The new era has begun for the Indianapolis Colts. It just didn't start quite the way Jim Irsay and fans would have desired. Opening the season in Chicago, Indianapolis faced a tough test against a very good football team. After hanging close early, Indianapolis fell behind and eventually lost 41-21 to the Bears.
For those who just look at the box score, it will look like Andrew Luck was the reason for the loss. Luck completed 23 out of 45 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown. That was the good. The bad were the three interceptions and one lost fumble that Luck had in the game. Luck will learn and will certainly play much better games than this one. I don't place all the blame on Luck though. Indianapolis was playing from behind throughout the game and Luck was forced to throw the ball a lot. While being forced to throw the ball, Indianapolis' offensive line played very poorly and allowed pressure all game long.
Even in the loss, several positives can be taken from this game. Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener looked great catching the ball. These two can be serious weapons for Luck and offense this season. Wayne caught nine passes for 135 yards and looked like the great player he is. Fans have to love seeing Reggie Wayne play so well after signing a three year contract in the offseason. I was very pleased with the emergence of Fleener in the receiving game. Fleener worked the middle of the field well and looked like the threat many fans thought he would be when he was drafted in the second round.
The defense certainly has room to improve, and I think they will as the season goes on. Robert Mathis looked like someone who's going to fit in very well in the new hybrid 3-4 scheme. Mathis had five tackles and two sacks in the game. Other players looked good at times but overall there is plenty of room for improvement.
Overall, fans shouldn't panic based on a 20 point loss to a Chicago team that could be one of the best in the NFC. There will be ups and downs this season and the team needs to keep learning from every game and get better from week to week. The Peyton Manning era is over and fans can't expect to win every week just because the next great franchise quarterback is in town. I'm already looking forward to next week when Luck and the rest of the team will look to redeem themselves in the home opener.
Kyle Rapoza is a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and has been a lifelong fan of the Indianapolis Colts. He attended Super Bowl XLIV in Miami and follows the team closely. He runs a blog about the team at www.coltsfansonline.com.
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