The Colts' Suck for Luck Campaign is in full swing
The Indianapolis Colts are taking this "Suck for Luck" thing to Mt. Everest-style heights. Indy put on perhaps the worst performance by an NFL team since the expansion-era Bucs, showing that they're fully prepared to stage a season-long tickle-fight with the Dolphins for a chance at drafting the best QB prospect since the guy standing on the sidelines in a Colts cap. Indy's 62-7 loss to New Orleans in the Superdome was a clear statement that they're in the Luck sweepstakes for keeps.
How bad were the Colts? Let us count the ways. They surrendered 557 yards of offense, providing the Saints with nearly equal opportunities on the ground (236 yards) and through the air (321 yards). The Saints matched the NFL record for points in a single game since the merger, and the 55-point margin was surpassed only by the Patriots' 59–0 win over the Titans in 2009. Indy mustered only 252 yards, much of it in garbage time, and turned the ball over three times, throwing a pick-six to Leigh Torrence to close the scoring.
Drew Brees was brutal in his efficiency, throwing more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four). For the night, Brees was 31-of-35 for 325 yards and five scores, slicing the Colts defense with short timing passes in becoming only the second player since the merger to throw for 300 yards, five TDs and no picks in a game three times. The one-sided spectacle was enough to give interested spectator Archie Manning flashbacks to his days as quarterback for the Aints.
"I was real proud of how we played tonight, how we handled the week of practice," said Saints coach Sean Payton, who coached from the booth while nursing a broken leg. "We spent a lot of time during the week just talking about us beginning to play our best football, because we really felt while we were 4–2, we hadn't done that."
Meanwhile, the Colts seem a bit resigned to their status as NFL doormats.
"That team played better than we did in every area and we just got whooped across the board," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's one of those things that once you don't do the little things right, there is a lot of bad things that happen to you. Obviously, I have to take responsibility for our team and the way that they played."
Uh, Coach, you might not want to do that. Not if you want a shot at standing in the vicinity while Manning tutors Luck next season. Now that would be job security.
• The Titans were nearly as bad as the Colts, allowing the Andre Johnson-less Texans to roll up 518 yards while mustering only 148 themselves in a 41–7 Texans rout. Chris Johnson continues to hear it from the home folks, who rained down boos on Johnson's 10-carry, 18-yard performance. Seems like Titans fans have the impression they're not getting their money's worth.
• My colleague Nathan Rush has said all that needs to be said about Tim Tebow's performance. It wasn't terribly pretty, but Tebow did what he does: He won. One of these games, he might even complete 50 percent of his passes.
• You might think that the 1–6 Vikings have bottomed out given their heartbreaking 33–27 loss to Green Bay. But the men in purple might have themselves a quarterback. Christian Ponder's numbers were horrendous at first glance, but the kid showed heart. Of course, when your counterpart is nearly perfect, it's tough to win. Aaron Rodgers was 24-of-30 for 335 yards and three TDs in his continuing assault on the record books.
• Most valuable non-QB in the league? How about Matt Forte? The Bears running back is the first player since 2004 to surpass 1,000 yards from scrimmage in seven games after rushing for 145 yards and catching passes for 38 more in a 24–18 win over Tampa Bay in London.
• On a day of steaming deuces, few stunk worse than the Saint Louis Rams. After entering the season with hopes of a division title, the Rams fell to 0–6 with a 34–7 loss to the Cowboys, allowing DeMarco Murray, of all people, to set the Cowboys single-game rushing record with 253 yards.
• Carson Palmer's debut with the Raiders couldn't have gone worse. Palmer was 8-of-21 for 116 yards and three interceptions as Oakland lost to the Chiefs 28–0. Kyle Boller, whom he replaced, was just as bad, throwing a pick-six on the Raiders' first possession, one of his three first-half interceptions. Palmer may be regretting his decision to climb off the couch, although the Raiders have a bye week to figure things out.