INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano wanted to use Sunday’s preseason opening game with the Buffalo Bills as a measuring stick. He wanted to see just how far his team had come over the first two weeks of training camp.
After watching the Colts muddle through in a 44-20 loss to Buffalo, though, Pagano was anything but pleased.
Dropped passes, turnovers, ill-timed sacks, and inconsistent effort. That’s what plagued Indianapolis. That, and the fact that the Colts were missing 17 players due to injuries and lost four other guys over the course of the game.
Also, most of the team’s key offensive and defensive starters got playing time early and then watched the rest of the game from the sidelines.
Excuses for the way the Colts played? No. Reasons as to why Indy struggled? Partly.
Despite the missing personnel, Pagano expected a much better effort from the rest of his squad. He didn’t get it.
“Obviously, everybody top to bottom is disappointed. Never envisioned [getting] blown out in the football game and having the outcome that we had,” the second-year Colts coach said afterward.
“It’s not what we came in here [Lucas Oil Stadium] to do what we did [Sunday]. Like I told the guys. It’s never as bad as you think it is and it’s never as goods you think it is. It’s somewhere in-between is where reality lies.”
Indianapolis got off to a pretty good start with Andrew Luck starting the game at quarterback. The Colts picked up one first down on its initial offensive possession and then moved the football down to the Bills’ 43-yard line before tight end Coby Fleener could up the football with a fumble.
Fleener had caught a short pass from Luck and then evaded a defender before rambling 24 yards. Cornerback Ron Brooks’ hard tackle forced the fumble, which was recovered by free safety Da’Norris Searcy.