Pessimist's view: Colts make one too many mistakes

Fourth Colts turnover proves costly in overtime loss at Carolina.

Anyone looking to accentuate the positives from the Indianapolis Colts’ 29-26 overtime loss at Carolina Monday night should check out the optimist’s view on ColtsBlitz.com.

This offering is devoted to the negatives, and it’s fair to say there’s more of them than positives after the Colts dropped to 3-5.

* For starters, the Colts fell behind 10-0 after two first-quarter turnovers. Center Jonotthan Harrison’s snap never got off the ground in an early lost fumble. And he’s had snap trouble before.

Andrew Luck’s three interceptions brings his seasonal total to 12 in just six starts. Throw in a lost fumble and he’s at 13 turnovers at the season’s midway point. Simple math, that’s on pace for 26, which would be the most in a season in his four-year career. He had 23 as a rookie in 2012.

* He’s 1-5 as a starter this season.

* Luck had all day to throw on his first interception, then threw an ill-advised pass. This has become too commonplace. He missed wide open targets for much of three quarters. Even when he rallied the Colts in the final quarter, there were at least three risky throws that could have been intercepted.

* Luck’s third interception, by his own admission, was another case of waiting too long to deliver the ball. That extra time gave Panthers defenders the chance to converge on tight end Coby Fleener, who was no longer open. Roman Harper tipped it and Luke Kuechly caught it for the turnover that led to Graham Gano’s 52-yard field goal to decide the game.

* In four of the five losses, the Colts have surrendered the first score.

* The Colts have 19 turnovers this season, 13 in their own end, and opponents have turned those short fields into 59 points. The Panthers scored 19 points off three of the Colts’ four turnovers in their own territory. Overall, opponents have scored 69 points after Colts turnovers.

* This team is minus-9 in turnover ratio, which ties Detroit for dead last.

* For the first time in head coach Chuck Pagano’s four-year career, the Colts have lost three in a row. And it’s fair to say the Colts will be home underdogs Sunday against the Denver Broncos (7-0) as well as after the bye at the Atlanta Falcons (6-2), so don’t be surprised if this skid drops the record to 3-7.

* Because the Colts also have a game at the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4), and how could we forget last year’s 51-34 loss at Heinz Field, it’s fair to say this team might have no margin for error in the other five games to finish 8-8.

* Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis got beat by Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on a 27-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Davis also dropped a pass he should have caught for a fourth-quarter interception after he tipped it to himself.

* The Colts’ 18 holding penalties are tied for second-most in the league. Only Atlanta has had more with 19.

* Pagano gave away a timeout to a lost challenge on what he thought was a fumble. Perhaps he got bad advice from an assistant in the booth, but the replay sure made it seem obvious the runner was down.

* The most reasonable explanation for the Colts’ comeback after three ugly quarters of offense was the decision to go with a two-minute offense. So why wait until the fourth quarter to go hurry up? This team pulled out a comeback victory at Tennessee the same way.

* Carolina led 17-6 after three quarters. Colts opponents have a 69-point scoring advantage in the first three quarters of games.

* Please burn the page in the playbook, or delete the page in the iBook, where the tight end goes in motion and then stands for a moment on the side of the line where an obvious short-yardage running play is headed. The Panthers stuffed the Colts on a third-and-1 rush that was just too predictable.

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.


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