Luck, Colts bemoan mistakes in sloppy loss to Jets
The losses are piling up, though, and a four-game skid had the quarterback pondering whether it’s tough finding the joy in football.
“At times, especially when I do things — stupid is the only word that comes to mind,” Luck said after a 42-34 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. “We do some silly things to ourselves, but when it comes to having fun playing, I’m having fun playing.”
The results just haven’t been there yet for the Colts (1-5), who made a handful of mistakes in this one as their season begins to spiral.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” Luck said. “I feel like a broken record, but talking about it, that’s the easy part. It’s doing it, living it, but I’m not discouraged.”
Luck was 23 of 43 for 301 yards with touchdowns to Marcus Johnson, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope and Chester Rogers, but he was also intercepted three times. The first came on the Colts’ second play of scrimmage when Morris Claiborne took a tipped pass 17 yards to the end zone to put Indianapolis in an early hole.
The Colts turned the ball over four times, and the Jets (3-3) took advantage.
“Unfortunately, it was kind of a similar formula,” coach Frank Reich said. “Just too many mistakes early.”
The Colts were playing short-handed with several starters sidelined, including wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, defensive linemen Denico Autry and Margus Hunt, tight end Jack Doyle, safety Clayton Geathers and right tackle Denzelle Good.
Despite that, Indianapolis was still in the game late.
The Jets built a 30-13 lead early in the third quarter, but the Colts chipped away. Luck’s 2-yard TD pass to Swoope made it 33-27 just 8 seconds into the final period — plenty of time to turn things around.
Instead, Jason Myers kicked three of his Jets-record seven field goals to make it a 15-point deficit late in the game. Luck connected with Rogers on a 17-yard touchdown with 1:51 left, but Rigoberto Sanchez’s onside kick was recovered by Neal Sterling and Sam Darnold took three kneel-downs to end it.
“I can just say this at the onset: I believe in what we are doing,” Reich said. “I believe in our guys, but we just have to play better football. We started that game, just too many mistakes.”
There were several dropped passes on both sides, but there were some egregious ones by the Colts that didn’t help Luck any.
“It’s mental,” running back Marlon Mack said. “We just have to lock in and focus. Everyone here can catch. We just have to lock in and squeeze the ball.”
Luck, however, refused to point any fingers at his receivers’ slippery hands.
“I’ll be concerned about drops when I throw the perfect ball every time I drop back, and I certainly do not do that,” he said. “Those guys are going to keep grinding. I’m proud of them. I love going to work with them every day. It’s a great group.”
Even with the early issues, the Colts actually led 13-10 in the second quarter after two field goals by Adam Vinatieri.
But errors came into play again, and the Jets made the most of them.
New York forced a turnover when Jamal Adams knocked the ball out of Robert Turbin’s hands and Jordan Jenkins recovered. Darnold converted two third-down plays on the ensuing drive to get the ball to the Colts 10. Darnold zipped a pass to Pryor in the front of the end zone for a 17-13 lead with 2:35 left before halftime.
New York took advantage of another turnover when Luck’s pass to Ryan Grant deflected off the receiver’s hands and right to Avery Williamson, who returned the ball 31 yards to the Colts 22. That resulted in a 48-yarder by Myers that put New York in front 20-13.
The Colts then quickly went three-and-out — and the Jets got the ball at their 28 with 42 seconds left before halftime. Darnold hit a series of passes and, with 18 seconds left, found Jermaine Kearse in the middle of the field for 23 yards. Myers booted a 32-yarder as time expired to put New York up 23-13.
“We’re six games into this now,” Luck said. “No one is young in the NFL anymore. Before we can learn how to win, we have to learn how not to lose. We have to take that step.”