For the third consecutive week, Indianapolis Colts fans hung their heads in disappointment as the clock hit zeros and their team was on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Sunday on the road against the Tennessee Titans (2-1), the Colts (0-3) fell, 25-16, and have now begun the season 0-3 for the first time since 2011 when they finished 2-14.
The early part of the schedule was always going to be tough when you saw their first five opponents all had winning records in 2020, but this start has been difficult and uninspiring to watch. We haven't even hit "moral victory" status at any point in this three-game slide.
Here are some of the main things I noticed during this matchup.
Not Converting When It Counts
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Colts did not do well on third down (3-of-12, 25%) or in the red zone (1-of-3, 33%) on Sunday against the Titans.
It was a one-score game throughout the first three quarters, so not being able to turn red-zone trips into six or seven points, and not being able to extend drives have become game-losing areas. This has come down to play-calling on the sidelines and a lack of execution on the field.
Predictable playcalling, abandoning what's working, a vulnerable backfield, hurried throws, and dropped passes have all reared their head each week.
It's not often that a team who won the turnover margin, 3:0, loses.
Run The Damn Ball?
The Colts' offensive identity over the last few years has become that they focus on running the ball behind their stout offensive line and then letting the rest of the offense flow through that. The moniker is, "run the damn ball."
On Sunday, they entered the game with a quarterback sporting a sprained ankle on each leg and who clearly had issues being his normal mobile self. The Tennessee defense had given up over 106 yards per game on the ground, so the recipe seemed pretty obvious that you may want to get your star running back, Jonathan Taylor, involved early and often.
That's not what happened.
The hobbled quarterback threw the ball 37 times in a game that was pretty close the entire time, and that star running back, who averaged over six yards per carry on the day, toted the ball just 10 times.
Running the ball with Taylor was one of the only things going well for the Colts on Sunday, and it seemed to get ignored. It seems like that guy could probably help with the red zone woes as well.
What Can They Hang Their Hat On?
Yes, the Colts are only three games into this thing, but coming back from being 0-3 to make the playoffs just isn't something we commonly see. It's only been done seven times since 1980. And it's not like the Colts are showing anything that says a turnaround is imminent.
With that said, what are the Colts good at? What can they be happy with when watching the film?
The dominant offensive line they've built over the last three years is still banged-up and springing leaks. On the opposite side, the defensive line they've invested heavily in is getting very little pressure from the edges. The defensive coverage designed to not give up deep pass plays has gotten victimized in two of the three games.
With 14 games remaining, can the Colts find their identity and salvage the season?
What were your biggest takeaways from Sunday? Drop them below in the comment section!