Indianapolis Colts Lose Again, Now in Driver’s Seat for No. 1 Pick


The previous weekend was a rather turbulent one for the Indianapolis Colts.

It was capped, of course, with another loss, this one a 31-7 drubbing at home to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Depending on one’s perspective, however, the loss might have been a blessing, as the Miami Dolphins, who until Sunday were the NFL’s only other winless team, beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-3 for their first win of the season — giving the Colts the inside track for the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and its prospective prize, Stanford quarterbakc andrew Luck.

But those weren’t the only story lines surrounding the Colts during this rough weekend.

The game itself got out of hand quickly.

Colts running back Delone Carter, starting in place of the injured Joseph Addai, lost a fumble in Indy territory, and Falcons running back Michael Turner took four hand-offs in for a quick score.

It was all rookie wideout Julio Jones from that point.

The Falcons first fooled the hapless Colts defenders on a reverse to Jones, and then quarterback Matt Ryan threw up a 50-yard bomb that JJones somehow caught with a diving grab down at the goal line between three Colts defensive backs. The officials initially ruled the play an incomplete pass but reversed their decision on review.

In the second quarter, Jones easily got open for a catch on a slant route which he took for an uncontested 80 yards and another touchdown, giving Atlanta an early 21-0 advantage. Jones finished with one more reception and totaled 131 receiving yards and 33 rushing yards.

The Colts’ lone ray of hope came a little while later in the second quarter after punter Pat McAfee had pinned the Falcons at their won 1-yard line. Ryan, seriously miscalculating the route his receiver was running, threw right to Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers, who galloped a few steps into the end zone. It was the Colts’ only touchdown.

Curtis Painter has regressed woefully since his impressive first half against Kansas City in Week 5. He finished 13-of-27 for 98 yards and an interception to former Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden, whom the Colts honored during the game.

The game itself could have been bad enough for the Colts to deal with — Indy fell to 0-9 on the 2011 campaign — but the franchise also received some unwanted negative publicity the morning of the contest.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star had a column on Colts general manager Chris Polian published Sunday morning. Mentioning unnamed sources who had formerly been affiliated with the Colts, the column essentially questioned the younger Polian’s qualifications for running the Colts and whether vice chairman Bill Polian was promoting his son — and his other children — through the organizational ranks on pure nepotism, dismissing scouts and directors of personnel such as Dom Anile.

Bill Polian vehemently fired back at Kravitz’s allegations on the Colts’ postgame radio show, calling Kravitz and/or his unnamed sources “rats.”

It was unwanted bad press for the franchise, but fans in Indianapolis had been wondering whether this was the case given the Colts’ recent struggles in the draft and apparent dysfunction throughout this season without Peyton Manning.

I don’t know for sure what Chris Polian’s credentials are. I know he’s been in the business of football operations his whole life and has seen firsthand how to run a pro franchise, if only because his father will be remembered as one of the greatest team architects in NFL history. If this year’s draft, which Chris oversaw, was any indicator of how he’ll do long-term, I don’t see a major reason for concern. Howver, it’s also reported in Kravitz’s column that the ill-fated trade of a first-round pick for tackle Tony Ugoh was Chris’ doing, so I guess you have both good and bad in your expectations for Chris going forward.

The Colts’ front office presumably will be helped with a high first-round pick next April, and given Miami’s win last weekend and the Colts’ seemingly declining competitiveness on a week-to-week basis, it’s looking more and more likely that pick could be very first one.




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