Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano says there's no sole reason why his team's offense has fizzled a bit in the second half of both games so far. But it needs to be fixed.
The Colts scored 14 of their 21 points in the first half of their 21-17 win over the Oakland Raiders. They scored 17 first-half points in their 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The first game was saved by the Andrew Luck-directed late touchdown drive. The second was lost when Luck's luck ran out. In both cases, however, the Colts needed late-game heroics because of general second-half stagnancy.
“Again, I think credit Miami, credit their front seven and credit their rush,” Pagano said. “Anytime you can make a quarterback uncomfortable, so to speak, make him move his feet, get him off the spot, things that we tried to do defensively against Ryan Tannehill, it makes it difficult.
“We had some guys open down the field,” Pagano said. “We had a strike thrown that gets tipped by a linebacker underneath. There's a bunch of things that factor into that. They had a hand it. We had a hand in it.”
The Colts had 242 yards passing in the first half and 73 in the second half against the Dolphins. Luck hit T.Y. Hilton six times for 124 yards in the first half and missed him on three second-half attempts. Reggie Wayne had four catches for 28 yards in the first half, one catch for 18 in the second half.
Luck had 127 of his 178 yards passing in the first half against the Raiders, so it seems to be a trend, if a trend is possible two games into the season. The Colts play at the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.
“I think it's still very early in the season, but I did notice Miami doubled Reggie, late in the game especially,” Luck said. “Those guys know, especially Reggie, we all know Reggie Wayne's going to be double-covered at some point in the game. He still manages to get open and make catches. T.Y., maybe he is, maybe he's not. It depends on the style of defense. Guys know they've got to get open and I think Pep (Hamilton) does a great job of creating opportunities for them to get open.”
The Colts had two big pass plays taken away by penalties, including a completion to Dominique Jones and a touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener. The penalty on the Fleener catch was an illegal shift on Wayne. Pagano said officials ruled he didn't come to a full-second stop after lining up before going in motion. At any rate, it was a rare and unusual call.
“We realize we can't go back and do anything about it,” Luck said. “They won fair and square. You can't complain about it. You can't say you got cheated ... . We realize we've got a lot of work to do. We looked at it, saw our mistakes, cleaned a few up today and hopefully fundamentally we'll continue to get better. You'd love to win but we didn't, so move on to the next one.”
Heyward-Bey on the mend
Pagano said he expects wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to be ready for the 49ers after suffering either a rib or shoulder injury against the Dolphins. The Colts listed it as a rib injury, but Heyward-Bey said it wasn't any one single area.
“I think it's his whole backside, the way he landed,” Pagano said. “He's got a little bit of everything back there. Again, the MRI was negative. It's a little bit of shoulder, little bit of rib, little bit of back.”