The easy thing to do is blame the loss of Peyton Manning, the poor blocking by the offense line, or the inability of the defense to slow down the Houston offense as the reason the Colts lost the game Sunday. I say it was something else all together.
Were it not for the lockout Peyton would have been doing his rehab with the team trainers, the people who know him and what he needs the best. Would that have been enough for him to have healed up and been on the field? Maybe. Maybe not.
Had he been working with the team trainers, the Colts could have had more time to prepare for the possibility that Peyton would not be able to play. That could have translated into more time with the starters during OTAs for Curtis Painter or the team going after a veteran quarterback a lot sooner AND him getting enough time working with the first team to get on the same page.
That is if there had been OTAs which the lockout obviously killed.
Indianapolis typically has one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. That is why Peyton has played so long without missing a game--they don't let people hit him. Last season they allowed only 16 sacks; 21 teams allowed twice as many or more. Poor Jay Cutler was sacked an NFL-high 56 times in Chicago.
Teams only recorded 47 hits on Manning as well. Three teams had over 100 hits on their QBs (Philly, Jacksonville, and Washington).
The reason why these guys have been so good is that they have worked together enough that they operate like a well-oiled machine rather than five individuals, something that is vital when it comes to pass protection. That comes with time and practice, something that the revamped line the Colts have this season did not get.
If you look back at the results from Week One, by and large it was the teams with few to no significant changes that did well. Teams with new QBs, head coaches, coordinators, or wholesale personnel changes did not fare so well (with a couple of exceptions in Arizona and Carolina who had impressive offensive numbers).
Football is not a game you can just show up and be good at. Thanks to the lockout, that is what many teams are faced with doing this season.
Yes, I know that they had preseason to get it together, but that is not enough especially when teams were making major personnel moves the entire time. Typically, the major ones occur during the summer so new players and rookies have time to learn the offense and defense before training camp starts.
That couldn't happen this season because of that pesky lockout.
Darn you, you pesky lockout.