‘Sleepwalking’ Colts Put on Notice by Former NFL GM

Indianapolis Colts

Getty Former NFL general manager Randy Mueller was critical of how the Indianapolis Colts played in Week 1.

The Indianapolis Colts played well enough in the fourth quarter to salvage a tie against the Houston Texans in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. But Indianapolis’ 17-unanswered points on September 11 wasn’t enough for the Colts to escape criticism from Heavy’s NFL front officer insider Randy Mueller.

Mueller blasted several NFL preseason favorites following Week 1 performances on September 14, one of which was the Colts.

“The same could be said of the Los Angeles Rams effort on Thursday night,” Mueller wrote. “Were they ready to play? Nah.

“The Green Bay Packers or Indianapolis Colts? They both looked as though they were sleepwalking and playing like they were too cool for school.”

The Colts outgained the Texans, 517-299, in Week 1. So the term “sleepwalking” might be a little harsh, but a plethora of blunders from Indianapolis led to the 20-20 tie.

Colts Make Mistakes in All 3 Phases

Indianapolis had a chance to take control of Week 1 early, as the Colts did twice last year against Houston. But rookie receiver Alec Pierce dropped a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter and then head coach Frank Reich’s fourth-down play call with Nyheim Hines in the wild card formation backfired.

On 2 of the Colts’ next 3 possessions, quarterback Matt Ryan made critical mistakes with an interception and fumble on a botched snap. The Texans scored touchdowns following both of those Colts giveaways.

Defensively, Indianapolis struggled covering tight end OJ Howard near the goal line. He only caught 2 passes but scored both of Houston’s touchdowns on 16 and 22-yard receptions. Although it was a question call, nickel cornerback Kenny Moore II committed a 33-yard pass interference penalty that set up the first Texans touchdown.

That was 1 of 2 pass interference fouls Moore had called against him in Week 1.

On special teams, kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who the Colts waived on September 13, hit 2 kickoffs out of bounds to set up the Texans with great field position. Blankenship also missed a 42-yard field goal in overtime.

During the third quarter, a running into the punter penalty gave Houston a first down on a punt from inside the end zone. That mistake didn’t lead to more points for the Texans, but it ate up more clock. Furthermore, the field position the Colts lost because of the penalty was significant.

With that laundry list of blunders, it’s easy to see why Mueller called the Colts “sleepwalking.”

Colts Winless Streak in Week 1 Continues

While Indianapolis snapped its losing streak on opening week, the Colts still haven’t won a game in Week 1 since 2013.

That’s the longest active winless streak in season openers around the league. The Cleveland Browns snapped their winless streak with a victory against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 this year.

The Colts are now tied with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington franchise for the second-longest winless streak in season openers in NFL history.

Last year, the Colts began 0-3 before going 9-3 over their next 12 games. That run placed Indianapolis in postseason position despite the slow start, but then the Colts collapsed with two losses at the end of the season and missed the playoffs.

Reich talked about playing the team’s starters more in the preseason this year to prepare better for Week 1 and the beginning of the regular season. Clearly, that extra preseason action for the starters didn’t help much in Houston.

Hopefully it can help the Colts avoid “sleepwalking” against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. Indianapolis can’t afford to go winless in the first two weeks with the Kansas City Chiefs on deck in Week 3.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeffrey McCreary
Jeffrey McCreary
20 days ago

The coaching staff certainly was sleep walking. Colt’s current staff is notoriously poor with in game decision making. Head coach has no respect for points (early in the game – on the road – take the points and keep the pressure on).

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x