Despite controlling the game for the majority of the afternoon, the Colts would eventually squander their grip and fall, 17-16.
They started at their version of rocket speed for the first three quarters, leading the game 13-3. The fourth quarter proved to be where the Colts would be outworked, being outscored by 11 points after also missing a crucial third-quarter field goal attempt from 50 yards out by Chase McLaughlin.
This was another underwhelming performance from the Colts' offense, even under new interim head coach Jeff Saturday and against an elite football team in the Eagles. To hold Philadelphia to a meager 17 points and still rely on your kicker to put up 9 of the 16 points isn’t going to win a Lombardi Trophy, regardless of who your defense comprises.
For starters, the Colts' passing game wasn’t where they want it. Quarterback Matt Ryan was a pedestrian 23-of-32 passing for 213 yards with 0 touchdowns as well as no turnovers.
That type of production isn’t going to help catapult any organization to defend home turf against a surging team like the Eagles that knows your strength is running the football with Jonathan Taylor. The bell cow back finished with 22 carries for 84 yds and a touchdown along with 3 receptions for 10 yards on 4 targets.
"I thought we had a good idea of what we needed to do to win," Ryan told reporters after the game. "We did a lot of good things, but made too many mistakes along the way."
He’d go on later to acknowledge the talent he faced, saying, "When you have your opportunities to finish games against really good football teams, you have to do that and we didn’t do that today."
Ryan also said, "It’s boring, but we just have to execute better than we have."
The Colts came into Week 11 tied for the second-most offensive turnovers at 18. They now can say they’re tied with the New Orleans Saints at 19 after another offering via a crucial Taylor fumble.
Another player who was insightful in the defeat was wide receiver Parris Campbell. This year, as we’ve seen, he’s flourished under Ryan. On Sunday, he put together a nice 5 receptions for 67 yards with a long of 31 yards. Even with a solid performance like that, Campbell was honest about his opinion on the lost opportunities for the entire 2022 season through 11 games.
"I mean, I think that’s the name of the game," Campbell lamented. "The name of this game, at least, you know what I mean? I felt like we had that game won, it was just a lot of self-inflicted wounds, which, I mean, that’s what it’s been throughout this season."
It wasn’t just the players who sounded off, but also the leader of the Colts, Saturday.
You could tell frustration from both wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne and Saturday when the closing moments were occurring during the game. With such a close win in sight against a marquee team, Saturday reflected after the game.
"Tough one, right?" Saturday began. "We had one right in front of us and didn’t execute to get the win."
He goes on to say, "We had too many mistakes. Too many penalties, too many negative plays."
Saturday also briefly called out McLaughlin for his missed kick, which ultimately if made, propels the Colts to a potential 19-17 win over the NFC front-runner.
Saturday would later go on to praise the defense for their performance.
"I thought our defense was playing good, they were playing good enough to win, I thought any points were good points," Saturday said. "However, the negative plays set you back into needing field goals. It just takes you out of any aggressive mindset."
With their playoff hopes now in peril, the Colts will re-tool and prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers next Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Will we see a resurgence from the offense? Or, a continuation of the field-goal-dependence of a kicker signed full-time from the practice squad? We will have to wait another eight days to find out.
Despite the offensive struggles, it needs to be said that this is the first time the Colts have looked alive, ready, and angry to fight for wins. Even in the face of a one-point defeat at the hands of arguably the best team in football, the Colts show true grit and could give playoff-hopeful teams issues down the stretch in the new Saturday regime.