Colts’ Mike Adams: If offense scores 35, ‘that should be enough’

Mike Adams #29 of the Indianapolis Colts takes the field for the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Mike Adams #29 of the Indianapolis Colts takes the field for the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The numbers had been a major indicator of success for the Indianapolis Colts. Until Sunday, that is.

Zero turnovers by the Andrew Luck-led offense. The Colts had been 17-2 during the regular season when Luck & Co. took care of the football.

Thirty-five points, all coming in the final 35 minutes after yet another slow start. Since Luck’s arrival in 2012, the Colts were 14-1 when the offense tacked up at least 30.

Yet it wasn’t enough. And that’s the most distressing takeaway from the 39-35 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Even with Luck and the offense doing more than enough, it wasn’t enough to avoid another season-opening misstep. The Colts are now 1-4 in openers in the Luck era.

In this instance, the accusatory finger points in another direction. It’s targeting a defense that allowed 448 total yards and yielded five touchdowns and one field goal on 10 Detroit drives. Matt Prater’s game-winning 43-yard field goal came with 4 seconds to play and after the defense allowed the Lions to move 50 yards in three plays and 25 seconds.

“I’ll be quite honest with you,’’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said, “if your offense scores that many points, no turnovers and they’re moving the ball, yeah, you should win that game.

“And on the flip side of it, if you give up that many points, you shouldn’t even be in the game.’’

When Luck and the offense drops 35 on an opponent, conceded safety Mike Adams, “that should be enough. No question. And that’s what’s frustrating to me.

“If the offense scores that many points, we should be able to close the deal, especially with 35-36 seconds left on the clock, whatever it was. Regardless of what happened before that, we had a chance to close the deal.’’

No one outside of the Colts’ West 56th Street complex expected first-year coordinator Ted Monachino to field a top-tier defense. At full strength and at best, it figured to be mid-level.

But mid-level would be good enough as long as Luck and the offense held up their end. And that’s the problem.

Management has failed to surround Luck with a defense that’s even remotely reliable. In Luck’s first four seasons, the defense has ranked No. 26, No. 11, No. 20 and No. 26 in yards allowed. In three of the four seasons, it’s been No. 19 or worse in points allowed.

Since 2012, it has allowed at least 30 points more than 25 percent of the time (18 of 65 regular-season games, 27.7 pct). During’s Manning’s 208-game Colts career, his defenses yielded at least 30 points 17.8 percent of the time (37 games).

And there’s this: when the defense has allowed 29 points or fewer in the Luck era, the Colts are 38-9. That winning percentage (.809) ranks third behind Denver (49-7, .875) and New England (44-9, .830).

All we’re asking for is something approaching defensive reliability, which was lacking against Detroit. Shoddy tackling was a major concern. Of the Lions’ 448 total yards, 213 came after the catch.

After a review of the videotape Monday, Adams insisted the defensive performance was just as bad as he thought in the moments after the game.

“Yep,’’ he said. “In my opinion (it was) because I think we can play better. It needs to get better and it will get better.

“To me it was as bad as it looked because that is the stuff we worked on.’’

Adams refused to use the mounting injuries to key personnel for the defense’s troubles. Cornerbacks Vontae Davis (ankle) and Darius Butler (ankle), tackle Henry Anderson (knee) and safety Clayton Geathers (foot) were out. During the game, safeties T.J. Green (knee) and Winston Guy (ankle) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (concussion) were lost.

“You’re wasting time making excuses because this is the NFL,’’ Adams said. “The guys that came in, they are getting paid to do a job. Obviously they are capable and they are here because they are capable, so we expect them to step up when it’s time.

“That’s how I got my shot when I was a young pup. Someone got hurt and I stepped in. No one made excuses for me and said, ‘It’s okay, he’s a rookie. He didn’t know. That’s why he didn’t make that tackle.’ We are not going to do that. We are not going to play that game.’’

What the defense must do is play a much better game.

“Defensively (if) we come out and play complementary football from each phase, we’re going to win a ton of games around here,’’ Jackson said. “Since I’ve been here nothing has come easy. We’re more equipped to handle this than any situation I’ve ever been in.

“We’re going to keep our hard hat on, keep our foot on the gas and just get one, just get one win and we’ll build off of that.’’