Ok, ok…so Sunday’s opener against the Bears wasn’t pretty.
Too many turnovers, too many drops, too many missed throws, too many missed tackles, too many missed assignments…
And quite simply…the Bears were too much for the Colts.
It was the perfect lesson for a young team as they prepare for Sunday’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings. The Chicago Bears don’t have playoff aspirations…they have Super Bowl aspirations. And they played like it. They showed the Colts’ youngsters how to compete each and every Sunday.
You can’t be tentative…you can’t be hesitant…you can’t be reactive, you have to be proactive. The question is…did the Colts receive this message loud and clear? Coach Pagano thinks so, “You go in there and you point out, ‘Here’s what we’ve got to do in these areas to get better and it all starts with taking care of the football.’ We’ve got enough veteran leadership in there. I know we’ve got a lot of young guys, but we’ve got a lot of young guys that understand what the expectations are.”
Well, Sunday will be the next opportunity to prove they’re up to the challenge. While the loss to the Bears was frustrating…you’d be lying if you didn’t think a double-digit loss was a possibility. 41-21? It sucks…but I can live with that. However, that kind of performance can’t be duplicated against a mediocre Minnesota team…even with their quality standout players: Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen.
The game plan will be simple: Don’t let AP beat you. If you’re going down, it better be because of a super human effort from Christian Ponder (felt weird typing that). Ponder and the Vikings won just two road games last year…and their effective running game has kept him from having to put the ball in the air too often. For the record, both Andrew Luck and Ponder have the same number of career 300-yard games.
Luck and Ponder both have something else in common. Their careers began with a beat down at the hands of the Chicago Bears. Christian Ponder took the first snaps of his career in a 39-10 loss at Soldier Field last October. The next week Ponder got his first start in a close 33-27 loss to the Green Bay Packers. After two weeks of being schooled, Ponder and the Vikes finally responded with a 24-21 win over Carolina.
That’s what has to happen for the Colts on Sunday.
Chicago provided teachable moments…but now a quick turnaround is required against a beatable opponent - in front of a crazy and anxious crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Let’s hope this team is a quick study…
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