65,781 people packed into a brisk, sold-out, Lucas Oil Stadium for the 1 p.m. kickoff against division rival Tennessee.
65,781 people went maniacal for Shaquille Leonard as he sprinted through a giant horseshoe for player introductions as he returned from injury.
No number is known for how many Colts fans or Titans fans were a part of that 65,781 number, but by the end of the day, one thing was true.
COLTS FANS WERE DISAPPOINTED.
1.) Front Office and Coaches
With the loss on Sunday, Oct. 2, the Indianapolis Colts fall to 1-2-1 on the year.
The Colts fell to the Titans 24-17 in a turnover-riddled football game in Indianapolis.
Not only do the Colts have one win, but they are also 0-3 in the AFC South and sit in third place. Yeah one of them is a tie, but let's be real, the tie versus the Texans is an absolute loss for the Colts.
To have already played half of your division through week 4, and not come out with a victory in any of those games really puts you in a tough position going forward.
The Colts shot out of the gate to a nice deficit of 24-3, not exactly something to be proud of with 7:40 left remaining in the second quarter.
It is not like the Colts' offense was stagnant either, in fact, they outperformed Tennessee in total offensive yards by 122.
People can say “well yeah but we held them scoreless in the second half,” but to be honest, it does not matter because, in the end, a loss is a loss.
2.) Jonathan Taylor
Arguably the best running back in the National Football League (NFL) was held to 42 yards on 20 attempts against the Titans which spells major problems for the Colts.
Last year, Taylor was unstoppable and untouchable, but this year, opposing teams have enough film to easily stop the run game that has looked nothing like the past season. Another reason why the front office and coaches should be questioned is that they have had no answers for defenses this year.
Taylor went head-to-head with Derrick Henry and many around the league consider them to be the two best Running Backs in football.
Henry far outshined Taylor, as he gained 114 yards on the ground.
3.) A horrendous offensive line
The Colts are spending S42.67 million, with the biggest possible M in million, on their offensive line yet the results from the bunch have been nothing short of horrible.
Their performance has halted Taylor and the run game that Indianapolis was known for last year and, with the collapse of the O-Line, Matt Ryan has collapsed as well.
Ryan has four interceptions on the year and nine (yes, NINE) fumbles in only four games. He is on pace for 38 or more fumbles for the season. The NFL record is only 23 fumbles in a season.
Ryan continued to keep the fumble streak alive, fumbling twice with one being recovered.
We can talk about how bad Ryan is at holding on to the football, but all problems stem back to the O-Line. Without proper time in the pocket, Ryan is pressured to make a play.
4.) Where are the weapons?
General Manager Chris Ballard spent the entire offseason refusing to invest in signing a star wide receiver in free agency. It’s been a constant theme throughout his time in Indianapolis’ front office, but it feels as though this year it’s coming back to bite him.
Rookie Alec Pierce looks to be coming on nicely after 4 receptions for 80 yards on Sunday, but outside of that, there aren’t many receivers that are creating separation.
That, combined with the poor offensive line-play, go hand-in-hand. No separation from the receivers causes Matt Ryan to hold on to the ball, which gives the opposing pass rush more time to pounce. And, since there’s no real passing game threat for the Colts, it allows teams to play the run against them, which makes life harder for Johnathan Taylor.
It’s safe to say a lot of the Colts' issues through the first 4 weeks are a full-swing domino effect.
5.) Shaquille Leonard’s return cut short
With Leonard being easily the heart and soul of the defense (maybe the heart and soul of the whole team) it was sickening to see him tucked on the field grasping his head as coaches and medical team members rushed to help the player who just returned.
And with a Thursday night game fast approaching for Indy, there’s a great chance we don’t see him on the field for at least another two weeks.
1.) Strong tight end group
The three tight ends Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods had a combined 180 yards out of the 356 yards in the air, just barely over 50% of the receiving yards in the loss to Tennessee.
Alie-Cox led the team with 85 yards and two touchdowns as well.
This is the second week in a row a Colts tight end caught two touchdowns in a game, with Woods’ hauling them in last week.
2.) Matt Ryan knows can throw the football [when he is not turning it over].
As bad as the turnovers are, and yes, they arguably lost the game, Ryan can still sling the rock.
Ryan was 27/37 on completions, threw for 356 yards (pretty decent), two touchdowns and one interception.
Even with a deteriorating offensive line and receivers struggling to get open, he found a way to give the Colts a chance late in the game.
3.) Alec Pierce is becoming a threat.
After a bad week one, Pierce left the first game with zero yards, and a dropped touchdown pass.
Although struggling that first week, Pierce has improved production greatly. Pierce had 80 reception yards on only four catches. One of the receptions was long distance in the form of a 44-yard pass from Ryan to put them within scoring range in the late fourth quarter (the colts ended up missing the field goal).
As a rookie receiver, he has been on the up since the first week, gaining more yards every game he has taken the field.
4.) Some bright spots on defense
The Colts shut out the Titans in the second half, which they absolutely deserve some credit for.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin has improved his total tackle output each week and wound up with 15 on Sunday. He’s been a big part in stepping up for Shaquille Leonard’s absence.
Second-year Defensive end tandem Dayo Odeyingbo and Kwity Paye each recorded a sack, continuing their strong starts to the 2022-23 campaign.
The pass rush of Indy has been a hole on the team for a couple of years now, and they wreaked some havoc in the Tennessee backfield on Sunday.
5.) COLTS FANS.
Lucas Oil Stadium was not only packed to the brim, but it was also incredibly loud.
It is disappointing to see a group of fans show up to a home game, just to be discouraged and honestly disgusted by what they see on the field.
And it begs the question: Where do the Colts go from here?
They have a quick turnaround, as they will travel to Denver to play the Broncos on Thursday night.
The clock is ticking on this season. Colts fans have been patient throughout the Ballard-Reich partnership, understanding that the timing of Andrew Luck’s retirement changed the outlook for the team.
But if they can’t turn it around, it’s possible, if not overwhelmingly likely, there will be changes within the Colts Organization.