INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Ryan Diem was not suited up for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. He was however, paying close attention to what was happening on the field and offered a pretty simple assessment of a second half the Chiefs dominated on both sides of the ball.
"I don't know if we had a sense of being to comfortable with that lead at halftime, but our third quarter we didn't get a lot done," said Diem.
Diem expressed a feeling similar to that of many Colts fans watching a seemingly conservative offensive approach after a first half filled with so much success.
A holding penalty helped contribute to a Chiefs punt to start the third quarter. The Colts took over at their own 20 yard line with a 24-14 lead. Up to that point, Curtis Painter had thrown for 237 yards and two touchdowns. The passing game was clicking and wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, and Austin Collie made numerous big plays.
The Colts ran the ball three straight times in that third quarter possession, the first two carries by Donald Brown, and Delone Carter's 3rd and 1 attempt was stopped short of the first down marker.
"We always talk about the first drive of the game, first drive of the half, kind of making a statement, and I don't think we did that yesterday," added Diem who said he hopes to return to practice this week and play against the Bengals.
Despite having to burn two timeouts, the Colts first drive of the game was executed to perfection. Of the twelve plays, seven were on the ground and five were passes. That balance helped the Colts drive 80 yards and overcome a tripping penalty to score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead.
That first drive of the third quarter the Colts were without an injured Joseph Addai, and failure to convert the first down after three consecutive running plays set the tone for a half the Colts just couldn't replicate the rhythm they had in the first two quarters.
"In the third quarter there, we just didn't quite make the plays to sustain some drives. I don't know that the play was different, we just didn't make the plays that we did the first half," said Painter who was very solid overall in just his second NFL start.
A day after the game, Jim Caldwell said the offensive strategy in the second half was not different despite the double-digit lead.
"It didn't change, our effectiveness obviously wasn't quite what we would like it to be. We just didn't convert a couple of third downs that we should've been able to keep going, but we did not and I think on the line of scrimmage we didn't run the ball as well, but our approach was the same," said Caldwell.
Regardless of the reason, the Colts simply didn't get the job done when they seemingly had everything pointing in the right direction. The offense does not deserve blame for the loss, the defense once again failed to execute when it mattered most.
"We just gave up a few more plays than we'd like to, definitely wish we could have a few back, but that is usually how the game goes," said Kavell Conner Monday.
If only the Colts could have a few plays back from each of the last four games, they might be 4-1 or 3-2. Instead, they are one of just three winless teams in the NFL, with a daunting stretch of three consecutive road games coming up next.