CARSON, Calif. -- Mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes did the Indianapolis Colts in, as they dropped their sixth straight season opener in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers after trailing by 15 points in the second half.
Penalties to extend drives, blocked punts, missed tackles, missed field goals and even a missed extra point took away what was a solid start for Jacoby Brissett in the first game of the post-Andrew Luck era. Indianapolis has lost six of its past seven overtime games.
Pivotal play(s): Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has always said he would continue to play as long as he could be effective. Well, the 46-year-old’s past two games haven't been promising, especially Sunday, considering the Colts wouldn’t have needed overtime if Vinatieri was more efficient. Vinatieri, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, missed two field goals and an extra point. Vinatieri first miss -- on the extra point -- would have tied the score at 7-7 in the second quarter. Vinatieri's missed 46-yard field goal at the end of the first half could have gotten the Colts to within five at the break.
The Colts finally got a break when George Odum recovered a fumbled punt in Chargers’ territory, but -- again -- Vinatieri turned it into a wasted series for them when he missed a 27-yard field goal. Vinatieri had a look of disbelief on his face after his third miss. Sunday marked the first time since 1999 that Vinatieri missed three kicks in a game, and it's the third time it's happened in his 24-year career. This is the second straight game that Vinatieri has struggled. He missed an extra point and field in the Colts' AFC divisional round playoff loss to Kansas City in January. It'd be easy to understand if the Colts have concerns about their kicking situation after Vinatieri's performance Sunday.
QB Breakdown: Brissett was the least of the Colts' problems in an afternoon full of mishaps. Brissett, making his first start since Luck suddenly announced his retirement Aug. 24, was 21-of-27 for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts got to within 24-22 in the last minute when Brissett connected with T.Y. Hilton for a second touchdown, as the receiver made two defenders miss and danced along the sideline to the end zone. Marlon Mack scored the tying 2-point conversion. Brissett completed passes to eight different players.
Promising trend: Colts coach Frank Reich believes his team can be a top-five rushing team. They could be on their way this season if Mack's performance Sunday is any indication. Mack rushed for a career-high 174 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown, on 25 carries. The 174 yards are the most rushing yards by a Colts running back in the past 10 years. Mack has the talent to be a 1,000-yard rusher. The biggest question mark with him is durability. Mack rushed for 908 yards while missing four games in 2018.