Indianapolis Colts lose to the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars in London to fall to 1-3

Andrew Luck had a good day, but not good enough to bring a winner back to Indy from London.

Andrew Luck had a good day, but not good enough to bring a winner back to Indy from London.

The Indianapolis Colts lost today in a battle between teams that – to be kind – aren’t so good.

Blake Bortles didn’t turn the ball over, and the myriad of penalties committed by the Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t enough to tip the scales toward the Colts.

A late push gave the game and the Colts a little life, but the Colts just couldn’t get over the hump in this 30-27 debacle.

The first half was so dull British Prime Minister Theresa May introduced a measure before Parliament seeking the censure of the United States as a hostile nation for the series of awful games foisted upon England by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

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Well, maybe that didn’t happen, but for those who invested in travel, hotel, and tickets, that hideous first half did nothing to justify their investment.  This was a first half unworthy of a walk across the street, much less a flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Drops and a tipped pass that resulted in a pick ruined an otherwise good day for Luck, who thrives when the tempo is pressed and his ability to improvise is exploited.  One thing Andrew Luck is not is a game manager, but that was exactly what he was asked to be early in this game – as is so often the case.

Luck completed 27-42 passes for 234 yards, two TDs, and that lone freaky interception.  The most troubling number on Luck’s stat line is six.  That’s how many times he was sacked.  On top of the sacks, he was hit a total of 13 times.

With Luck, the Colts are a wobbly 1-3.  If he succumbs to the relentless pounding and Scott Tolzien is asked to lead the offense, the tent can be folded, soaked in kerosene, and burned.

Injuries like those to right tackle Joe Reitz and left guard Denzell Good play a role in the Colts woes, but every team loses talented players.  The Patriots lost two hall of famers in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to suspension and injury respectively, and Rob Ninkovich has been shelved as well.  Back-up QB Jimmy Garropolo went down too.  They are a dominant 3-0.

Trips to London are weird.  Until a team goes through the travel, players and coaches have no idea how to do it exactly right so a team plays at its best.  Hard to see how the travel might have caused a loss to one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Excuses don’t make 1-3 any prettier.

One of the few bright spots was Frank Gore, who continues to defy age, completing the first quarter of the season with 253 rushing yards.  That puts him on pace to be the oldest back in more than 30 years to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark.

The only question worth asking now is whether that light at the end of the tunnel indicates a prosperous emergence from the dark or an oncoming train.  The answer will come in due time over 12 of the next 13 weeks, but there are few indicators that the Colts will rebound from this slow start to finish the season with a playoff berth.

It appears the Colts are mediocre at best in virtually every respect.  The coaching staff is resistant to take away what offenses do best, and the ongoing insistence that Luck must manage a game rather than attack it seems a half measure arrogant and the other half hyper-cautious.

Receivers drop passes, defenders miss tackles, and other than special teams, the Colts are generally the lesser team.

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Regardless of whether the bigger problem is the players gathered by general manager Ryan Grigson or how they are deployed by coach Chuck Pagano, (perhaps a miserable combination of the two), the sad truth is that the Colts are just not very good right now.

Owner Jim Irsay has a long flight ahead of him.  That should give him all the quiet time he needs to contemplate the direction of his franchise, and how or whether it might be adjusted.

But in the NFL, good news is only seven days away.  Maybe next week something clicks as the Chicago Bears visit.  Hope lives in Indianapolis, even if the justification for it is difficult to see.

Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-6p, and writes about Indiana sports at

15 thoughts on “Indianapolis Colts lose to the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars in London to fall to 1-3

  1. Brent Baer

    why in the world was Josh Ferguson in the game come crunch time. Frank Gore is the ultimate professional, been in every type of game situation yet Pagano or Chud or whoever made the call has a rookie that can’t catch a cold in there with the game on the line including 4th and 1. You mentioned coaching. This team has enough talent to compete and or win the South but not with Pagano. Love the man as a person but it is time to get a dominate personality on board that actually holds these guys accountable, leads them and more importantly gets the best out of them. A players coach is great but these guys need a change. The problem would be a lost 2016 as it is really hard to blow something up during the season and expect positive and immediate results. Very frustrating as it seems some of the coaching decisions at this level is not even on par with some quality high school level coaching. IM JUST SAYIN.

  2. Tom Gulley

    A few years ago, a man named Kent Sterling assured me that kicking Peyton Manning out of town for the glorious and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to draft Andrew Luck was the smartest move on earth.

    How’s that working out? Because while Mr. Sterling chided me for not really understanding the situation, he was told directly by me that it would end up being a moronic move, orchestrated by a drug-addicted Jim Irsay, who was one of the worst NFL GMs in HISTORY when his daddy let him play “Mr. Football Man.”

    He then went on to become a poster child for eating oxycontins like Skittles while the Indianapolis media–including Mr. Sterling–just kept giving him pass after pass. Ignoring the pharma-elephant in the room that EVERYBODY in town knew about.

    Let’s just see how it worked out.

    1. PEYTON MANNING. The guy who Irsay didn’t think could play any more? The guy they let walk out of town without getting so much as a kicking tee for him? Arguably the greatest NFL QB of all time? Yeah, he went on to shatter even MORE records, went to TWO Super Bowls and won ONE of them.

    2. JIM IRSAY. Do we need to go over the drug thing again? And the Indy sports media turning a blind eye to it for over a decade? Currying favor rather than doing their job? Do we need to discuss the pompous claim that he needed “more of these” while showing off the ring Peyton and Polian brought to town? Because the Broncos now have “more of these” and the Colts haven’t gotten a sniff.

    3. THE COLTS. Mr. Sterling was told how stupid it is to have a rookie QB, rookie coach, and rookie GM ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Now that the smart player moves from the previous administration have totally left town, the Colts are reaping what they sew.

    4. ANDREW LUCK. Is he even in the top FIVE NFL quarterbacks at present? Top ten? OK, but borderline. He’s basically Mark Brunnell 2.0.

    This is why Indianapolis sports coverage–ESPECIALLY on the radio–totally sucks. There are no true sports journalists or people who understand sports. Just party line guys like Mr. Sterling with bluster, bombast, and boosterism. They’ll make a fuss about what HAPPENED, but they couldn’t tell you what WILL HAPPEN if their lives depended on it. Just re-warming press releases, basically.

    I hate to say “I told you so” but…actually, that’s not true. I hate to HAVE to say “I told you so” but I TOLD YOU SO. One day, when you learn something about professional sports, I’ll explain another basic, “I could see it from five years away, why couldn’t you?” precept of sports coverage.

    1. joel

      jeez..another rant about getting rid of Manning again.
      Ya think people would be over that by now or have the common
      sense to understand why that move was made. Some people
      just dont get it.

      Here we go….again….

      First of all Manning was not kicked out of town.
      He was not treated like dirt and ran out on a rail like you eluded to.
      The colts were presented with an aging hall of fame
      qb with a contract that ran out with a questionable future
      due to a damaged neck that they were going to have to back
      up the Brinks truck to his house. In the draft there
      was a promising young qb sitting there waiting to be drafted by them.
      So it would have made more sense to keep Manning for 4 more years, 2 maybe prodocutive ones
      and possibly waste the chance on another star in the making for another 12-15 yrs?
      No, does not make sense to trade four years for a dozen and probably more with a QB like Luck waiting in the wings. You don’t pass up on qb’s like that when those circumstances happen.

      The colts would have screwed themselves by doing that. There are plenty of teams with QB issues
      and that is a main part of the puzzle, its an obvious no brainer to make that move.
      Manning never would have survived the beatings Luck has taken. He would probably
      be in a wheel chair and eating the rest of his life through a straw.
      They did him a favor(Denvers d won that SB last year by the way, Manning was done). The Colts never would have made it to the SB with Manning.
      His contract would have hampered them in building for the future. Yeah it stinks
      you have to let a qb like him go, but you have to make business decisions that
      are best for the whole, not for one or sentimental reasons. No brainer.

      Its a once in a lifetine chance to have almost 30 yrs of high quality qb play.
      How many teams get that chance…not many. Thats a huge gift.
      Is Luck as good as Manning right now ? No he is not. Manning had a much better team and
      players around him vs what Luck has been given. This current team has been constructed very
      poorly around him, and I blame RG for that. He has had to carry the load for the last
      four plus years. Its unfortunate, but he cant afford to screw up becasue there is no room for
      error since the rest of the roster is that bad. He has to make up for the bad play , and when he errors
      it hurts. He is human and those things happen.

      The Colts made the right decision, I would pull that hands down every time.

      Irsay is a good person and had a bad habit unfortunatley.

      If you dont like the local sports media/radio…dont listen and read. Its pretty easy to do
      and you can start your own blog!

      1. Tom Gulley

        “The Colts made the right decision.”

        Then were are their Super Bowl rings? Professional sports is about CHAMPIONSHIPS. That’s what they play for.

        Would have, could have, should have? That’s Indianapolis thinking. The rest of us will STICK WITH THE FACTS. (Facts that were openly predicted FIVE YEARS AGO now coming to full fruition.)

        Irsay, the pill addict who likes to show off his ring and buy condos for women who kill themselves inside them, let a guy walk out of town who then went to TWO Super Bowls–SHATTERING RECORDS BEYOND BELIEF AFTER LEAVING–and winning another Super Bowl.

        Yeah, your revisionist history may keep you warm at night, but the handwriting is on the wall. The Broncos made the smart move. The Colts made the stupid move. Some of us saw it five years ago.

        Others still aren’t up to speed.

          1. Tom Gulley

            If you can’t read the thread up to this point and comprehend that on your own, I’m not confident restating it would make a dent in your brainpan.

        1. Kent Sterling Post author

          Where in the hell was this screed when the Colts went 11-5 in 2012, 11-5 in 2013, and 2014 with a trip to the AFC Championship at the expense of Manning and the Broncos?

          And right now, I take Luck the quarterback all day over Manning the spokesperson. You can cry, carp, and wail all you like, but spouting nonsense only makes you sound like a chump.

          Your shots at Irsay, who suffers from a disease, make you a classless chump.

          1. Tom Gulley

            ZERO Super Bowl appearances for the Colts.

            TWO for Manning with one ring.

            The numbers are crystal clear. YOU, not I, claimed that letting PEYTON MANNING walk out of town was a brilliant move because the team would be getting Andrew Luck.

            My screed during those years was concentrated on Manning’s shattering record after record, appearances in the AFC Championship, and the two Super Bowl appearances, with the one victory.

            That’s where my screed was. YOU can throw up the Cotls “also-ran” records all you want. We heard Manning was too expensive–from you–and there wouldn’t be money for a line to protect him. There’d be no money for the D, you claimed.

            How’s that working out for Luck? He keeps getting sacked. Throwing picks.

            Seems like the Broncos found a way to get a pretty good defense, doesn’t it? And still paid Peyton Manning and protected him. YOU, not I, claimed this was some impossible combination elsewhere.

            It’s about rings. It’s about winning championships. The Broncos had their backup go elsewhere. They’re 4-0 this year with a second year QB. Their second year QB got injured in the second quarter last week, so they went with a rookie and still won.

            Don’t hear them carping about how their #1 guy is hurt.

            One more time, the Broncos made the smart move. The Colts made the stupid move. It’s crystal clear as the shine on a Lombardi trophy. Or the lack thereof.

            ONE MORE TIME, you were TOLD and TOLD SPECIFICALLY that this move would result in the Broncos succeeding–getting the better of the situation–and the Colts would be OK until the Polian influence wore off. I told you that in CRYSTAL CLEAR terms.

            I told you that a rookie QB, rookie GM, and rookie coach combo would result in ineptitude as soon as the stability established by Polian and Manning wore off.

            You chided me differently. Just like you’re doing now in the face of the obvious factual irrefutable certainty that the Broncos thrived with Manning (SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES AND A VICTORY), and now look at how the “QB of the future” gambit has paid off for the Colts. Mark Brunnell 2.0 who thinks he’s a linebacker. Lucky if they even make the playoffs this year.

            Facts are facts. The Broncos went to two Super Bowls and won one. 4-0 RIGHT NOW. The Colts are 1-3 coming off an 8-8 season. That sort of naive “thinking” might fly in Indianapolis, but in the real world, reality talks and being wrong (after being told what would happen FIVE YEARS IN ADVANCE) walks.

            Next time, try to remember how condescending and wrong you’ll look five years later when reality comes home. You were an ass five years ago–a naive one–and now it’s been proven.

            Here are some more FACTS that I’m sure won’t change your OPINION.


          2. Kent Sterling Post author

            You are as verbose as you are arrogant, and you are arrogant as you are wrong. Your tired chiding is revisionist nonsense. Manning never would have made it through any of the last three seasons as a Colt behind that offensive line. The Colts made the right call – the obviously right call – except to you.

            Hey, look at that! I completed a thought in a single paragraph without capitalizing an entire word! And I am still right.

  3. Joel

    oh…when you said about 5 yrs ago, it would have put us in the fall of 2011 when they brought in Kerry Collins. I thought that was the move you were taking about. 🙂

    I feel that I am a rational and a objective person. I would like to be explained to how the Colts would have been better off keeping Manning for the next four years and where the future of the franchise would be as far as going in that direction. You cant compare teams, Broncos and Colts. Those were two different organizations with different talent levels and personnel at that time. Granted ,either way was a gamble . He was given a set of circumstances and by looking at the “whole picture”, which you need to do, he made the move for Luck. That was his call.
    If you want to rail on RG, have at it on that one. That was a mistake and he should be gone.

    But once again explain to me how the franchise would be better off in 2016 by keeping Manning.
    Remember you have to be objective and look at the “whole picture” going into that decision.

    Kent, you might need to get a restraining order on this gentleman.

  4. Tom Gulley

    This is hilarious.

    The Denver Broncos now possess a Super Bowl trophy. (They went to TWO.) They are 4-0. Peyton Manning is gone. The guy they’d tabbed to take over is gone. They are using a second-year quarterback. He’s injured so they went with a rookie and still won their last game.

    The Indianapolis Colts had a 8-8 season last year. They’re 1-3 this year. They have not been to a Super Bowl.

    Sure. You were right. Keep telling yourself that.

    Rookie QB. Rookie GM. Rookie coach. Look at the Colt’s roster. Look at the Broncos roster.

    Not only who has WON more, but who is POSITIONED to win more? The FACTS are so crystal clear only a buffoon who uses the word “chump”–is this an episode of Good TImes?–would fail to see it.

    No, really. Great idea. No, you’re totally right. Enjoy watching the continued mediocrity. Maybe you can have a pretend Super Bowl trophy made to go along with your pretending to be right.

    The results are IN. The facts are CLEAR.

    “We haven’t won a damn thing, we were 8-8 last year, and we’re 1-3 this year, but I’m right! That currently undefeated team with the Super Bowl in its pocket that’s using a second year QB? They were WRONG!”

    It’s so sad, it’s funny.

  5. Tom Gulley

    Wow. I was told by Mr. Sterling five years ago that Manning HAD to leave because his contract would preclude the purchase of an offensive line to protect him, and a DEFENSE.

    Ryan Grigson just said that when you pay ANDREW LUCK what you’re paying him, that defense is a work in progress.

    Jeepers. That really sounds like the Colts made the right move. And that somebody is just a dude who re-warms up press releases and box scores.

    NO understanding of professional sports. Just “Hey, did you see the game? Here’s what I thought happened…”

    No worries. I’ve got actual sports talk hosts and a five time NFL All-Pro on the record as being completely befuddled by the notion that the Colts came out on top, letting Manning go. Their response is universal.

    First guy said it best. “Well, obviously the Broncos came out on top. They have Mr. Lombardi’s trophy.”

    I guess now Ryan Grigson also agrees. Manning let go to get Luck, an O-line, and a defense.

    Now the only one of those three things the Colts actually GOT is getting paid more than any other player in the NFL, and is broken very frequently. Broncos undefeated.

    Right. The Colts really outsmarted everybody on that one. That’s the kind of genius football move a guy makes when he’s eating Oxycontins, cheating on his wife with a girl that ODs in the house he bought for her, then moving on to wreck another family’s marriage by hooking up with a married woman. After being maybe the worst GM in NFL history when his daddy let him play “football man.”

    Being wrong isn’t a sin, Kent. Refusing to admit it IS.

    1. Tom Gulley

      This week, Luck outdueled by BROCK OSWEILER. 2-4 now in Indy.

      When’s it going to sink in? For the glorified program director, NEVER.

      I’m sure the Broncos are regretting that Lombardi trophy, knowing Kent Sterling knew better.

      1. Kent Sterling Post author

        There is no glorification for a program director.

        If not for Luck, the quarterback of the Colts would be Scott Tolzien. I’ll hang up and listen.

    2. Kent Sterling Post author

      Who knew five years ago that Grigson would author two train wreck drafts in 2013 and 2014, and sign all the wrong veteran free agents. Allowing Manning to walk away was the right call given the information the Colts had at the time. The Broncos won a Super Bowl because the defense was dynamic, and Manning was clever enough not to lose it with what had become a noodle for an arm.

      Your attack on Irsay reflect a personal animosity that should have nothing to do with an otherwise well thought out and reasonable argument that the Colts should have held on to Manning and drafted Matt Kalil or Luke Kuechly, which you actually didn’t make but I will offer on your behalf because I like specificity rather than vague blather.


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