The problems in Indianapolis go much deeper than Peyton Manning being out. The Colts fall to 0-6 with the worst primetime performance ever. 62-7 does not even capture how bad the Colts played, because the Saints pulled Drew Brees out before the fourth quarter with a 48-7 lead, and never threw a pass after that point. If this were the old Big 8 and Barry Switzer was on the Saints’ sideline needing to impress the pollsters, it would have been 76-7 by game’s end.
How bad was it? 62 points is tied for the most points allowed in a game since the merger, and the 55 point margin is tied for the 3rd largest since that date. Here are the largest margins in a single game, via pro football reference, going back to 1940.
- Chicago Bears 73, Washington Redskins 0 (1940)*
- Cleveland Browns 62, Washington Redskins 3 (1954)
- New England Patriots 59, Tennessee Titans 0 (2009)
- Los Angeles Rams 59, Atlanta Falcons 0 (1976)
- Chicago Bears 57, Baltimore Colts 0 (1962)
- Baltimore Colts 56, Green Bay Packers 0 (1958)
- Pittsburgh Steelers 63, New York Giants 7 (1952)
- New Orleans Saints 62, Indianapolis Colts 7 (2011)
- Jacksonville Jaguars 62, Miami Dolphins 7 (1999)*
- Atlanta Falcons 62, New Orleans Saints 7 (1973)
- Houston Oilers 62, Oakland Raiders 7 (1961)
* post-season game
The Saints did not have to punt until they were up by 55. They did not even face a third down on offense until they were up 28-0. The Colts followed early turnovers with being unable to get anything going except for the lone touchdown drive near the end of the first half.
We’ll never know exactly much of a difference Peyton Manning would have made this year, but I don’t think there’s any way this team would approach a 12 win season and being a playoff contender. They would not have lost 62-7 with Manning picking up first downs instead of Painter’s three and outs, but they might have given up nearly as many points with Brees playing all game. The defense is a disaster on the back end and cannot get off the field, and the Saints used their controlled passing game and Brees’ quick release to neutralize the defensive ends.
Looking back at the Colts’ draft history, it’s been ugly recently. There’s a reason this team is getting old and peeling off the Manning bandaid has opened a big wound. If he misses a couple of games in 2004 or 2005, it wouldn’t have been like this. Who is the impact player the Colts have added since their Super Bowl win in 2006? When Joseph Addai, who is near the end because running backs age in dog years, is your last solid first round pick, that’s a problem. Long gone are the days when Freeney, Mathis, Bob Sanders, and Reggie Wayne were being added in the draft.
Jeff Saturday, one of the veteran leaders, dropped the “we were outcoached” bomb on his cardboard cutout of a head coach. Yeah, that’s not a newsflash. Go watch the Super Bowl from a couple of years ago. I’m not sure what purpose Jim Caldwell serves at this point. Yeah, it stinks that your GM has not done as well the last few years and now you don’t have a quarterback, but 62-7 is unacceptable. Of course, the veterans who have had the benefit of Peyton Manning for years and now experience how the other side feels might want to step up anytime also.
[photo via Getty]