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THE COLTS INFLUENCE

In Memory of James Dungy
January 6, 1987 - December22, 2005
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The 5th Quarter an editorial portion of The Colts Influence presented by Chaz1ley


This edition is an editorial portion of The Colts Influence presented by Chaz1ley

Doin' What We Do - Again!

12/8/2008

I have been around sports for a long time and heard a ton of slogan's, rally cries, whatever you want to call them, NEVER have I seen/heard one that speaks so directly to what this team is all about and what it was built to be. The Colts themselves have had multiple publicity campaigns aimed to bring the community together - BELIEVE and MAKE IT PERSONAL to name a few - but it is the current theme that really embodies the essence of this football team, and when it happens, the results are just amazing - JUST DO, WHAT WE DO!

Acknowledging that yesterdays opponents were just the hopeless Bengals, I am not ready to give the Lombardi trophy back to the Colts (YET), but when this team is able to perform in all phases of the game like it did, it will be a very difficult team to beat. Sunday's win allowed the Colts to become just the second team in NFL history to have a minimum six-game winning streak in five consecutive seasons - the 49ers did it seven consecutive seasons. If the Colts are able to get another victory this coming Sunday against the Lions, they will become only the third team to win 10 or more games for seven consecutive seasons - the Cowboys did it for seven seasons ('75-'81) while the 49ers did for SIXTEEN years ('83-'98). The Colts are looking to add to their active record of consecutive 12-win seasons, but must win out to extend it to SIX straight years.

I mention these "streaks" as I wanted to briefly mention an incident that occurred in the game that I just couldn't understand. During a third quarter trip inside the red zone (already sporting a 21-3 lead) Peyton saw something he must not have liked and called a timeout as the play clock was about to expire - this drew a rather noticeable round of BOOs from some of the crowd. Peyton was DEFINITELY not appreciative of it (and shouldn't have been) and immediately started signaling for the crowd to quiet down. I just don't understand what it is that people want out of this team - by no means are we talking about a "majority" of the fans, but it was VERY noticeable, and embarrassing to me!  Later in the press Peyton made a comment to the effect of just how far the bar has been raised here with the success we have enjoyed - he handled it a whole lot better than I ever could have! Now I'll step back down off my pedestal - sometimes you just feel like venting!

Sunday's game was exactly what this team needed. There was a little bit of everything you'd like to see in a game like this, against a team like Cincinnati - long scoring drives, QUICK scoring drives, minimal penalties (3), few mistakes (1), defensive sacks (5), no offensive sacks allowed, forced turnovers (4) and a defensive score. Once again all three phases played very well and the defense has now gone 8 quarters without giving up a touchdown!

A lot of things go into building a championship caliber team - you have to find a way to win games that you probably shouldn't (Minnesota, Houston - game 1), you need to show the ability to go on the road and win in difficult conditions (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Diego), you need to play your best football against the better teams (Baltimore, New England, Pittsburgh) and you absolutely MUST win the games you're supposed to win (Cincinnati, Detroit). This team continues to find ways to do what is needed, and now find themselves in a great position with just three games to remaining. This week, the Lions come to town trying NOT to become the first team to lose sixteen games in one NFL season.

For the Colts it is simply the biggest game of the season - the NEXT one! 

 

Colts vs Bengals: First Look!

12/5/2008

The Colts return home to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday for a critical match up with their Ohio neighbors from Cincinnati. It will not be a glamour match up that it has been in recent years, but there is a lot riding on this game for the Colts as they cannot afford to slip at all in the standings for the fifth Wildcard spot.

I am hopeful the home crowd brings a little more noise to the game than what was present for the last game against the Texans. There have been times when I was convinced the LUKE was just as loud as the RCA Dome, but those times have been few in number and it is time to take back our status as being the most difficult stadium to play in the entire NFL.

The Bengal's offense comes into the game very banged up. Their top two running backs at the start of the season are not likely to play (Chris Perry and Ken Watson) so we should see a pretty good dose from Cedric Benson (ex-Bear) running the football. Fitzpatrick will more than likely start the game at QB and offers a different look than Carson Palmer did as he can maneuver around the pocket and make some plays with his feet. He will still have Chad Johnson and TJ Housmanzadeh to throw to so our corners will be tested. They have been pretty inept on offense this season ranking dead last in Total Offense and are only averaging a meager 12.6 points per game! They have not been much better on the defensive side of the ball where they are giving up over 25 points per game. They come into the game ranked 24th against the rush and 20th against the pass!

As has been the case all year long, the Colts continue to play musical chairs with which players practice from day-to-day and which ones don't. At the end of the day on Friday, Brackett and Dawson were both ruled out for playing on Sunday. HOWEVER, Bob Sanders and Jeff Saturday both participated in FULL practice on Friday, but are still listed as questionable for the game. We are going to get our first look at second year pro Buster Davis playing the middle linebacker position. He wears #52 and actually saw action in two games earlier in the year on Special Teams, before getting dinged up a little.

Defensively the Colts have been playing much better football over the last several weeks - not where it needs to be yet, but much improved. The biggest difference has been the amount of pressure the front four have been able to inflict on opposing quarterbacks, as Mathis and Freeney has really stepped it up a notch. I would expect that trend to continue with the offensive lines of the next three opponents. The overall sacks (only 23 - ranked 28th) do not reflect the impact they have had in forcing the quarterback out of the pocket. That pressure speaks to the fact that Colts are the best in the league in TDs allowed through the air (only 4 to date) with the next closest team allowing double that number.

This team has persevered their worst start in many years, and survived a midseason schedule that was as tough as they come. Now it is time for the fine tuning to take place, the injuries to heal and craziness to get elevate even more! It is important to not overlook these next three opponents as we continue to fly under the radar!

 

 

A Perfect November - how sweet it is! 

 12/1/2008 

As the fourth and final quarter of the season approaches, you always hope that your team is playing some of its' best football as the playoff "Pretenders" start to fade in the standings, and the "Contenders" begin making a statement about what kind of football team they really are. It happens every year, but it always seems to amaze me at how things change from year-to-year, and THIS year, the changes are coming week-to-week. That is what PARITY is intended to do, and the 2008 season could serve as the Posterchild for the NFL for many years to come. Just look at the transformation that has taken place just over the last six weeks or so - if the playoffs were to start TODAY, there would be NO New England Patriots, Jaguars, Chargers, Packers and or Cowboys. Now with four more games to be played, I am sure a few of these teams will make a push for a playoff spot, but right now they are all fighting an uphill battle! Just five weeks ago, the Colts were on THIS list. Some called them "BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE NFL" and most wrote them off as having any chance at making the playoffs. NOW, they hold the first Wildcard spot with just four games left to be played - three of them at Home against teams with a combined record of just 5 wins, 29 losses and 1 tie.

The thing that I find encouraging in all of this, is that the Colts have been able to do this while definitely NOT playing anywhere near their best football. They completed the month of November with a 5-0 record, while winning those five games by a combined total of just 20 points. They are 5-2 this year on the road, with two of those wins being played outdoors in very poor weather conditions - assuming they get in as a Wildcard, they will have to play ALL games on the road (unless BOTH Wildcard teams advance to the AFC championship game). They have played only four teams so far that would be IN the playoffs (if they started today) and are 3-1 in those games.

Sundays' game was the epitome of what this team has stood for over the last several years. It showed exactly why it takes all three units, playing 60 minutes of football, to win in the NFL. It was, as I suggested earlier in the week, an UGLY game - even far more UGLY than I could've ever imagined. As optimistic as I am, if you would have told me that offensively we'd only have 215 yards of total offense, throw two interceptions, fumble the ball twice and have ZERO touchdowns, I don't know if I could've honestly "predicted" that we would win a road game under those circumstance. But this team has something about them that doesn't allow you to think in conventional terms. On a day when the offense was nowhere to be found, the Special Teams (especially coverage teams) did a tremendous job against who I believe may be the second best return man in the NFL - Joshua Cribbs. They gave him nowhere to run on either kickoffs or punts, pinning the Cleveland offense in a hole most of the game. That played right into the hands of our Bend-but-don't-Break defense, who once again put the team on their shoulders and carried them to a victory. They did so on a wet and sloppy field, and after loosing two defensive players to injuries in the first half of the game. They allowed only 193 total yards during the game, and once again, when the TEAM needed it most, created a turnover that resulted in the only touchdown scored in the game. THIS TIME, it was the joint effort of Dwight Freeney pushing his defender into the QB jarring the ball loose, and into the hands of Robert Mathis who took it to the house for the first touchdown of his NFL career. To put the game on ice, Antoine Bethea made an incredible interception of an extremely well thrown football, on a desperation fourth down play by the Browns.

When all was said and done, the Colts were able to do just enough to get yet another victory. Even with the upcoming schedule looking like it does, winning will continue to become harder in December, as the stakes become higher. It is a process that teams must go through to become a Championship contender. If the Colts can get a few injured players back, along with the experience that has been gained to this point with the younger guys, I believe this team is capable making a LONG run into the playoffs.

But for NOW, let's do what they have been doing for five straight weeks and that is to prepare to play the next opponent on the schedule (Bengals) next Sunday at the LUKE!

 

Medical Alert: 
Watching These Colts MAY Result in Irregular Heartbeats!

11/24/2008 

I think I am going to submit a suggestion to the American Medical Association that instead of subjecting patients with heart concerns to the strenuous routine associated with taking a STRESS TEST, that they simply place them on a comfortable couch, hook up all the equipment they feel necessary to adequately monitor the patient, and then force them to watch the fourth quarter of just about ANY Colts game this season! I know any concerns about the well-being of MY heart have definitely been answered this year, and as much as I appreciate the Colt's willingness to provide me with this service, I now release them from any further obligations, so they can feel free to resume winning games again by more comfortable margins!

 Another tremendous victory in yet another VERY hostile environment, and once again it took a total team effort to escape with the victory. The Special Teams played perhaps their best game of the year. Time after time again, the Chargers found them pinned inside their own 25 yard line after terrific coverage on both the Punt and Kickoff teams. Adam and Hunter are both quietly having phenomenal seasons, and Chad Simpson looks like a definite keeper in the role of return man. AND, there were ZERO penalties made last night by any of the different special teams!

The Defense was how the Defense has been most of the season - they gave up a lot of yards, but made some crucial stops when they absolutely had too. The run defense continued to show promise holding a very good rushing team to 120 yards (a far cry better than the 180+ they were giving up earlier in the season). They allowed receivers to run free in the secondary most of the night, but when a stop was needed, they stepped up. What about the play by Mathis to strip Rivers of the ball keeping key points OFF the board? If you take away the breakdown on the one BIG pass play for a touchdown, and they had a pretty solid night. The Chargers came into the game averaging 25 points per contest (28.4 at home) but were held to just 20 - a pretty good night considering we are still playing without the league defensive player of the year!

 When these two units (Defense and Special teams) are playing fundamentally sound football, it has a MAJOR impact on how the Colts offense is going to go, and more importantly, how Peyton Manning goes! I wrote earlier in the season (as did many others) how troubled I was about the demeanor of Manning and the other Offensive players, while on the sidelines - they looked confused and beat down most of the time. I don't know about the rest of you, but that has gone away and once again there appears to be a lot of confidence on the sidelines - obviously winning four games in a row has done a lot to help that, but to me, Peyton Manning is having perhaps the best year of his career. Aside from the Bears and Packer games, he has had this team in a position to win each and every week. Sure, we have also won a few of games by the skinniest of margins, but isn't that what good teams are supposed to do? Are his stats as elevated as they have been in the past - far from it. Have his passes been as crisp and his timing right on the money as we have come to expect - not quite.  But consider this - he has played behind an offensive line that has been marginal at best (getting better, but not there yet). He has played with little to no run support most of the time. He has played with good (great even) receivers, who have had problems holding on to the ball - three of Peyton's five favorite targets are ranked in the top seven for the most dropped passes this season (Gonzo, Clark and Addai). And, the Colts rank second in the league in total yards LOST due to penalties (217 yards called back). Through all of this though, Peyton has never used ANY of these as an excuse. He has not criticized any other player or unit for their lack of execution, and has in most cases shouldered the blame for how the team got started. That is what a Leader does, and THAT is why his teammates know they always have a chance as long as #18 is under center!

 Five more games to go - this team will continue to do exactly what they've been doing for four weeks now and that is take it one game at a time. The experts say the schedule now gets easier for the Colts, but when you have been at the top as long as the Colts have, you can be sure you are going to get everyone's very best effort, each and every week. That's OK. That is what builds character and prepares you for Playoff football.

 

Week 12 @ San Diego: First Look!

11/19/2008 

Another HUGE game for the Colts this coming Sunday as they make the long trek West for a primetime showdown with the San Diego Chargers. I apologize for not being able to put anything out there last week on the Texans game - I was experiencing some modem problems but now have them resolved and get to resume my ramblings once again. WhoooHooo!

I really like the current approach the Colts are taking this year. It's not really any different then the one they took when they started consecutive seasons 9-0, but when you struggle out of the gate and dig yourselves into a hole, the phrase ONE GAME AT A TIME takes on a whole new meaning. You always hear how Success Breeds Success, well the opposite does the exact same thing - ask the Lions, Bengals and Chiefs - maybe even more! In a season that consist of only 16 games, each and every game has a huge impact on your chances of playing in the postseason, and once you get into that mentality of losing, it can be extremely difficult to overcome.

The Colts have done the only thing they could really do after finding themselves at 3-4 just a few weeks ago. You can't worry what anybody else is doing and take control of your OWN situation and make it work to your advantage. In doing just that, the Colts now find themselves being in the top spot in the Wildcard race, and holding the tie breaker over several of the teams right there with them. Look how things have changed in just a three week period and NOW just may be the most critical junction of the season as I keep hearing how much easier the schedule gets from here on out. Don't get caught in that trap of looking at WIN/LOSS records and seeing that the there is only ONE team left on the schedule with a winning record. We still have ROAD games at Cleveland, at Jacksonville and this week at San Diego, and close the season with the Titans, who continue to get more impressive every time I see them play.

If there is any team in the NFL that seems to have the Colts' number, it has to be the Chargers. Peyton has historically struggled against the very aggressive Chargers defense and Sunday's game is a definite MUST WIN for San Diego. The Chargers are 4-6 at this time and sit 2.5 games behind the Broncos (Denver owns tie-breaker right now) with just six games remaining - one more loss will pretty much eliminate them from playoff contention. The Chargers have not had too difficult of a time scoring this year (the Pittsburgh game being an exception) but the defense has really struggled to stop anybody. Phillip Rivers is having perhaps his best year to date, and has HAD to as the running game has been very inconsistent. They have very good personnel at every position and it will be another big test for the Colts defense once again.

The Colts offense has began looking much more like themselves of late, and it will need to continue if they are to keep the momentum going! The running game has looked much better, and has done so against some very difficult teams to run against. Peyton's accuracy has gotten better each and every week and if the receivers can avoid another game of dropped balls the offense will be in pretty good shape. You can see the continuity and maturity starting to come together on the offensive line as the same group of guys have now started four consecutive games.

Defensively, the play has been better in my opinion on 90-95% of the plays, but we need to find a way to eliminate those one or two breakdowns that seem to happen every week. If you take away the one 71 yard run last week, the run defense has been MUCH improved during the current three game winning streak. Dwight Freeney looks to be back in Dwight Freeney form with back-to-back games where he had two sacks - I would LOVE to see that continue (or even increase in number) come Sunday, and I would be too upset if a couple of other guys decided to get in on the action! There is still no update on whether Bob will be ready to go or not, but it does sound like Kelvin Hayden may be ready.

 It will take another complete effort to leave San Diego with a road win, but I like how far this team has come in a very short time and look for it to continue this week.

 

 

Exorcisng the Demons - Colts Win in Pittsburgh!

11/9/2008 

They don't get much bigger than THAT!!!!  Another huge win that they HAD to have, and they went out and got it. I like the way this team is beginning to put things together, and although it was far from perfect today, they did what was needed and now head back to INDY with a chance to continue build even more momentum.

 None of the stats of the game are going to jump out at you (other than maybe Reggie's 114 yards receiving), but they did the OTHER things that made the difference;

   -Pittsburgh was averaging 4 sacks per game - today they got 2. 

  -Steelers were only giving up 14.5 points per game - today the Colts got 24.

  -Steelers were averaging 104 yds/gm rushing - only 55 net yards today.

  -Pittsburgh was only giving up 234 total yds/gm - Colts got 290 yards.

  -last but not least, Pittsburgh had 3 turnovers - Colts NONE!

 What an effort by so many different people;

   -Freeney gets two sacks and forces a fumble. 

  -How big was Eric Fosters STICK at the goal line?

  -What about the Ratlif interception or the one by Jennings?

  -The offensive line did a superb job of doing what they needed!

 Just a terrific win in a very unlikely place - the Colts FIRST victory in Pittsburgh in twelve tries - it was the third longest streak going until today! The thing I like best is that even as superb as it was, there were still things that CAN get better, and WILL!  Still too many penalties and several dropped passes that you don't typically see (huge hits contributed to several). 

 Next up are the Texans, and they will come in looking to avenge the loss the Colts stole earlier in the year.

A Weekend Sweep!

11/3/2008

What a terrific ending to a fabulous weekend - one that saw Indy's two major sports franchises take it to the BIG BOYS from the East coast! The new-look Pacers got it started on Saturday night with a dominant performance against the defending World Champion Boston Celtics. It has only been two games now (much too early to make too much of it) but it was awfully nice to see the similar kind of EFFORT on the basketball court as we have come accustomed to on the football field. I don't know what kind of success these NEW Pacers will have over the course of an 82 game season, but if the first two games are any indication, they are going to give you everything they got and let the chips fall where they may! A strategy that has served the Colts very well over the last decade!

But this is a Colts community so I will switch gears to the Sundays night game at Lucas Oil against arguably the Colts biggest rival - the dreaded New England Patriots!  I am not sure anything about Sunday could have been any better. We were blessed with some of most beautiful weather you could ever hope for in the month of November, and we took great advantage of it with some incredible tailgating prior to the game. I was able to meet even more of the wonderful people on this network for the first time and we had such a great time before ever heading into the game!

And then, just when you didn't think it could get any better, we were treated to as good of a football game as we have seen in quite some time. It may not have had the national attention that a game between the Colts and Pats have recently been given, but it didn't appear that any of the 106 players on the two sidelines thought any less of it!  It was classic Colts/Pats football with both teams taking what the opponent would give them, and making the best of it.

On the Patriots side, they moved the ball very well against a make-shift Colts defense, but were only able to put the ball into the endzone ONCE, in four trips inside the red-zone. They were able to rush for 120 yards primarily utilizing a delayed draw right up the middle very effectively. Matt Cassell played very well and really only made one BAD throw, and it came under heavy pressure, sailed a little high and into the hands of Sanders for the only turnover of the game. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers, but none of them were for big yardage as they are used to seeing. They had nearly a ten minute advantage in time-of-possession, but just weren't able to finish drives that ate big chucks of time off the clock.

 Offensively for the Colts, they played very efficiently and unlike NE, were able to score two touchdowns on their only two trips inside the red-zone. Peyton played probably his best overall game of the year - not in terms of stats maybe, but definitely in terms of game management!  He was very accurate with his throws, and connected with Gonzo for two TDs with two of the prettiest passes you will see! I cannot remember any dropped passes like we have regularly seen this year, and all four primary receivers (Gonzo, Wayne, Harrison and Clark) caught at least four balls for 50 or more yards. The running game never really got going, but what teams DO run very well against a Patriot defense? Defensively for the Colts, it was a very gutty performance. I heard on the postgame coverage that there were five defensives starters not playing (Jackson, Hayden and Keiaho most notably) but the effects of having Bob Sanders back paid big dividends. The front four were unable to produce any sacks on the night, but there was decent pressure at some critical times that allowed them to make enough stops to keep Patriot drives out of the endzone. The pass coverage was adequate and never gave up any big plays to Welker and Moss, but NE was very successful running a delayed draw against the Colts defense.

To sum things up, the Colts "Did What the Colts DO" - finally!  It truly FELT like what we have seen for the last several years. Very efficient offensively, a bend-but-don't-break defense, and more than anything else, they played mistake-free football! No dropped passes, no turnovers, and NO PENALTIES (box score shows ONE penalty for ZERO yards). That is a recipe the Colts need to keep cooking with, and if they can, the second half of the season will be one to remember!

 

 

Week 9 - Colts vs Pats: First Look

10/30/2008

Even though we arrive at this juncture of the season in a little different position than any of us thought possible, Sunday night brings the national spotlight back to Indianapolis for yet another prime time game against Conference rival New England. I don't care what the record is or how disappointed you might be - if you can't get pumped up for THIS one, you might want to get your pulse checked!!! I know my BLUE BLOOD is already pumping at Game Day levels, and it is only Thursday! I could not have come up with a better scenario for getting this thing turned around than the one that awaits us on Sunday, and at this time it would appear we will be getting some key players back from injury as well.

The Patriots will be bringing a team that looks quite different than the one we have faced the last several years - No Tom Brady, Laurence Maroney, Rodney Harrison, Asante Samuel, Eugene Wilson or Junior Seau! They probably do not care to hear about our issues with injuries and/or player losses - they just may well be worse off than the Colts! Yet they have continued to find a way to be successful (although it has come against a MUCH softer schedule) and will enter the game tied with the second best record in the AFC at 5-2. They still have as good of an offensive line as there is in football, along with Randy Moss and Wes Welker at the receiver positions and a very good tight end in Ben Watson. Matt Cassell has struggled at times, but seems to be gaining more confidence each and every week. They are, however, banged up at the RB position - in addition to Maroney being out for the year, backup Sammie Morris has been hurting and his status for Sunday's game is still in question. That leaves Kevin Faulk (has been a royal pain in the Colts backside for years) and rookie BenJarvis Green-Ellis to fill the void. Defensively, they still have a great front four and it will be a priority for them to get pressure on Peyton to take some of the focus off of their secondary. They have had to fill some voids on defense left by some free agent losses, but names like Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Adalius Thomas and Ellis Hobbs will still suit up and try and do the same things they have always done to disrupt the Colts offense.

For the Colts to be successful, they will need to do MORE of the same thing that we saw against the Titans, AND, do it for a little bit longer ! Stopping the run and forcing the ball into the hands of Matt Cassell should be a focus, and THEN, making stops on third down when you do will be a MUST! This defense has shown the ability to do both, and getting Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders back will only help. Time will tell just how involved they will be able to be (under game conditions) after being off for an extended period of time, but having both available on those 3rd and longs HAS to be an improvement! Their return will also mean added depth on the defensive side, which should allow the Colts to stay a little fresher heading into the 4th quarter where they have really struggled - this used to be a time in the game where the Colts absolutely dominated, and to this point this season has really become the Achilles heel for this team. Offensively I thought there were MANY improvements in the Tennessee game that bodes well as we head into the second half of the season. The line did a fantastic job at protection - I really liked seeing Ugoh back at tackle and Charlie Johnson playing guard on the left side of the line. It was not coincidental that this is where MOST of the big running plays also took place against a VERY tough team to run against. If there is anything that I feel concerned about more than anything else, it HAS to be the number of dropped/tipped balls coming from the Receivers/TE's, and I can't help but think those are only going to get better each and every week.

It's the COLTS against the PATS, GOOD versus EVIL! - need I say anything else?????

 

We HAD 'em, right where we wanted them!

10/28/2008

It was another disappointing ending to what was a very promising start. As I read peoples thoughts today following the game it is obvious just how "connected" the people on this network are to this team, and how much WE hurt, when the team struggles. I ask ALL of you though to give thought to what kind of effect these losses are having on the players who are battling week in and week out, but have not been able to get over that proverbial hump. A play here, a tackle there, and we are all feeling very much the same way we have for the past six years!

ll you hear is how close this team is to being 1-6, but we are just as close to being 5-2 in my opinion. But all of that is hypothetical and means nothing in the larger scope of things. The fact of the matter is that the Colts streak of consecutive Divisional Championships has in all likelihood come to an end.  However, as important of a goal as that has been for this organization each and every year, it was so because it always assures you a trip to the playoffs - it does NOT mean that the same trip is now unachievable. The last time I checked, winning the Super Bowl is the reason for playing the game, and THAT is nowhere near out of reach at this time.

I won't get into my thoughts on what went wrong during Monday nights game, as they are probably not very different than most other peoples. I will not try and sugarcoat where this team is at this time and ignore the HUGE challenges ahead. I also will NOT, give up on this team and this organization as long as the ultimate goal is still there for the taking.

I like THIS team as much as any we have had here in Indy - if you stop looking at Peyton, Marvin and Saturday, it is still a VERY young team (3rd youngest in the league I believe). There are going to be growing pains and all the added injuries have definitely NOT allowed this team to get to the place they would have hoped to be at this point in the season. Very soon, all those passes JUST out of reach, all those NEAR turnovers that seem to always take a wrong bounce, and all those  passes through the hands of Colts players and into the opponents, are going to go away! Very soon, these young guys are suddenly going to get it and those things that seem to be going wrong are suddenly going to go right! When it does, this is once again going to be a difficult team to have to play coming down the stretch.

If you're looking for me to write negative things about this team, it AIN'T gonna happen. If you want to find someone who will confirm others beliefs that this team is done, there are plenty of newspapers you can pick up or radio/television programs you can tune into.

Do I hurt - sure I do, but I BLEED BLUE BABY and until all that blood has been drained from my body, all your gonna get here is optimism!!!

 

Week 8 @ Tennessee: First Look!

10/24/2008 

Does anything really need to be said to get ready for this week's game against the Tennessee Titans?? It doesn't get much bigger than this one - going back out on the road following one of the teams worst performances of the season, facing not only one of your biggest rivals but the only undefeated team left in the NFL - on MNF to boot, who also just happens to be the team you currently trail by three games within your own division! I think that pretty much sums it up!

 WE GOT 'EM JUST WHERE WE WANT 'EM!!!!!

This is more than just another game on the schedule - the "little kid on the block" finally have the "neighborhood bully" (from their viewpoint) down on their knees, in its own backyard, and is ready to deliver the knockout punch. If ever there were a time to seize the moment, THIS would have to be it for the Tennessee Titans - they have waited YEARS for this opportunity and they have a National stage to show that they are ready!

WE GOT 'EM JUST WHERE WE WANT 'EM!!!!!

Let's face it, the Colts have been an enigma this season and no one seems to have been able to put a finger on exactly what is the cause for the huge swings in the on-the-field performances. Of course all the expert journalists and media personnel seem to know, but WE all know what to do with THAT information! There are obvious things that have contributed to certain aspects of the shortcomings (injuries, player departures, etc) but do they really explain how one week, one quarter, you look unbeatable, and then during other times it looks like you might have troubles beating some of the top college teams in the nation! Who knows what team is going to show up when?  With all the negative things I keep hearing I would expect the spread for Monday's game to be somewhere around Tennessee (-21)?

WE GOT 'EM JUST WHERE WE WANT 'EM!!!!!

Say all you want about what's wrong and what it is going to take to get it fixed - THIS game is ALL it is going to take! I don't care about what HAS happened! I don't care what players AREN"T going to play! All that matters is that this team, OUR TEAM, is going to find a way to MAKE IT HAPPEN. It is easy for me to feel that way each and every week, as long as guys named Polian, Dungy, Manning, Saturday, Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Freeney, Mathis, Jackson, Keiaho, Bethea and Brackett (just to name a few) are representing the HORSESHOE!  I understand that these same individuals were obviously involved over the current stretch of inconsistent play, but each and every week these young guys that are being meshed with these great veteran leaders, are learning more about what it means to wear that emblem on the side of their helmets!

WE GOT 'EM JUST WHERE WE WANT 'EM!!!!!

By no means do I mean any disrespect to the Titan organization - they are one of only three or four organizations that I have a huge amount of respect for. They compete as hard as any team in the NFL and seem to do things the right way just like we are familiar with here. They have gotten off to a great start this year and are a solid football team - I am not one who believes they are ready to be adorned as the next GREAT team in the NFL. They have one of the best Defenses in the league and two very good running backs, but while Kerry Collins is a tough competitor, he does not yet have enough weapons to take this team to the next level! Success breeds confidence, and this is a very confident team - Monday though, just as they are ready to deal the knockout blow, the neighborhood bully once again reaches out and smacks them in the mouth, letting everyone know they are not yet ready to give up that distinction!

WE GOT 'EM JUST WHERE WE WANT 'EM!!!!!

 

 

Buried by the Bay!

10/20/2008

There was a report out of Wisconsin today that the officials are STILL throwing yellow flags all over the field in Green Bay!

RARELY, will you ever hear me make comments about the officiating in the game - usually this comes up because of a call at a critical time in the game that fans believe played a role in the outcome. Through all my experiences in sports I have come to peace with the fact that IF your performance puts you in a position where human judgement is ALLOWED to be a factor, then more times than not you are going to come away disappointed. On Sunday though, what we saw was a travesty. I will not go into each and every call (and more so, the lack thereof) that I had issues with, but I have never seen a more inconsistent job of officiating at any sporting event I have witnessed. Enough said.

 This game though was not decided by the officials on the field. Say want you want, think what you will, but until the Colts can re-discover that EDGE that they used to bringing into every ball game, we will continue to be subjected to these kinds of up and down performances. I don't know what that EDGE is or how you go about getting it back, but at this point and time, it has definitely left this team. I am not seeing the emotion and confidence this year that I have become accustomed to - it seems to be lacking in warm-ups, during the pregame introductions, and most definitely on the sidelines during the game. The three different games where they were able to come back at the end and make enough plays to win (two for three anyway) was incredible and shows perseverance, but I hunger to see that cockiness and confidence from the start of the game, much like what we saw against the Ravens.

 Keep in mind, and I took a little ribbing when I said this last week, this is only ONE game. The Colts are no WORSE a team because of how they lost yesterday, than they were INVINCIBLE because of how they dominated a week earlier. You've heard it before but an NFL season is a marathon and not a sprint like some would have you believe. Momentum can change directions on a dime, and it is way too early to count this team out.

As bad as it was yesterday, lets take just a little closer look to see just how fine a line there is between winning and losing;

1. Each team had 302 total yards from scrimmage.
2. The Colts ran 65 plays to the Packers 63.
3. The Colts averaged 3.2 yds per rush, the Packers averaged 3.3
4. Peyton completed 21 passes for a 5.5 yd avg while Rodgers completed 21 passes for a 6.6 yd avg
5. The Colts forced three fumbles but recovered NONE, while the Packers had two interceptions and ran both back for touchdowns.

If I had assured everyone that our defense would have held the Packers to 116 yards rushing and 186 yards passing, 99.9% of you would have said the Colts would win going away! If you simply take away the two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and assume the Colts would have scored a TD on the one intercepted on the goal line, and the score of the game is suddenly 21-20 in favor of the Colts!  But that is why stats don't mean squat and the team that wins is USUALLY the one that maintains its composure and limits mistakes - Sunday, that team was the Green Bay Packers.

Yesterday's performance has earned the Colts a trip to Tennessee just one week from today, to play against the lone undefeated team left in the NFL. Time will tell which Colt team will show up. It is not a time to panic - this team can use our support NOW, more than ever. A win next week will go a LONG way towards repairing the pain felt by many today! It is a one-week-at-a-time league and next week will bring another BIG challenge!

 

 

Week 6 @ Green Bay: First Look!

10/15/2008
Chaz1ley

As great of a win as it was last Sunday, life in the NFL goes on and the Colts find themselves just a few days away from heading to perhaps the greatest venue in all of sports - Lambeau Field. It has been eight years since the Colts last played in Green Bay, and only seven players on the current roster have EVER played there - Manning, Harrison, Saturday, Hunter Smith, Justin Snow, Buster Davis and Dan Muir. Even Adam Vinatieri has never played a football game at Lambeau.

 Fortunately, the Colts will not have to take the field against Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke or for that matter, even Brett Favre! Vince Lombardi will not be coaching from the sidelines and as it looks now, the "Tundra" will be anything BUT frozen. I am sure the Colts coaching staff will be reminding them of all these things as they make preparations for Sundays game.

The Packer team they WILL face though, was just a play or two away from playing for a Super Bowl Championship last year, and have plenty of talent returning to be considered a threat in the NFC again this year. The one glaring difference is their future Hall of Fame QB is now wearing the green and white of NY, and no longer the green and gold of GB. His replacement, Aaron Rodgers, has fared pretty well in his absence. In six games this season, he has thrown for just under 1500 yards (64% completion rate), 11 touchdowns and has only four interceptions to date - awfully good numbers for a first season as a starter. If there is ever a good time for a team to head into Green Bay, this may very well be it. Rodgers injured his throwing shoulder two weeks ago in a game against Tampa Bay, and re-injured it again this week in a big win over Seattle. That, along with the proverbial "jet lag" after traveling out to the west coast and the Packers just might be primed for a little letdown.

 On the Colts side of the ball, they find themselves coming off of their most impressive performance of the year, and look to keep that momentum going as they begin a stretch where five of their next seven games will be played away from home. It is truly the defining moment for this team, this season - after a slow start, anything less than a 5-2 record during this span and any thoughts of winning the AFC South title would be hard to realize - a playoff berth would still hang in the balance, but with Tennessee off to a 5-0 start, there is little room for any additional slippage in the standings.

 The Colts will go into the contest with just one of the running backs that were on their roster at the beginning of the season - welcome home DOM! The organization did go out and re-sign the other two RBs that were in camp all summer (Clifton Dawson and Chad Simpson) so they will be acclimated to the playbook and should be able to contribute if called upon. They also picked up a former first round draft choice at Defensive Tackle from Buffalo (John McCargo) - he has underachieved as a backup on a team with several veteran DTs, but Dungy and Polian must have liked what they saw in him and I have learned not to second guess those two individuals. Tyjuan Hagler returned to practice on Wednesday and will be a welcome addition to a linebacking corps that have been playing better of late. The Defense will need to once again show the ability to stop the run, putting the ball in the hands of Rodgers, and seeing if the Packer O-line can do any better of a job at keeping Freeney and Mathis (as well as others) off his back.

 You all know me as the optimist that I am, and I believe that what we saw last Sunday is much more like what we will see from here on out, than what we saw prior. We all wanted to think that if anyone at the QB position could succeed without taking a snap in the preseason, it would be Peyton, but I think it has been evident that repetitions are a must in a sport like this, and whether you play in the preseason games or not, the practices are paramount! This team is still a LONG way from being what it has the potential to be - health continues to haunt this franchise and statistics would say we are WAYYYY overdue for some relief in that department.

 The upcoming schedule is brutal, and maybe exactly what they need in a perverse kind of way. The young guys got a taste of how Colt football is supposed to be played - now that they tasted it, we'll see if they've developed the stomach for it. Being the best means getting the best from every team you play - I can't wait to watch this team continue to develop into the team I BELIEVE they can be!

 

 Two is a Coincidence!

10/12/2008 

As Coach Dungy has said in the past, two wins in a row is just a coincidence - but it is a GOOD start to better things that are to come!

 Today, Colts fans everywhere were treated to the kind of performance that we have been hoping to see since the Draft back in April. It was perhaps, the most complete game they have played in nearly two years. The Offense executed very well against what had been the best defense in the NFL. The Defense flew to the ball the way this scheme requires it to, and in doing so were the recipients of five Raven turnovers. And last, but certainly not least, the Special Teams were, well, SPECIAL! I cannot EVER remember a more dominant performance by any Colts Special Teams unit.

Lets look a little deeper into the numbers - first for the DEFENSE. The Ravens offense, while never being a high performance unit, came into the game with the 8th best rushing offense in the league at 133 yards/game, playing against a defensive unit ranked dead last at 188 yds/gm - today the Ravens were held to 51 yards. The young rookie QB had thrown 4 interceptions to date - he threw THREE more today. The Ravens collectively were +1 in the turnover ratio category - the FIVE today will leave them at -4. AND, while the Ravens offensive line had done a pretty good job protecting their QB over the first five weeks of the season (allowing just six total sacks), the Colts were able to record four sacks today alone.

I won't speak too much to the Offense, but it was a very good performance versus a defensive unit that Peyton has never been able to record really good numbers against. The young offensive line did a SUPERB job at pass protection - the Ravens did record two sacks, but I would venture to say that Peyton got hit less today than he has in a very long time!!! Peyton threw the ball to six different receivers, with Reggie once again going over a hundred yards, while Marvin was on the receiving end of two Manning touchdowns - I wonder what the Harrison critics will have to write about THIS week? The rushing game was not spectacular, but after Joseph and Hart BOTH went out with injuries, Dom became the only back left so it was not a point of emphasis today due to the circumstances.

The unit of the day though belongs to the Special Teams as they put together a performance like we haven't seen too many times in Indianapolis. Adam Vinatieri kicked like a man possessed - five of his six kickoffs were into the endzone (the only one that didn't, made it to the 4 yard line). Three of the kicks resulted in touchbacks, giving the Ravens the ball on the 20 yard line - the other three were even better, with tackles being made at the 19, 14 and 16 yard lines!!! Hunter Smith was almost as good - six punts total with three of them downed inside the 20 yard line (11, 4 and 7 yard lines). On the other three punts, there were a total of 8 return yards, giving the Ravens the ball at the 26, 30 and the 29 yard lines. There were big hits after big hits, and Melvin Bullit was the deliverer of several of them. Just a phenomenal performance by the most criticized unit on this team for many years.

 As good as it was to see this kind of performance, it is just one game! Now the focus turns to he Packers, who went on the road and recorded a very convincing win at Seattle themselves- a USUALLY very difficult place to win!  Hopefully the Colts will find a way to build off of this performance, and begin showing some of the consistency that will be needed with the schedule that is upcoming!

 Two is a coincidence - THREE, and we can start talking about a streak!

 One Down...Twelve to Go!

10/5/2008 

I don't know if I can find the words to describe what happened today in Houston. As absolutely THRILLED as I am to get the win, I can't help but feel sorrow for the Texans players and fans, who did absolutely everything they needed to do to win the game, EXCEPT for a couple of negative plays. Even then, it had as much to do with the individual effort of a couple of Colt players, as it did with anything the Texans did wrong.  It just goes to show you what a fine line it is between winning and losing in the NFL!  Sage Rosenfels will get a TON of criticism for trying to do too much, but what determination by Brackett, Mathis and Wayne to get the job done - I wonder how many Colt fans had this one turned off after going down 17 points?  This victory was very Tampa Bay-esque!! 

The way the game got started, I thought this was going to be the kind of confidence builder we had been looking for, but that was not to be. The offense came out clicking and looked very sharp early, but as the game progressed, the offensive line struggled to give Peyton much time to throw the ball at all. To compound the problem even more, the Texans were able to apply the kind of pressure they did with just their four down linmen most of the time, giving the defense a chance to really bear down on the Colts running game. Defensively, the same problems continued to plague this team - poor tackling, missed assignments and a less than adequate pass rush.

While the Colts running game was not stellar (79 yds), it was good to see the number of rushing plays resulting in negative yardage once again kept to a minimum (2 for -3 yds). I thought the timing between Peyton and his recievers was much better, and he was able to complete passes to eight different recievers, but the O-Line has to find a way to get him some more time in the pocket. As I pointed out in my Blog earlier in the week, the one thing that I felt this team had done all year was to play HARD for 60 minutes and once again this game shows how that can be every bit as important as some of the more fundamental things. Fans, announcers and anyone else that wants to. can get down on this team and the way they are playing, but it is clear to me that to a man, the 53 active players on this roster believe in each other, and never quit regardless of what the situation may be - it is the ONLY reason we are not sitting at 0-4 right now.

There is still MUCH work to be done and MANY things in need of fixing, but I cannot help but be inspired by the resilience that this team continues to display. It is an attribute that is going to be needed in the upcoming weeks as the Colts enter what I believe to be the toughtest part of their schedule. I CHOOSE to remain optimistic that they will find a way to get the on-field problems resolved, but in the meantime I will take victories any and every way the may come. 

An Opening to Remember!

8/25/2008 
Chaz1ley 

It was a great time to be a Colts fan on Sunday evening and while the level of play on the new turf of Lucas Oil Stadium was maybe not as sharp as any of us would have liked, it did little to damper the festivities for me!

While many thousands of people were able to preview the stadium during the tours a week earlier, nothing compared to the extravaganza the Colts management had prepared for the fans on Sunday evening. The many activities that were commonplace in Pan Am Plaza have been relocated to the southeast corner of the stadium (The FAN ZONE) and it got rocking early! There was a band was playing as you walked through the North entrance of LOS, on a stage set up inside the giant horseshoe that hangs there with the field in the background - what a GREAT setting. The opening of the roof was delayed until just before game time, to allow the majority of the people to be inside the stadium and witness it for the first time.

Native Hoosier, Amanda Overmyre, of American Idol fame, was there singing a terrific song during the opening of the roof. Then the GIANT American Flag was brought out (covering the ENTIRE football field) while she returned to sing the Star Spangled Banner complete with rockets red-glaring and bombs bursting in air - if that didn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up than you might need to be checked for a pulse!!! An attendance of 65,333 was announced, and I am pretty sure that all but THREE were in their seats before kickoff (OK, maybe as many as ten).

That was all BEFORE any football was even played. As it turned out, the football that DID get played wasn't nearly as exciting as the opening festivities. The offense was never able to get into any kind of rhythm throughout the entire game, and while the Defense played pretty well on first and second downs, they failed to stop anything on third down.  While total yardage numbers were pretty comparable (257 to 233) there are two OTHER stats that sum up the game - Buffalo had the ball for 43 minutes to the Colts' 17 minutes, AND the Colts had 5 turnovers to ZERO for the Buffalo Bills. No team is going to win many games with those two categories that lopsided.

The biggest concern on the football side of things though has to be the extent of the injury to Jeff Saturday's knee. He is a true warrior, and one that I has played through pain before, so seeing him limp off of the field was not very pleasant. Others were banged up as well (TJ Rushing, Melvin Bullit) but the status of Jeff is going to be critical as he is responsible for calling all f the blocking schemes at the line of scrimmage, depending on what alignment the defense is in. Optimism is needed here, and we are certainly due some good news for a change!

Even with the struggles on the field, I could not help but feel an enormous amount of pride in what took place throughout the evening. THIS, was the first real test of the facility - 65,000+ people - and from my point of view, they pulled it off without a hitch. I have read papers today and listened to radio reports about frustrations with the time it took to get up the escalators, but at least there ARE escalators. There are also a couple of ramps that can be used which alleviates the pain of stairs as well as stairs that can still be climbed if desired. I think more of the frustration came from not knowing exactly how to access some these other options, and will improve as people become more accustomed to the facility. If I were to try and find ONE thing that I thought to be a little bit of an inconvenience, it would be the interpretation of the scoreboards. They seem to be a little smaller to me, and with all of the other scrolling signboards moving around the stadium, they tend to get lost a little. This too, will improve as we attend more games and become more familiar with them, but I guess I had envisioned that the scoreboards would be integrated into the large Jumbo-trons in some manner or another.

We get one more opportunity in just a few days, to enjoy this fabulous new home of ours before preparations begin for the start of the regular season. Everything about it is new, and the kinks will continue to be worked out. We are truly blessed (and probably just a little spoiled) to be part of all this, and once again, with a National audience tuning in, Indianapolis showed exactly why this town truly is the Sports Capital of the World - Amateur or NOT!

 

An Exciting Time!!!!

8/13/2008 11:35 AM

Chaz1ley 

Can YOU feel the excitement building?

The preseason is not intended to be pretty, and last Saturday against the Panthers, the Colts played just that way. That doesn't mean however, that there were not good things to be taken from the game. I liked the way the reserves came in and performed pretty well in a tough situation - preseason games may not mean that much to the many of the fans, but for the players trying to make this team, it might as well be a playoff game! The way the game started, I was concerned that there might be a little bit of a let down with the younger players, but once they rebounded from the initial shock, they seemed to settle in a little bit and things started turning around. Slow starts have not been uncommon for this team over the last year or so, nor has the ability rebound from it, but with the number of 1st and 2nd year guys that were on the field during that time, you have to feel pretty good about what they were able to get done.

 Following the first preseason game against the Redskins, I was a little reluctant to talk too much about the special teams play, because it was only ONE game. However, they went out and followed it up with what I thought was an even better performance this past week. NOW, it would appear that what has long been considered a major area of risk for this football team, might now be ready to become another one of its strengths! Adam is kicking the ball as well as he ever has in a Colts uniform - the biggest area of improvement being the depth AND hang time on his kickoffs. He hasn't had many opportunities at Field Goals in the preseason, but that has never been a concern of mine with him. As a result of the above, the coverage has been tremendous to date - those precious few tenths-of-seconds make all the difference in the world when you are talking about coverage. If these kind of performances can be replicated during the season, it will take a tremendous amount of pressure OFF of the Colt's defense, and places it directly on the opposing teams offense - now they will be forced to drive the ball 75-80 yards instead of the 55-60 yds that seems to have been the norm in recent years. It just snowballs from there - assuming the defense returns at the level it played at last year, that will likely to translate into more punts by the opponent, from deeper in its own territory, which will give the Colt's better field position to begin their drives. Now all of a sudden the pressure is on your opponent's defense to try and keep the Colts from only having to drive a short distance for a score! If people are talking about your Special Teams play, then it is because there is a problem with them - it would appear that all the experts (sportscasters, analyst, etc&ldots;) are going to have to find something else to trash the Colts about this year!

There is a definite buzz that can be felt in the state of Indiana (actually much further than that) - the public finally gets to take a peak at Lucas Oil Stadium (LOS) this coming weekend, and the first HOME preseason game in it is just a week later. It was a very long offseason - especially following the magical Super Bowl ride of the year before - but the energy that is building is very similar to what I felt THAT year. We have had several get-togethers with members of this network here in the last month or two, and there are a few more scheduled before the regular season gets kicked off - they are great opportunities to actually meet the people on this site . There are some wonderful changes even coming to this network, intended to address some of the concerns that many of us have expressed - I even find that exciting - If you haven't read the information about the changes coming, there is a HELP BLOG out there for you to go to and voice your opinions, so please take advantage of it while you can.

What a GREAT time to be a COLTS fan!!!! 

May the HORSE Be With You!

 

In a Galaxy, Not So Very Far Away...

2/4/2008 

Once again, GOOD triumphs EVIL!  

After suffering a huge defeat at the hands of the Republic (aka Colts) just a few months prior, the Evil Empire (aka Patriots) spent the off season spanning the league in search of those with questionable character and integrity (Moss, Stalworth, Thomas), and would even look to turn those with goodness in them (Welker), to the ways of the Dark Side! As new battles were just beginning to take place, it quickly became clear that while the RULES of engagement had not changed on the field of battle, this new Empire would go to any extreme to gain the upper hand. Spies were discovered within the Allied camps of the Republic and video evidence was seized showing how low the Empire was willing to go! Even then, there was a conspiracy to hide the evidence from the rest of the World, as it was secretly destroyed without ever being viewed by the members of the Republic. What was on these tapes that no one wanted to be seen? Is it possible that these latest transgressions, that were thought by many to relatively new, have actually been going on since the early beginnings of the Empire? These answers may now, never be known!

As battle after battle unfolded, the Empire (under the tutelage of the self-proclaimed mastermind Darth Bellicheat), would test their new weapons against much weaker and less prepared opponents. Tactics never before seen on the battlefield were used to unmercifully destroy any and all enemies. Several weeks and many lopsided battles later, they came up against their arch enemy, and first formidable opponent of the Republic (Colts). The Republic jumped on the Empire early and often, on their way to what sure seemed liked an inevitable victory, but breakdowns in the lines of defense late in the battle, allowed the Empire to regain its ground and snatch another victory away from the Republic!

It was a Dark time for the Republic, as this seemed like the surest chance for victory against the growingly powerful Empire. Several Allies of the Republic stepped up to take their shot at slowing down the Empire, and while some battles went down to the wire, the Empire continued to prevail. But something was changing. Just when you would think the Empire should be gaining strength, it began showing signs of vulnerability. Slowly, week-by-week, the Republic began showing signs of strength. The battles with the Empire were becoming more and more equal, and while the Republic still was unable to claim victory, there were reasons for optimism.

However, you would never know it by the newsgroups covering these battles. They would have you to believe that this Empire, this Machine, was incapable of being defeated. Everywhere you looked - newspapers, magazines, television - it didn't't matter! The fate of the Republic was already decided - the two year reign of Supremacy was over! The Empire would once again be World Rulers! What the newsgroups though do not understand is the resolve of the Republic, and all that is stands for!

There is a truly a FORCE that resides within the Republic. A force that is offered to anyone who is willing to accept it into their lives! It isn't anything physical in nature, but a way of life for those who have it. It is spiritual in nature, and more powerful than any Empire ever hoped to be. It is built on principles of character, integrity and faith! It is Eternal for those who wish it to be!

While opponents were slowly being eliminated on the battlefield, there were ongoing efforts by underground networks (MyColts.com) to share with others how just how powerful this FORCE can be. They were constantly attacked by those who will never understand, but their resolve lived on. Public opinion was slowly being swayed by the endless efforts of these "underground warriors" (Gordon38, Canderson55, Colts7, Ctscaner just to name a few), and hope was slowly restored to those who had lost the vision! This Empire not only could be destroyed, it WOULD be!

 As the final battle drew near, the Republic was still given no chance of being able to defeat the Empire. Under the guidance of on-field General Brady, the Empire was deemed too powerful to be slowed by the last line of defense the Republic had. This group of warriors though, had re-grouped from an earlier defeat at the hands of the Empire, and they had learned from that defeat and brought a confidence to the next battle that the Empire had not seen. Make no mistake about it, this was a different Republic. Their strength would lie with their defensive capabilities. They would look to put as much pressure on the heralded General Brady as possible, and place the outcome of the battle in the hands of their own very young, but very talented, Commander Manning. Manning was from a family of thoroughbreds when it came to battle strategy. His brother is credited with keeping the Republic in World power in the decisive battle just a year ago. Their father too, was a commander in battle, but never shared the success that his two sons have!

As the battle broke out, it was obvious this would not be for the feint of heart! The battle lines had been drawn and for the longest time neither side seemed to be able to gain the upper hand. The Republic was successful at making inroads against the Empire, but then the defenses of the Empire would strengthen and hold off the Republic. Republic defenses were as good as advertised and punished General Brady early and often. General Brady seemed unsure of what he was doing, and was unable to mount any offensive against the Republic! Late in the battle though, General Brady did what he has done so many times, and found an opening in the defense of the Republic and scored a big advancement that many thought might take the fight out of the Republic! But not on this day. Commander Manning looked well beyond his years and regrouped his offensive weapons and made a final charge at the Empire. Strategic strike after strategic strike, and the Empire had no answer. Then, with the battle winding down, Commander Manning delivered one final blow that brought the Empire to its knees!

The reign was over! After eighteen consecutive battle victories, Darth Bellicheat and General Brady would go down in defeat! The circumstances were so difficult for Darth Bellicheat to handle, that he was seen leaving sneaking off the battlefield before victory was ever claimed by the Republic! It is the kind of spineless, characterless action that we have come to expect from Evil.

 The role the FORCE played in this victory can not be understated. It is easy to get down when things are not going well, but draw on your Faith and amazing things will happen many more times than not!

It is the dawning of a NEW Republic! The evil Empire has been defeated.

GOOD, once again, defeated EVIL!!

 

 

Character Assault on Coach!

1/22/2008 7:06 PM 

It is the start of a new season and therefore the beginning of a new blog. It is beginning a few weeks sooner than any of us would have liked, but nothing can be done to change what has happened, so the focus must be shifted to continuing to improve this team for another run at a Super Bowl Championship!

 As exciting as the week started out with the confirmation that Tony Dungy would indeed return to lead this team, the following day began with an article written attacking the Coach for making the decision he did. The article was written by Bob Kravitz, and appeared in Tuesday's edition of the Indianapolis Star. In this article, the so-called journalist accuses Coach multiple times of being hypocritical because of his decision to continue coaching, over not being closer to his family which is moving back to Florida. I will not go into the details of this article, but would implore you to read it if you have not done so.

 The purpose of this Blog though is to get your opinion on what right these "journalists" have to make these attacks on people, especially one with the character that Tony Dungy has. This goes well beyond football and what Coach's responsibilities are to this team, and this organization.

This man has been up front with the press and the public as to what was going to transpire the week following the loss to the Chargers, just as he has the past several years. He and his family have a process that they have agreed upon, to evaluate what direction the Family will take, and it is no one's business other than the members of that family. They do not owe any of us an explanation as to what goes into those conversations, or how the decisions are derived.

 Apparently though, that doesn't sell enough newspapers. Mr. Kravitz has elected to take it to another level, questioning things that he has no information about. He speaks in generalities and points to programs that Coach is associated with that conflict with his decision (in Kravitz's mind anyway) to continue coaching in Indianapolis while his family takes up residence in Florida.  He doesn't once mention how many advantages the Dungy kids have been forwarded BECAUSE of the occupation of their father and his association with the NFL. They have traveled to places that most kids would only dream of being able to go. They have been afforded educational advantages that few kids have. The have had opportunities to meet many great people that we all would be very jealous of. What is so terrible about any of that? These are all things that any parent would give anything, to be able to provide to their own children.

This is nothing more than character assassination of a man with more character and morals than Bob Kravitz could ever hope to have. Was this REALLY necessary to get someone to read his column? I understand that sports journalists are paid to create interest, (even conflict) for the purpose of generating discussion among the readers. But I don't get this. Write an article about Coach's decision to rest players down the stretch and what effect it has on their playoff performances - everyone knows there were numerous people wanting to talk about that following the loss to the Chargers. Talk about the lack of a pass rush or the inability to score in the red zone - everyone has an opinion about that.

Tony Dungy has done as much for this community as any other individual that I can remember. He has been a major contributor to turning what was once the Basketball Capital of the World, into a Football Crazy state, and done so in six short years! He is not alone in these efforts by any means, but I wonder if we would be where we are today, without his leadership and direction.

Tony Dungy deserves better than this. You may not like his quiet demeanor, and can question his abilities as a football coach all you want, but his character can not be questioned - especially by the likes of Bob Kravitz!

Are Changes Imminent

1/17/2008 8:02 PM 

Chaz1ley

The great thing about a forum like this one is that everybody gets to say whatever is on their mind, and others get to pick it apart and point out all the reasons why they MUST be wrong. No one is right, no one is wrong! We just have different opinions. So here is MY opinion on some of the things being printed in the papers and broadcast on the TV/Radio.

The biggest news surrounding the Colt's this week is obviously whether or not this will be Tony's last year in Indy - I wouldn't be surprised if that indeed is the case. I get amused though at all the talk that has re-surfaced about Tony's coaching abilities. I cannot remember ONE single time in the past year, that this conversation has came up. Since winning the Super Bowl and then following it up with a 13-3 regular season (under more difficult circumstances than any other team in football), the critics have been silent! I thought that THIS, by far, was Tony's greatest job of coaching EVER! Maybe it was too good. If this team would have went 10-6 with all the injuries they had, would anyone have been surprised? If they finish 10-6 and get beat in the Playoffs by San Diego in the Wild Card game instead of the Divisional round, would it have been as big of a shock? Does losing this game REALLY make Tony's as bad of a Coach as winning the Super Bowl last year made him a GREAT one? What he was able to do with this team this year, after a shorter off-season, all the distractions that go with winning a Super Bowl, and then the injuries that occurred, are truly remarkable. Would have yelling and screaming at these younger players that he was forced to put on the field this year, worked better than the calming influence that he obviously has on this team? Why aren't there more articles and more conversation going on out there about how he was able to achieve what he did, with what little he had to work, with for most of the season?

Should he elect to step away, his replacement is speculated to be his long time assistant coach, Jim Caldwell. No one knows if he is ready to be a head coach in the NFL, but if he never gets the chance, no one ever will. I would rather see him get that shot here, rather than go to some rival of ours and find out that he is the next coming of - Tony Dungy! The bigger picture though, in my humble opinion, is that the next head coach of this team MUST have a similar philosophy if we are to continue to enjoy the kind of success that we have become accustomed to. There are a handful of KEY players on this team that are just now approaching, or already in, the prime of their careers. Introducing a new staff and new schemes would minimize the opportunities over the next few years to reap the benefits of maintaining the continuity that has been built with this core group of players. At some point every team has to go through a rebuilding process, and we are not exempt from that. I would like to see that happen though AFTER we get all we can out of this group of players.

 How long did we have to put up with the talk that our defense could never be more than mediocre due to the salary imbalance on the two sides of the ball? We had the #1 Defense in the league this year (without a Dwight Freeney, Booger McFarland and Rob Morris) using a cast of characters that most have never heard of (except Bob of course). It is a defense that relies on speed and intelligence, every bit as much as size and strength. It is not void of its vulnerabilities (being able to put pressure on the QB with the front four a big one), but with the right people in the right positions, it can be very effective. Bringing in a new coach who is not in favor of using a Cover2 scheme, could prove to be detrimental to the effectiveness on Defense. How many players that were successful in this scheme, have left the Colts and enjoyed success in other systems - not very many. Can the Defense be re-tooled to make better use of other schemes - sure, but how long would that process take to get in place?

There are many ways to achieve success in Sports, and many different beliefs and philosophies that go behind it. The kind of success that we, as fans, have been able to witness over the last six years has only been duplicated by perhaps, one other team! I know how many years I anguished over not just losing, but not even being competitive! I am PROUD of what this team has been able to achieve, with or without multiple Super Bowl Championships. I know what it USED to be like, and I know when it changed - it all started with Tony Dungy!!

God Bless him with the very difficult decision he is trying to make!

 

A Sad Ending, to a Great Year!

1/13/2008 8:47 PM 

Chaz1ley

It wasn't the ending that any one wanted, or even envisioned, but the Colt's attempt at defending their World Championship officially came to an end on Sunday, in the last NFL game to ever be played in the RCA DOME. The great debate will once again begin as to what benefit earning a first round BYE really gives at team, but it will remain a question that there will never be a an absolute answer to. Circumstances will always differ from one team to another, making the answer one that is always dependent on the result, and not the prediction - win, and it is great, loose and it was a big mistake.

This game was decided on the execution of one team (the Chargers) and the lack thereof from the other (our beloved Colts)! The Chargers are to be commended for the performance they were able to put together on the road, in an extremely difficult place to play. They would begin the game with their #1 receiver playing with a dislocated toe and he would never be a factor. They would loose the leading rusher in the NFL before halftime, only to turn around and loose their starting quarterback a quarter later. Yet they still managed to make enough plays to secure the victory, and put an end to our magical season. It was the type of performance we have seen time and time again this season, by OUR Colts!

 The building was electric, and the Colts came onto the field looking to be very energized and ready to go. The offense moved the ball at will against the Charger defense, but kept shooting themselves in the foot once they got inside the Red Zone - three turnovers while in scoring position. The hit on Marvin was pretty solid resulting in his fumble, but the other two were unforced errors with balls going through the hands of receivers - you will not win many games, let alone playoff games, with that kind of execution.

 I felt though, that the difference in the game came on the defensive side of the ball. It was complete role reversal from a year ago, where the defense was very suspect all year long, only to turn it up a notch in the Playoffs, proving to be the catalyst in the run to the Super Bowl. This year, the defense was miraculous all year long, but looked like a different unit on Sunday, against a Chargers offense without it's three primary weapons for large parts of the game. There were too many big plays given up to the Chargers and the Colts committed 10 penalties for 79 yards - a very un-Colt like performance in a BIG game!

 It was an extremely difficult loss for all involved, but as is usually the case, was handled with the utmost class by all. I was extremely pleased with the lack of negative comments by Colt fans as they exited the stadium - the emotion was obvious, and the mood was very subdued, but I was proud walking out and not hearing the kinds of things I have heard when I went on the road to other stadiums and watched the Colts win. I heard MANY well wishes to the Charger fans who were in attendance, and offers of support as they go to that East coast city next week!

 So it will be a very long offseason, with much uncertainty about certain aspects with the team. Will Tony return next year? How many assistant coaches will get job offers from other teams? Will Polian and Irsay be able to work out a contract extension for Dallas, or will he get the franchise tag? What other players will test the free agent market? Regardless, the future this franchise is extremely bright. The number one defense in the league will get Freeney, McFarland and Morris all back. The many rookies who played so well this year will get a second training camp, along with all the experience they gained this year. Peyton shows me no signs of letting up, and the offense should just continue improving!

 I know it hurts right now, but nothing can be done to change what happened today. We will all have to find our own way to deal with what we are feeling, but just try to think of all the wonderful things we have witnessed this year, and don't hesitate to draw support from the many wonderful people on this network (MyColts.net), if needed.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts with all of you this year. Thanks so much for all the words of encouragement throughout the year, and I look forward to continuing what we have started! I am not going away, and will continue to add things to my content.

Stay True to the Blue, and God Bless you all!

 

 

 

THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR A FOOTBALL FAN! 

Are YOU Ready??

1/10/2008 8:46 PM 

 

Divisional Playoff Weekend - Time to Crank Up the Volume!

 With a Super Bowl victory now in hand, the bar has been raised - it has been a 20 week exhibition season up to this point - a time to work on fundamentals, gain much needed experience for younger players, and develop a kind of confidence that is needed to make another run at a Championship. It was a long time coming for this organization, this city and US fans.

We too have had to work on OUR game over the last several years. Sure, once the winning began in the early part of this decade, it became easy to get fans in the stands, and you could slowly sense that things were changing. But it took a while for the masses to learn GOOD football fan etiquette - it used to get loud when the Offense was on the field and quiet when the Defense needed a lift. Playing the Colts in Indianapolis never used to put the fear in any team. I can remember many games where there were more opposing team fans, than there were Colt fans. I can remember our first playoff game in the Dome against Tennessee and Peyton having to try and quiet the Titan fans so he could call plays. How all that has changed!

It has been a lot of fun watching the transition over the years, making the RCA Dome one of the greatest Home Field advantages in all of sports. It gets so loud during the game that you cannot carry on a conversation with the person sitting next to you. It has become a pre-game ritual to take a few Tylenol prior to heading inside the dome, to help slow down the headache that is sure to come, from the ringing in my ears following the game - it as an absolutely awesome experience!

 This next game in the Dome could very well be the last one, EVER! We all know what happened last year, and there obviously is the possibility of one more, but we cannot assume that to be the case - we will know however, by the end of the day on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome of the Jaguar's game, we all need to bring our very best to the stadium on Sunday. Once again, let's show the world, and especially the San Diego Chargers, why this place is so special. Be as loud as you think you can possibly be - just when you think you have nothing more to give, reach down deep and find that little something extra. Don't take any plays off - we have been conditioning ourselves all year for games of this magnitude so now is the time to let it all hang out! When you walk out of the Dome, KNOW that you left it all in the stands!

 

It is going to be unbelievable! Just as the players and coaches have learned exactly what it takes to be successful at this time of year, we too have learned what OUR roles are. I am proud to call myself a Colts Fan, and honored to be part of something so special!

 This place has given us all so many wonderful memories. This is OUR chance to add to its legacy!

I am up to the task - are YOU? 

 

Title Defense begins NOW!

1/7/2008 6:01 PM 

Eleven months, seven days - that is how long the Indianapolis Colts will have held the title of World Champion when Sunday's game arrives against the San Diego Chargers. Nothing that has happened this year has changed that - not the first undefeated season by a team in 35 years, not an injury list that looks like something out of an episode of MASH (thanks Jeffro). The media has often times forgotten that - the title is something you earn, and you keep it until someone takes it away from you at this time of year. All the talk and all the records mean nothing - the defense of the title officially starts now, and it begins in INDIANAPOLIS!

It has been nine weeks since the Colts made the trip to the West coast to play the Chargers - MUCH has changed since. The Colts got off to potentially their worst start in several years, falling behind 23-0 to a Charger team that was struggling to find itself. The Chargers special teams would account for two scores, with both a Kickoff and a Punt returned for touchdowns. Peyton Manning would end up throwing six interceptions and Mr. Clutch, Adam Vinatieri, would miss a 29 yard field goal that could have won the game for the Colts. Both teams have gone 6 and 1 since that meeting, if you discount the extra Playoff game that San Diego played yesterday.  The Colts only loss came to the Titans in a game where the starters played very little, while the Chargers lone loss was at the hands of the Jaguars the very next week. In the first meeting, there was no Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzales, Tony Ugoh, Freddie Keiaho, Tyjuan Hagler or TJ Rushing. During the game, the Colts would lose Dwight Freeney, Charlie Johnson and Ryan Diem to injury. Yet, with all this, and after spotting the Chargers  23 points, the Colts fought back and put themselves in a position to win the game at the end.

 The Chargers, while playing much better football during the final quarter of the year, cannot possibly prepare for what they will face come Sunday - primarily because they are going to face a football team that to date has only been a vision in the minds of the Colts Owner, President of Operations and Coaching staff, when they began putting the pieces together shortly after winning last year's Super Bowl. The Chargers will not only have the task playing a well rested Colts team, they will have to go up against a HEALTHY one too. The Colts were reporting this weekend that it would appear at this time that EVERYONE is capable of playing (not on IR) should be ready to go on Sunday! Having known what it felt like to go into San Diego with less than you best players available, I hope that the news on Antonio Gates is favorable and that he is capable of playing on Sunday.

 I promise you the Colt's will not be looking past these Chargers - I believe they WANTED to play this team again to show what a fluke the first meeting really was. They have an opportunity to avenge BOTH regular season losses (already split with Tennessee) if things go as most predict they will.

 Now it is time for the Chargers to make the trek east to play in the loudest stadium in professional football, with the best FANS in professional football, against the best TEAM in professional football - and still the ONLY REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION of professional football!

 Potentially, this will be the LAST Colts game ever played in the Dome - we will know well BEFORE kickoff on Sunday, as to whether the Jaguars were able to beat the Patriots or not! If they SHOULD, and the Colts take care of business on Sunday, can you think of a better way to CLOSE THE DOME, than another AFC Championship VICTORY!!

 

It is going to be CRAZY in INDY all week long and I cannot wait!

 

Wildcard Weekend - Day 2 Analysis!

1/6/2008 9:18 PM 

Wildcard weekend is now complete and the final four teams in each conference have now been determined. Today's games went as I had predicted, but the Titan's did give the Chargers a better game then I thought they would.

The first game of the day had a Giants team with a lot of confidence going on the road to play the Buccaneers. While Tampa had taken path of resting their starters the last few weeks after locking up the division, I felt it hurt them on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, they limited the running game of the Giants early, but eventually began showing signs of wearing down as the Giants started pulling away in the second and third quarters.

There seems to have been a little of a maturing process with Eli over the last few weeks. It is not about what he IS doing offensively, but what he is NOT - turning the ball over! Much like Peyton last year, it appears that Eli is learning to take what the defense is giving him, rather than feeling like he has to make a play on every down. If he can continue playing like this, and the Giants defense continues to put pressure on the quarterback, then the Cowboys could be in trouble next week, even playing at home - the Giants are now 8-1 when playing on the road this season.

 Game two was the one that all of Indianapolis (and Colts fans everywhere) was tuned in to see. For a while, it looked like Tennessee had an answer defensively to make a game of it, but could not sustain it during the second half and really never threatened much in the second half to put any points on the board. Rivers and LaDanian did not put up big numbers, but were efficient enough to get the win. The Chargers also will be waiting to hear what the prognosis is for their Pro Bowl Tight End who left the game with a toe injury!

So now the field is set. No more BYE weeks, no more resting - this is what these eight teams have spent the better part of six months fighting for and now anything can happen.

 There are some great stories for next weeks games. Two divisional rivals square off in Dallas. The teacher returns home to play his pupil at the place they both help to put back on the football map. The best team with the best record will play host to the team that no one wants to play. And last, but certainly not least, the DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION begins it's quest to defend it.

 

Day 1 Analysis!

1/6/2008

 

Day one of the 2008 playoffs is now in the books, and went the way many expected it to go (except me - pick Washington).

I was beginning to wonder if the first game was ever going to start, and then when it did, I wondered why I was so eager - the first half was not much to watch! But in the second half, Washington came to life and it looked like Seattle had lost total control of the game. All the momentum that the Redskins gained in tying the score, was immediately lost when they did not get any points following the bizarre kickoff that gave them the ball again on the Seattle 15 yard line - if they go up a touchdown there, the outcome may have been totally different. I was very impressed with the amount of pressure that Seattle was able to put on the quarterback all game long - if they can continue to do that throughout the playoffs, this team could be very difficult to handle!

Now Seattle will travel back to Green Bay where Mike Holmgren enjoyed so much success. It is also a rematch of the 2003 Playoff game where Matt Hasselbeck made the statement 'We want the ball and we're going to score," during the coin toss for Overtime, then went out and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, kicking them out of the playoffs! This should be a fun one to watch!

The AFC game between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville ended up being a very good game. I really wanted Jacksonville to win the game going in, as I felt they have a good opportunity to go into New England and knock them off (only to potentially secure another AFC Championship Game in the Dome). However, after playing VERY good football since losing to the Colts in the Dome in early December, it only took the 2nd half of last nights game to remind me why the Jags will NEVER win anything of consequence, as long as Jack Del Rio is their coach.

After pretty much dominating the first half of football (thanks in part to a horrendous half of football by Big Ben), they once again forgot who they are and what got them to that point, and only ran the ball a total of SIX times after going ahead 28-10 midway through the third quarter! You are on the road, have the BEST running game in the NFL, have an EIGHTEEN point lead and elect to only run the ball six times? I just don't get it. In the second half alone, they ran the ball 12 times for 89 yards - 32 coming on the ONE run by Garrard. Ignoring that one run, that leaves 11 rushes for 57 yards, which averages out to 5.1 yards per carry! Why would anyone, who is running with this kind of success, elect NOT to run time off the clock and continue to feed the ball to Jones-Drew and Taylor? They won the game though, and are still a formidable opponent as they move forward, but when is someone going to realize just how poorly a job Del Rio does at managing a football game? Maybe, as a divisional rival, it is best that no one does!!!

While it will not be determined where they will go next until after the Charger/Titan game, they are a team with the talent to go anywhere in these playoffs and beat anybody, but you just have to wonder if they have the leadership to do so!

 

Matchups and Predictions

1/2/2008 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!

The playoffs are officially underway, and as a result of another stellar year by our beloved Colts, we get the opportunity to rest, heal and prepare for Round 2 of this year's playoffs on Sunday, January 13. The only one of this week's four AFC teams that CANNOT play in INDY is the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans go into San Diego and beat the Chargers, they would end up going to New England in week 2 by virtue of being the lowest seed left (6).  So that leaves Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and San Diego as the candidates to come in and LOSE to the Colts on the second weekend of the playoffs. As long as Sand Diego wins this week, they are guaranteed the trip to INDY, and then the Jacksonville/Pittsburgh winner will go to New England.

The NFC picture is set up the same way with Dallas and Green Bay resting this week, while Washington goes to Seattle and the Giants head to Tampa Bay. As long as Seattle wins, they will head Green Bay to play the Packers, and the winner of the Giant/Bucs game will go to Dallas. In the event that the Redskins beat the Seahawks though, they would head to Dallas and the winner of the Giants/Bucs game would then go Green Bay to play the Packers.

The first game on this weekend's schedule has the Redskins traveling across country to play the Seahawks. What more can be said of the job Joe Gibbs has done with keeping this team focused and playing very inspirational football under very difficult situations. The Redskins are a team you do not want to play at this time of the year - the death of Sean Taylor has been a rallying point for this team and no one in the NFC is playing any better football! The Seahawks have played well at times, but have struggled to establish any type of running game throughout most of the year - the passing game has really come on strong as a result, but a one dimensional team in the playoffs can be very detrimental. I think the Redskins will win this game, and set up a re-match with their bitter rivals in Round 2 - the Dallas Cowboys!

 Game two on Saturday has the Jaguars returning to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where they fairly soundly defeated the Steelers just three weeks ago. The tandem of Jones-Drew and Taylor ran crazy against the Steelers defense and will to do so again this week. The Steelers have been hit hard by injury on the offensive line, and also lost their Pro Bowl running back for the year - Willie Parker. I feel that Jacksonville still comes out on top in this game, but it will be much closer than many people might expect (getting embarrassed like Pittsburgh did a few weeks ago will have them very motivated).

 Sunday, the first game has a Giants team coming of a very inspiring performance against the Patriots, going into Tampa to play a Buccaneer team that has lost three of their last four contests. John Gruden made the decision to rest many of his starters the last several weeks, and it will be interesting to see if they can turn things back on to the level where they were playing midseason. I never quite know what to expect from the Giants - they played about as well as they are capable on Saturday night, but have been so inconsistent this year it is hard to put any faith in them. This will be a low scoring game but for some reason I feel Eli will play well enough to score enough points and secure the win for the Giants.

 The last game of the Round 1 has the Titans going into San Diego to play the Chargers and Shawn Merriman - whom the Titans were accused of putting a bounty on during the contest in Tennessee just one month ago. Then you also have the QB controversy of whether Vince Young will be ready or Kerry Collins will get the nod. I don't think Tennessee beats the Colts last week if Kerry Collins never came into the Game - he definitely gives them the best chance to beat the Chargers on the road. San Diego has played much better during the last quarter of the season, but they also have shown a little inconsistency, especially at the quarterback position. But I think LaDanian does enough to get them the win against the Titans.

There you have it - my full breakdown of Wildcard Weekend in the NFL! If my thoughts are correct, In the AFC we will see the Chargers head to Indianapolis and the Jaguars paying a visit to New England. In the NFC, the Redskins will go to Dallas (where they split games this year) while the Packers will play host to the Giants.

See bracket below for graphical image of the first round matchups

THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR A FOOTBALL FAN! 

Bringing it Home!

12/13/2007 9:17 AM 

As this season has progressed, I never thought I would find myself saying this, but THANK YOU schedule makers! In what, by most standards, would be considered one of the more difficult schedules the Colts have had in many years (based on travel, days between games, and the improvement of teams within the division), a cross-country trip to California might be exactly what the Colts need at this particular time - sounds odd doesn't it?

 Consider these things;

1.They will play a team that is struggling to find an identity. The Raiders have struggled once again this season, but HAVE been more competitive than recent years. The Colts will definitely get Oakland's best shot as they try to salvage something positive for the year - beating an 11-2 team would accomplish that.

2.It appears that while he will not start the game, the Raiders #1 draft pick (and expected franchise savior) DeMarcus Russell is slated to play according to their Coach. It will only be the second time he has seen the field this year, and the way the Colts defense is playing you have to think this will be a struggle for the youngster.

3.At this time, the weather is expected to be dry and in the mid 50's - pretty good football weather regardless of the time of year!

4.The Injury bug has more than out-welcomed its stay here in Indy - heck I almost pulled a muscle reaching for the remote the other night! The early report from Tony suggests that Marvin will probably not be back yet this week. Joining him will be Robert Mathis, Raheem Brock and Antoine Bethea - all listed as doubtful. If there is a game on the Colts schedule this year that you might want to go into, without your top three pass rushers (Freeney already lost for the season), this one is probably it!

So as the Colts newest motto suggests (modified slightly) - NEXT MAN UP AGAIN! Daryl Reid, Quin Pitcock, Keyunta Dawson, Dan Klecko, Jeff Charleston, Josh Thomas and Ed Johnson (a seasoned Vet by now) will once again be given the opportunity to display their talents - all did a remarkable job in Baltimore and will do no less this week! Matt Giordano is healthy again and will get the start in place of Antoine - he was playing extremely well before getting hurt, sited by Tony as being the most improved of any player on the team!

If anyone listens to the Bill Polian show on Monday evenings (can also listen to a recording off the Colts Home page), I was encouraged for the first time about what he had to say about Marvin. He indicated that the knee was doing quite well, but it was as much a conditioning thing at this point, as anything else. It appears that he is on a schedule that has him simply running two days a week and doing strength exercises a third day. While that is not extremely detailed, it is much more than I have heard since he went down! He was then asked if he felt Marvin would be held out until the playoffs and he was pretty reassuring that we would see him BEFORE the end of the season was out - but probably not this week.

With the offense beginning to click, and the thought of Marvin being injected back into the lineup, things are looking very good going into the playoffs. While having played most of the teams that appear to be headed to the playoffs from the AFC (all but Pittsburgh and Cleveland), none will have played against the Colts offense with all the weapons available to Peyton - just the thought of it is mind boggling!  Take time and consider a lineup with Marvin and Reggie on the outsides, Gonzo lined up in the slot, Dallas releasing from the line of scrimmage and Joseph coming out of the backfield!  Who do you choose to double team? Can you afford to double team any of them? Is there a team in the NFL that has the personnel to cover all five of these guys?

I'd better stop before I have a coronary just thinking about it! All of that, and a DEFENSE to go with it!  I know this gets said over and over and over, but I am going to say it again - we should feel so Blessed, even Honored, to be able to call ourselves Fans of such a great product! Win or lose - it doesn't matter! Enjoy everything about what we are witnessing - while it will not last forever, the memories most definitely will!

The victory will bring home yet another AFC SOUTH championship - the fifth in a row!  Should the Jaguars knock off the Steelers, the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs would also be locked down!  The potential for a couple of early Christmas presents for all of us to enjoy!

 

Playoff Bound - Division Title Next!

12/10/2007 

It was a very impressive victory last night against a team that has historically been a very difficult match up. The game was played on the road, in temperatures hovering right at 40C and rain falling throughout the night - not the kind of game that a DOME team is expected to play well in. But this is the Indianapolis Colts, and if we have learned anything at all about this team, it is that these are the kind of games that this team plays BEST in - last night was no different.

The Ravens defense was coming off a game where they played about as well as they are capable of playing, only to lose the game in the final seconds. They would play this game without two of their starting cornerbacks, and it looked like they may have went and asked for volunteers off the street - they were no match for a Colts offense that is beginning to find it's groove.

Peyton was absolutely magnificent, with almost 33% of his completions going for touchdowns - he threw 13 completions (in 17 attempts) with four of them counting for six points each. The Colts had put 30 points on the board in just a tad over 18 minutes of play - two of those coming on a safety as a result of a blocked punt by the Colts special teams unit. Gonzo would have his best game of the season, catching 6 balls for 134 yards, AND his first two touchdowns as a professional. Joseph and Reggie were also recipients of Manning TD throws, while Joseph also added two more TDs rushing the ball. The offensive line was superb in their pass blocking, not allowing a sack the entire game. It was a near flawless night on for the offensive unit.

As well as the Defense has played all year, they were in rare form Sunday evening -  4 sacks, two forced fumbles (recovered by Indy) and three interceptions. Gary Brackett was the benefactor of two passes thrown by Boller, while Kelvin Hayden was the other. Bob Sanders recorded 56 tackles - actually only nine, but it sure seemed like he was part of every tackle made.  The twenty points the Ravens put up were very misleading - one was on a kickoff return and another was with less than a minute left to play in the game.

With the win, the Colts secured a spot in the playoffs - they can wrap up the divisional title with another win next week. Things are coming together just when you would hope they would. The team is getting a little healthier (although there was a scare last night with Mathis and Bethea both going down - Mathis returned, Bethea did not) and both the offense and defense are benefiting from being forced to play a LOT of different people due to all the injuries. Once again, the coaching staff has this team focused on the task at hand, and beginning to play its best football while heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.

From the East coast, to the West coast - this team is ready for any/all challenges!

 

 

 

I took a slightly different approach this week and wrote on something OTHER than this weeks opponent.

A Slightly Different Direction!
12/7/2007 3:42 PM

I usually try to ONLY talk about the current week's opponent during my Blogs, but there have been some things getting me stirred up over the last few weeks, and I thought this was as good a time as any to speak about them. As everyone would probably agree, the publicity that the Patriots are getting during their current chase of perfection is, and has been for many weeks, very disturbing. If they should win this week against the Steelers, I will then concede that they probably complete the regular season without a blemish on their record. Regardless of what kind of schedule you play, that would be an amazing accomplishment that has only been equaled by ONE other team. While I do not have the numbers together at this time, that Dolphin team also played what was considered a very soft schedule in route to their undefeated season. If NFL history has taught us anything, it SHOULD be that regular season accomplishments mean nothing - time and time again, the team with the best record in football has FAILED to win the Super Bowl - it is usually the team playing the best football at the end of the Season that brings home the hardware. As of right now, the Pats are playing anything BUT the best football. They are still undefeated, but have pulled out two of the last three games in the final minutes (even seconds) against teams that have a combined 9-17 record.

Now to the part that has gotten me so stirred up! All I have heard is how great the Ravens defense is and it was no surprise that Brady and the Pats struggled to score points. Then there was all the talk about what a genius the Eagles defensive coordinator is at designing game plans to slow/stop opposing offenses with a variety of elaborate blitzing schemes. When the Pats won here in Indy, all the talk was about how the magnificent Tom led the comeback to keep the streak alive. But unless I am missing something, at no time during this season, has ANY other team held the Patriot offense to fewer points than the Colts - 24! The Ravens gave up 27, the Eagles 31! No other team has able to keep them from scoring less than 34. The entire time the Colts were winning games in 2004 and 2005, all that you heard was that Defense wins championships and the Colts did not have one - they were right, and the Colts seasons ended abruptly. How the storylines have changed now that it is the Patriots, who admittedly have a better defense than the Colts had, but still is the weak link for that team. In five of their last seven games (excluding the Cowboys and the Colts), the Patriot defense has given up 28, 7, 10, 28 and 24 points, to the Dolphins, Redskins, Bills, Eagles and Ravens respectively - not exactly offensive juggernauts! In the week leading up to the game here at the Dome, I made comments to the effect that the way to beat New England keep the score close and the defense would tire at the end of the game - that obviously did NOT hold true during that game, but now this defense has played in 12 games and I believe it is definitely showing sign of wearing down. This is a pretty OLD defense and the body eventually gets tired and beat up - this is still the Achilles heal for this team as they move forward!

The last little thing I thought I would share with you is the records of teams the year AFTER winning the Super Bowl. What the Colts are doing is really pretty amazing!

YEAR

TEAM

NEXT YEAR

1999

Rams

10-6

2000

Ravens

10-6

2001

Patriots

9-7

2002

Buccaneers

7-9

2003

Patriots

14-2

2004

Patriots

10-6

2005

Steelers

8-8

2006

Colts

10-2 (work in progress)

Just a note: The year the Pats went 14-2, they did NOT have the best record in football (Steelers were 15-1) and went on the road and beat them to go to the Super Bowl.         

 As disgusted as I get about the way the bigger market teams get overexposed in the media, I must admit that I am thrilled that the circus is not in INDY this year (as it wasn't last year either) so this team can remain focused on the task at hand - getting healthy and making preparations for a trip to Baltimore! 

 

Bigger Response

12/3/2007 9:26 PM 

It was very much a Playoff atmosphere in the RCA Dome Sunday afternoon. The Jags were pumped up coming out for warm ups, acting like a College team with their jumping and chanting - the Pro game needs more of this! It was the same physical kind of game that we ALWAYS occur when these two teams get together.

 The Colts did, what the Colts seem to always do against the Jags, and jumped out to an early 14 point lead, and the Jags had to be feeling like "here we go again".  But this Jag team was different. It didn't abort the run like it has tended to do in the past, and they appear to have a quarterback who is capable of performing under a little pressure, and not make the mistakes that put in a deeper hole. I was impressed, a little, by what I saw.

 With that said though, I did not feel like the final score really reflected the way the game played out on the field. At no time did it seem like the Colts were really at risk of losing control of the game. The Colts defense did not have the same kind of game they have of late - maybe there worst performance of the year - and yet it was probably better than 75% of the games a year ago (regular season of course). They have raised the bar this year, and I am sure, to a man, they would admit this was not one of their better games. So, with the Defense struggling just a bit, the Offense stepped up and did what was needed to get the job done! It was a great game by Peyton, Dallas, Ben, Gonzo and Reggie. Joseph ran hard and I cannot forget to mention Luke. It was a great TEAM win, with a lot on the line!

A hard fought game by both teams, and then, just when I was starting to give the Jags just as I was thinking the Jags had maybe turned the corner, they rose up and reminded me why they never have, and maybe never will WIN anything! A key personal foul AFTER THE PLAY that gave them a first and goal on the seven yard line. So back it up and on the very next play, a procedure call taking them back another five yards. A few plays later they give up a huge sack and ended up settling for a 47 yard field goal. Then late in the game, after pulling to within three points, they decided to NOT go for an onside kick (2:37 left on the clock) and put the game in the hands of their defense. THANKS!

SO, they play a very good game, in an extremely tough environment, and come up just a little short. Do you think they can be gracious in defeat? NOT THIS TEAM. Accusations of Polian paying off the referees, and others about the Defense using illegal tactics to try and get the Jags offense to jump early! I just don't understand! They had absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of about the way they played, and then had to open their mouths and ruin it all. This team and this coach will never get any respect from me again.

Bottom line, the Jags still get to play the ugly step-sister role in the AFC South (key word being UGLY). So Indianapolis finishes ACT III of the season with a 12-2 record and in total control of their own destiny from here on out. Another win will secure the first Playoff game will be played in the RCA Dome. If they maintain their current one game advantage over the Steelers, a bye week will await them before hosting a game in week two of the playoffs.

Everything is set up just as you would hope. They have done so under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Next up - a trip to Baltimore!

 

JAGS vs COLTS 
Pregame Thoughts!

11/30/2007 

Kickoff just a few days away and the hype has been a little quieter than normal leading up to a Colts vs Jags contest - maybe the Jag players have finally figured out just how difficult it is to try and get the feet out of their mouths, after failing to back up all the trash talking prior to previous games. YES, they have won a few, but never when there was anything on the line - I don't expect that to change this week either!

The Jags cannot have worse timing. They come into this game without their best linebacker (Mike Peterson) and one of their best D-Linemen (Marcus Stroud) - both will be sorely missed. While playing very well on the road this year, they now get to do so in the LOUDEST stadium in the NFL. I was listening to a report on the NFL network on Friday evening with one of the Jag defensive players and he said they practiced all day today with the speakers turned up to simulate the crowd noise - THEY HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT AWAITS THEM ON SUNDAY!

The injury news is better for the Colts this week, than it has been for quite some time. Tyjuan Hagler, Tony Ugoh and Charlie Johnson all look ready to go. Ryan Diem, Tim Jennings and Marvin Harrison remain the biggest question marks, while Freddie Keiaho and Gary Brackett have been slowed by an illness, but ARE expected to be ready to go by Sunday!

Three days of rest and a NORMAL week to prepare, should have the Colts primed to put together one of their better performance in recent weeks. Peyton will put up nice numbers with Reggie, Dallas, Gonzo and Utecht all getting into the action, but look for Joseph to have a big day RECIEVING, as the Jags will be looking to slow down the running game of the Colts.

The Colt DEFENSE will once again limit the effectiveness of the Jaguar running game, forcing Garrard to put the ball in the air. He is the only quarterback this year to NOT have thrown an interception - Colts get TWO on Sunday! The speed of this defense just makes it too difficult for the Jags to get into any rhythm and as a result, will once again struggle to score enough points to keep this one very close. Don't get me wrong, I think this game will be just as physical as what we have come to expect when the Colts play Jacksonville, but the Colts use this game to make a statement to the rest of the NFL - It is December now and games begin to take on real meaning.

IF YOU WANT TO BE THE CHAMP, YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO BEAT THE CHAMP! 

Until that happens, the term World Champions still only applies to one team - the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS!  Take your perfect records, big victories over bad teams, and anything else you got, and shove them where the sun don't shine!

 We got what you want - COME AND GET IT!

COLTS 27, JAGS 14

As the great BuckyRex once said;  Here kitty, kitty, kitty!

Lowdown on the Showdown!

11/26/2007 

Games do not get much bigger than they do this week when the Jacksonville Jaguars come calling. At stake - the AFC South Championship, for all practical purposes. A win by the Colts would give them a 3 game lead (with tie-breaker) with only four games left to play. If they should stumble and loose this game, the division would still be up for grabs over the last four games, Jacksonville still has games at home with the Panthers and Raiders, but have to go on the road to play Pittsburgh and Houston. The Colts will travel to play Baltimore and Oakland, before coming home to close out the season with Houston and Tennessee.

At the beginning of each year, Coach Dungy stresses that the number one goal for this team is to win the AFC South Title. They have responded very well as they are aiming for their FIFTH consecutive title this year. In fact, the only time they have NOT won the AFC South Title was the first year of realignment, when they finished second to the Titans.

Jacksonville has been the bridesmaid the last three years, and believes THIS is the year they get over the hump. They are playing their best ball of the year, winning four of the last five since the Colts beat them on Monday Night Football on their home turf! They have been road warriors while winning games AT Denver, AT Kansas City, AT Tampa Bay and AT Tennessee - the only road loss was at New Orleans. They have improved their scoring average since that defeat against the Colts by nearly a touchdown. In their first six games of the season, they only put up an average of 17.8 points per game. Since the INDY loss, that number has climbed to 27.2 points per game.

If you look at the statistical comparisons between the two teams, on paper it looks to be pretty one-sided. 

OFFENSIVELY, The Colts are ranked 4th Overall - 9th in rushing (124 yds/gm), 9th in passing (248 yds/gm) and 4th in Scoring (28 points/gm). The Jags stand at 16th Overall - 3rd in rushing (139 yds/gm), 23 in passing (193 yds/gm) and 13 in Scoring (22 points/gm).

DEFENSIVELY, the Colts are 2nd Overall - 16th against the Rush (103 yds/gm), 2nd against the Pass (162 yds/gm) and 3rd in Scoring allowed (16 points/gm. Jacksonville answers with a 23rd Overall ranking on Defense - 12th against the rush (100 yds/gm), 28th against the Pass (247 yds/gm) and 7th in Scoring (18 points/gm).

The JAGs come in on a role and with a lot of confidence in the way they are playing. They are very good at taking care of the football, only coughing the ball up EIGHT times all season (3 fumbles and 5 interceptions) - I should point out that three of those eight came against the Colts!

The Colts have been relying on their DEFENSE to keep them in games (sounds good just typing it!) and they have answered all season long. Now it would appear that the offense may be regaining a little health, and looked like they got a little of their offensive swagger back over the last three quarters of the Falcon game.

I suspect there will be a lot of "chalkboard" material that comes out as the week progresses - this is what the Jags do better than ANYONE else. They will tell us how they are DIFFERENT now and are ready to compete with the Big Boys. The Colt players will sit back and agree with most of what the Jags have to say - in the press anyway! The Jags will win the game in the press, but the Colts will win the one that matters - SUNDAY, in the RCA DOME!

GO HORSE!

 

Falcon Meat DOES Taste SWEET!

 by Chaz1ley

11/23/2007 

Another Colts victory was the terrific ending to a wonderful day of fellowship with family and friends!

Following a little bit of a slow start both offensively AND defensively, we were finally treated to a view of what we have come to expect of Colts football, and it was a very good sight to see. It wasn't perfect - there are still things that need to improve (and rather quickly) to be able to get to where we all want this team to be going into December and January - but it was improvement over what it has been, and that is what you hope for.

The slow start has become pretty customary this year primarily on offense, but on defense too. Through eleven games, the Colts have actually been outscored in the first quarter 53-40.  In each of the other three quarters they decisively own that advantage:  101 - 46 (Q2),  87 - 31 (Q3) and 81 - 42 (Q4).  On Defense, the first quarter is also statistically the worst, as they are giving up an average of 5 points compared to 4, 3 and 4 in the others three (respectively).

Again last night, there were some players that LOOKED like they would be able to play and did not. As anxious as I am for their return, this did not disappoint me - if another week off allows these players to get back to 100% than I am all for it. They will be needed for the stretch run that includes three home games within the division.

Peyton looked much better last night putting up some big numbers that could have been even better - still a couple of dropped passes. His protection started out shaky, but got better as the game progressed. Dallas was back to old form and Utecht played a great game. A rookie though, stole the show!  Anthony Gonzalez introduced himself to the rest of the NFL last night, putting together his best performance (by far) against one of the best cover guys in the business i(Dante Hall). He ran GREAT routes, made terrific runs after the catch, and gained invaluable confidence with both himself, and Peyton Manning!

Atlanta played very well for a team that owns a 3-8 record - they came out inspired ready to try and knock off the World Champs (as every team has tried to do)!  The Colts weathered the storm and got back to playing Colts football!

 Falcon ended up being very enjoyable to the palette. Now it is time to turn take our culinary  thoughts back to that of a very familiar, and recently favorite, type.

As the great BuckyRex once said;  Here kitty, kitty, kitty!

11/21/2007

Thanksgiving Falcon!

Just three more days until that yearly tradition is here, where families and friends everywhere will be gathering together to enjoy great food, wonderful stories and most of all - NFL FOOTBALL!  This year's main event will be broadcast on the NFL Network (Channel 13 locally) and will include our beloved Indianapolis Colts.

 But while most of the country will be spending the day feasting on Turkey, the Colts will have to settle for bird of another kind - FALCON!   Not exactly sure how one goes about preparing FALCON, but it could be just what this team needs to continue trying to get back some of the continuity it has been lacking in recent weeks.

It would appear at this time that Tony Ugoh may be back in the lineup, as well as Anthony Gonzalez  and Tyjuan Hagler. The defense has quietly gotten back to something close to full health - Tim Jennings, Dante Hughes and Matt Giordano may be the only ones still out. On Offense, Aaron Moorehead was placed on IR today ending his season and Ryan Diem is still ailing from the ankle injury he suffered in San Diego (but may still see action on Thursday). There is still no change in Marvin's status, and I would be surprised if anything changes prior to the game with Jacksonville. Why rush him back at this stage, when there will be another ten days for further rehab following Thursdays game.

Atlanta is a team without an identity - Following the Michael Vick situation , they have not shown the ability to establish much of a passing game, or done a much better job running the ball. Joey Harrington has not been able to take advantage of yet another opportunity to show that he is a legitimate NFL quarterback, and Byron Leftwhich has likewise not been able to show that he can stay healthy! The team is struggling big time and now have to prepare for the Colts who are looking for that breakout game to get them going again.

The worst part of the schedule comes to an end with Thursday's game. On paper, it looks like a NO CONTEST, but the Colts have to be prepared to play better than they have shown of late -I believe they will!

GO HORSE!

Colts vs Falcons Pregame Thoughts!

We are less than 24 hours away from kickoff, and another Colts victory!

It is now known that Marvin will not be in uniform (no real surprise) but it looks a little more promising for some others. No matter who does and doesn't play though, will NOT have an impact on this game. While the Colts have their issues, the outlook in Atlanta is not much better. They announced yesterday that their two starting Defensive Tackles (Rod Coleman and Trey Lewis) have been lost for the season. Byron Leftwich is listed as doubtful so Joey Harrington will get the start. Their starting tight end (Alge Crumpler) is hobbled, as is one of their premier receivers Joe Horn.

I suspect the passing game for the Colts will look a little crisper than it has - having Reggie, Dallas and Gonzo (looks like it anyway) in the lineup should give Peyton a few more targets he is a little more comfortable with. I am hopeful Ugoh will see some action also, which should give a little boost to the O-line!  Look for Joseph to have a HUGE day running the ball, which will open things up for the receivers as he does.

The Colt defense will once again be called upon to put the offense in position to make more plays. They will answer the call, as they have all year, and will keep the Falcons out of the endzone!

This is the week that things start coming back together for this team!  A game that at the beginning of the season looked like it would have MAJOR playoff ramifications, no longer offers the same appeal, and the Colts will take advantage of it.

Colts win this one 34 - 6.

GO HORSE! 

 

Colts Win, Fans Don't!

Sunday's game was not quite what I expected it would be, but the primary goal each week is to come away with a victory, so let's take it and begin preparations for the next opponent.

While several players were back this week, one still has to believe that several of them are nowhere near where they need to be physically, for the Colts to get back some of the continuity they have been lacking the last few weeks. It is obvious where the current concerns are, so I won't get into much detail about that.

I felt the kickoff/punt coverage teams were much better today, even creating a turnover at one point. The return game wasn't anything spectacular, but didn't do anything to hurt the team either. Hunter Smith did not get the distance out of some of his kicks today, but it truly looked liked he was attempting to punt everything out-of-bounds from where I was sitting.

The defense was once again outstanding. They were facing an offense with a new quarterback and a backup running back, but never really gave them any opportunity to get on track. The one touchdown they gave up was simply a very well thrown ball, and an ALMOST good catch - he did not possess control of the football as he was going out of bounds. Freddy Keiaho returned and led the team in tackled (as reported on the post game show). The pass rush was not tremendous, but still produced two sacks and several other QB pressures.

But there is no rest for this team. They have to turn around and play again on just four days rest, with another road game on Thanksgiving evening against a struggling Falcon team. Two of the other divisional teams both won, with the third having an opportunity to do so on Monday, so no ground was gained in that respect. Pittsburgh did lay an egg on the road against the Jets, so that puts the Colts back into the second seed as far as the AFC is concerned.

In closing, I cannot make myself let go of what I feel was a terrible disservice today with regards to Adam Vinatieri. I am a firm believer that everyone has a right to do and say what they like, even if that includes BOOing - they pay for their ticket just as I do! With that said, no one can ever make me understand WHY you would want to do this to a member of a team that is already struggling, and in dire need of our support NOW, more than ever. These players make a lot of money to do what they are asked to do, but they are also human, and have the same emotions that you and I have. Most of them have families and lives outside of football and we have no idea what things may be going on in THAT part of their lives, that may be influencing what is  happening on the football field. I have to ask myself how many of those that were BOOing Adam in the Dome, suddenly became sympathetic when they heard reports that Adam might have an injury with his plant foot (whether there is any truth to it or not)? Doesn't someone of his stature deserve the benefit of doubt that something IS wrong, whether it be physical or psychological? Do any of us perform to our utmost ability each and every day that we go to work? Do outside influences impact our performance on our jobs?

I am not here to preach! People can do what they like and do not have to explain to me why they do what they do. But today, the Colt community received a black eye for the actions of those that felt the need to shower Adam with the BOO BIRDS. In the section of the Dome where I sit (and I am sure it occurred in OTHER sections throughout the Dome) we had a fairly large contingent of people that stood and applauded Adam as he trotted onto the field, each and every time. This is how you show support for your team - it is EASY to be gracious when things are going well, but it is even BIGGER to be able to do it they are not. This team and these players deserve better than what WE gave them today.

While most were not pleased with the performance of our team on the football field today, I wonder how the team on the field felt about our performance as fans - it works both ways!

 

Comming off  The Chargers game . . .

What a rollercoaster ride that was last night, and while there is probably a general feeling of disgust this morning, I must say I was as proud last night of what this team was able to do, as I have been at any time in the last several years!

When this game is discussed, everyone will want to talk about Peyton Manning throwing six interceptions. Others will mention how bad a game that Adam Vinitieri had, and possibly the subject of the Special Teams will come up with the few that are left. It was not one of the teams' best performances by far!

There were also other influences in the game that contributed to the flow of the game. What about an extremely obvious holding call on the Kickoff that was ran back for a TD! Or the inadvertent whistle on the interception in the end zone, when the referee right on top of the play made a very obvious call that it WAS an interception! Don't like those, then was that NOT pass interference on the pass to Aaron Moorhead late in the game at about the ten yard line, that went uncalled? And the decision in the booth to review the placement of the ball following the first down when the Chargers were out of time outs, and the clock was inside of two minutes. But all of these things are part of the game, and you cannot allow yourself to be in a position where outside sources can affect the outcome.

Last, but not least, the injury bug continues to keep this team from putting all of the players on the field that we have envisioned since the season began. The game begins without Harrison, Clark, Gonzalas, Ugoh, Keiaho and Hagler. Then Charlie Johnson goes out early, followed by Ryan Diem, Dwight Freeney and Keyunte Dawson - all leaving the game with injuries. The Colts began the game with only seventeen offensive players available - eleven being the starters.

Everything mentioned above happened, and all had an impact on the game. ALL OF IT! And with that being said, this team and these coaches, found a way to compete, never giving up, and fought to the wire giving themselves an opportunity to win a game that they probably had no right to win! As a fan, that is all you can ask for.

With all the offensive weapons missing, the Chargers directed their entire game plan against stopping the run, and making the no name receivers try to beat them. Yes, there were mistakes - bad routes, bad passes, a few drops. But these guys kept fighting. Reggie Wayne - 10 catches for 140 yds. Bryan Fletcher - 8 for 55 yds, Crophonso Thorpe - 5 for 41 yds, Aaron Moorehead - 4 for 39 yds! That is what separates this team from ALL others.

What more can be said about this defense! They go on the road, up against one of the most prolific offensive teams in football, and hold them to 177 TOTAL net yards - 91 yds on the ground and 86 yards through the air.

BE PROUD of this team and what it was able to do last night.  No one on that field gave up last night and we, as fans, would be wrong to respond any differently! These are the kind of things that build character, and this team is overflowing with it!  Can you imagine how difficult this team is going to be to play once they return to health? Remember only GAMES are won (or lost) in November - CHAMPIONSHIPS aren't won until January/February!

I AM PROUD TODAY TO CALL MYSELF A COLTS FAN!

Copyright © 2004 Jon's

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Copyright © 2004 - 2005  Jon's

 
Images, Inc. All rights reserved

This website is an unofficial source of news and information continually updated from thousands of sources around the net. A fan based site dedicated to the Indianapolis Colts and its fans and is not associated with the Indianapolis Colts, the National Football League, any school, team or league or any other media site.

This website is the composition of many hours of research. Information contained within this site has come from numerous sources such as websites, newspapers, books, and magazines. Please take the time to visit the Source page to get a semi-complete listing of these sources, articles, sites and fans.

Pictures and logos, team names are property of the National Football League and/or The Indianapolis Colts.
This site is maintained for research purposes only.
Contact us
Please direct website  comments
or questions to webmaster

Click here to  contact us