, I don’t feel we great about this team going into the playoffs, no matter who’s coming in. Look at the fact that the Bengals just beat the Broncos. Cincinnati could be the first-round opponent that comes to play the Colts. The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing great football. When you’re looking at the teams that could come here, you worry about the Colts playing either of those teams right now.
Phil B: And as you know, because you’re well-read and smart, or maybe you had all of your Blue Mare assistants giving you the scenarios, the Colts will get the loser of the Bengals-Steelers game on Sunday night unless those teams tie. If they tie and the Colts win, then the Colts would jump to the third seed, but there’s been one tie in 240 games this year so I don’t think we’re banking on a tie.
Heather: We’re pretty much banking on either the Steelers or the Bengals coming in here.
Phil B: Do you have a preference of those two?
Heather: I would have said before the last game that I would prefer to play the Bengals because quarterback Andy Dalton hasn’t been stellar in January. But the Bengals played a darned good game against the Broncos. Their defense was powerful in stopping the Broncos. They were all over Peyton Manning. They stopped the run. I can’t really say that I have a preference. The Steelers obviously abused the Colts when they played us, so I can’t say I have a preference. My preference is just that the Colts play a lot better football than they’ve played the last couple of weeks and maybe we’ve got a chance of beating either one of them.
Phil B: What do you say to the people who quickly responded on social media that it doesn’t matter, they’re not going to beat either team.
Heather: I hope that’s not true. There is a feeling out there that that’s the case, though, that this team isn’t getting by a first-round opponent. Let’s face it, if they play like they’ve played the last two weeks, especially last Sunday, they’re not going to win against a playoff team. The team that is coming here has been playing good football and the Colts are not playing good football right now.
Phil B: Coach Pagano said he was disappointed but not discouraged. I would submit he’s not allowed to be discouraged for his team, but I can’t imagine a Colts fan who isn’t both disappointed and discouraged.
Heather: For the most part, I usually have a pretty good grasp of what Colts fans are feeling right now and I can tell you Colts fans are pretty discouraged right now. The fact that the problems have continued and they’re getting worse, and now we’re two weeks out from being in the playoff … we can look at the record, the fact that they’re the AFC South champions, we can feel good about that, but the fans are definitely discouraged. They don’t look good. They’re hard to watch. There are a lot of mistakes. That’s discouraging.
Phil B: Other than that, Merry Christmas, Heather.
Heather: Merry Christmas to you. We’ve got a long list of things that we’re hoping Santa will bring our team this week. One thing is some good, solid hands, some clear heads with some clear concentration, and definitely some health. So those three things we ask for from Santa this year to whip our team into better shape so we can head into the playoffs looking and feeling a little better.
Phil B: Well, I’m hoping you can enjoy the holiday season, whether the team does well or not.
Heather: I know this is the type of insider information you want from me when we do these interviews, but I actually ran into (punter) Pat McAfee at the fashion mall. I asked him if he had recovered from the Dallas game and he said, ‘Not even close.’ Even for Pat McAfee, I could tell he was bummed. I told him the (fake punt pass) play was brilliant. He needs to keep that in his pocket again and pull it out. Then we exchanged holiday blessings and he went on his way. But I can tell you the Colts are definitely feeling that loss and they’re feeling what the fans are feeling right now. I hope everyone has a nice holiday despite the game last week and I hope everyone can at least find something to feel optimistic about heading into the next game and maybe on Sunday the Colts will give us something else to feel good about. Show us something.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.