By Jake Russell
Early on, the defense, especially Indiana native Ryan Kerrigan, showed they wanted to win this game.
A sack-fumble created by Kerrigan that gave the Redskins offense the ball at the Indianapolis Colts’ 15-yard line was followed up with three plays for eight yards resulting in only a field goal.
The next Colts drive lasted only four plays when safety Ryan Clark notched his first interception since 2013 and gave the Redskins the ball back at the Colts’ 45-yard line. The offense again put up a dud, mustering only a three-and-out and a punt to the Colts’ 17-yard line.
After trailing 21-3, the Redskins put together strong scoring drives to end the first half and begin the second half to cut the Colts lead to 21-17.
That was as close as it would get the rest of the game.
At the end of the day, Andrew Luck put up a monumental performance by going 19 of 27 for 370 yards, five touchdowns and one interception on the way to a 49-27 drubbing. The loss knocked the Redskins down to 3-9, marking their ninth losing season since 2002.
First quarter defense
The Redskins defense gave the offense the best chance to start out strong and dictate the momentum of the game by forcing two turnovers on the first two drives. Kerrigan played like a man possessed in his first regular season game in his home state before injuring his right wrist. That’s about all I’ve got.
Reed had his best game of the season with nine catches for 123 yards. He was targeted 11 times, including four times in the final drive of the third quarter. Five of his catches went for first downs. Reed showed why, when healthy, he is a valuable asset but until he can prove to be healthy for extended periods of time, that will always come into question.
When the duo of Donte Moncrief and Coby Fleener combine for 261 yards and four touchdowns on just seven catches, you know it’s been a bad day. The total would have included 52 more yards and another touchdown had Fleener not dropped a wide open pass in the second quarter.
The miscommunication by the defense was evident with Colts receivers routinely running themselves wide open. When there wasn’t open space for them to roam, Luck and his receivers still beat the secondary in one form or another.
Luck threw for a career-high five touchdowns on the Redskins secondary and threw for 300 yards or more for the 10th time this season, a new Colts record. He also became the third-fastest player to throw for 12,000 yards in NFL history. Is it just me or does someone seem to set a record or important benchmark against the Redskins every week?
The inability to avoid sacks isn’t limited to just Robert Griffin III. The line has played bad all year and the quarterbacks have not helped much. Against Indianapolis, McCoy was sacked six times for 51 yards.
The Redskins have allowed 22 sacks in the last four games and 25 in the last five. The offense has allowed at least three sacks in seven games this season.
For the sake of building the team properly, hopefully the Redskins will focus on the offensive line in the 2015 draft. The Redskins are on a bullet train to a top-five pick and the top offensive line prospects, Iowa tackle/guard Brandon Scherff or Stanford tackle Andrus Peat, should be available.
The Redskins closed the gap to 21-17 on the opening drive of the second half but before anyone could bat an eye, it was 28-17. Back on offense again, the Redskins took the ball to their own 41-yard line. After four straight passes, the Redskins attempt a fifth on 4th-and-inches but tight end Logan Paulsen missed his blocking assignment on Colts defensive end Erik Walden, who sacks and strips Colt McCoy while linebacker D’Qwell Jackson returns the ball 35 yards for a touchdown to put the game away. While the majority of the blame goes to Paulsen for blocking someone intended for tackle Trent Williams to take on and letting Walden run free, the real question is why not give it to your horse, Alfred Morris to gain a couple of inches? Why throw in that situation after passing four times before? Does this represent a lack of faith in Morris? Is this a lack of faith in the offensive line’s run blocking?
As the third quarter came to a close and the fourth quarter began, the Redskins were down 42-24 but were still knocking on the door of another touchdown. The team had three consecutive plays at either the one- or two-yard line and failed to score on any of those plays, including an incomplete pass from McCoy to Reed on fourth down.