I woke up Sunday morning expecting to sit through a Colts blowout loss against the team that took over the Horseshoes’ original stomping grounds. Yet, that didn’t happen.
After a fight that had great things like a record-setting performance and one of the best endings I have seen in a while, the Colts defeated the Baltimore Ravens 22-19.
Spending money on a kicker worked
When the Colts signed kicker Matt Gay during free agency, I was not the happiest fan. A $22.5 million contract? What is Chris Ballard thinking?
A few months later, I have no problem with it. The 29-year-old set a National Football League (NFL) record in Sunday’s overtime victory with four field goals over fifty yards. He finished the game with five total makes. He couldn’t miss.
Over the last few seasons, Colts fans have clutched the seat of their recliners when their kicker would trot out. Now that Gay is here, I believe those days of closing your eyes when the ball is snapped to the holder are officially over.
The defense and the Ravens’ turnover trouble
The first few weeks of the 2023 campaign showed football fans that the defensive line is the real deal. Yesterday’s win enforced that even more. Recovering fumbles, getting to Lamar Jackson, and making big plays when needed.
Yet, I can’t mention fumbles without being honest about the way they happened. Part of it was on the Ravens offense. Jackson lost the ball multiple times including a play that he easily could have thrown it away.
Though the Ravens had some costly mistakes, it came down to the Colts defense again. With a sack by Kwity Paye and a no-call pass interference penalty on EJ Speed, the Colts had the momentum.
Yes, it did look like Speed grabbed the receiver before the ball was there, but come on. Tell the $260 million quarterback to hang on to the football. You shouldn’t even be in that position to begin with.
The big plays by the defense led to multiple field goals by Gay, including the game-winner. Even though they played well, the Colts’ secondary needs a lot of work. But hey, it was good enough for a win.
If Anthony Richardson can be half of what Lamar Jackson is, the Colts are set
While Garner Minshew played well, except for the dumbest safety of all time, he’s not the starter. Get the thought of that out of your head. Minshew is a great backup, but this is Anthony Richardson’s team and will be for a very long time.
Before this game, Richardson mentioned that Jackson is one of the quarterbacks he looks up to and models himself after. The comparisons are there. Both are great on their feet, can make great throws, and will not slide.
This is probably something a realistic fan shouldn't do, but I watched Jackson with amazement. Multiple times while being in the pocket, he would just take off. It was awesome, even though I was screaming at my television because the defense missed some tackles.
I kept thinking to myself, could this be Richardson in two seasons? The answer is yes. He’s young, so I don’t expect him to become this quarterback this or even next season. Though he’s looked good in his first two NFL games, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
While I think we’re seasons away from Richardson’s prime, if he can do even half of what Jackson does for Baltimore, we Indy fanatics will be entertained for years.
The success won’t last
The Colts are now 2-1 and lead the AFC South. Many fans took to X (still Twitter to me) and celebrated the achievement, but this is not going to last. Let me remind you that the Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs last year, who would go on to win the Super Bowl.
It’s the same scenario. Maybe Indianapolis wins two, maybe three more games? I would be fine with that. The Colts need to build up for the next few years.
So if you're expecting this Colts team to continue the early success, you should probably come back down to reality before the season goes up in flames.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X@ZachCarter85.