Big come from behind win for the Colts today. The Colts have won the AFC South and clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. If ever there was a year when the Colts could use a break it is this year. Although some will argue that the Colts have quite a few offensive kinks to hammer out before January 13th.
1.) The Colts will finish the regular season with a 7-1 record on the road. The 4-4 record on the road last year left a bad taste in Dungy's mouth. They have re-established themselves as a mentally tough team, and this is a great sign for the playoffs. Perhaps I don't need to mention how close they were to a perfect road record.
2.) Very strange game on offense. The Colts didn't look like themselves. After having a touchdown reversed that would have given them a 17 point lead they looked out of sync. The offensive line did a poor job of pass blocking and run blocking. It didn't help that the Colts completely abandoned the run in the second half. Bizarre.
3.) It is never a bad idea to run the ball on the goal line. If it fails, try it again. Odds are you will bang it in eventually. The pass on fourth down was inane. The pass later in the game on third down wasn't any better.
4.) You're killing me, Dallas Clark. 1 catch for 9 yards is not going to get it done in January.
5.) Joseph Addai will be fine. He's the same player. When they need him to pick up yards in the fourth quarter he was clutch. This includes a huge 2 point conversion. He also chipped in with five catches.
6.) It never hurts when your opponent is willing to concede three drives by inserting a rookie at quarterback.
7.) This was not unlike the last game that featured a Colts punt return for a touchdown. The Colts also beat the Jaguars 21-14, in a contest that featured long bruising drives by the opposing team.
8.) Kick coverage is still horrible. Oakland's last ditch drive was set up with a nice return. The Raiders were an ankle tackle away from their own punt return for a touchdown.
9.) Great game winning drive. 11 plays, 91 yards. Brilliant one-handed effort by Reggie Wayne. The chemistry between Manning and Gonzalez is starting to gel. Great job of cutting his route short on the game-winner.
10.) The Colts won despite not getting a sack, interception, or fumble recovery from the defense. That's tough to do in the NFL. Still, I was proud of them for bringing it despite the injuries. Freddy Keiaho had a great game. The Colts' chances for a repeat rides on the play of this unit.
- I was continually frustrated by Manning checking away from the run so much. I realize that in a game of inches, this game was about two inches from being a blowout, so I'm not going to be too harsh. I still felt like the lack of a run game had more to do with choosing not to run than not being able to run. I think that was poor planning. In the fourth quarter, the Colts ran 7 times for 40 yards (not counting the last two plows into the line as they tried to kill the clock). I'm just not sure why the commitment wasn't there the rest of the game.
- Dallas Clark's hands are going to give me a heart attack.
- The line play was not strong, which worried me. It seemed like there was pressure up the middle and blitzes not getting picked up. I'd have to see the tape to know who was at fault.
- Clutch road wins over feisty clubs with fired up fans are tough anyway, and the Colts really handled the gut check of the Raiders taking the lead fairly well.
- The makeshift d-line was very solid. The Raiders had a lot of rushing yards, but the YPC wasn't great (3.8), so that's a win for those guys up front. Randy Cross mentioned before the game that the Colts D line included just one drafted player (rookie Dawson was picked in the 7th round). Not enough pressure, but they held their own against the run.
- AG is really starting to look comfortable.
- Demond complained the whole game that he was he heard that Rhodes was going to get touches, and at one point had changed Eyes to reflect that, but was tired, so he left my original comment. He was mad about it. As it turned out, it wasn't one of our better Eyes in terms of accuracy. I'm still shocked we didn't run the ball more.
- Big win for the Jhole Kitties. They managed to almost choke it away, but in the end, it came down to the fact that Pittsburgh really isn't that great a team David Garrard was seriously pimped out at his press conference. Now there is a serious chance the Jags will have to go back to Pittsburgh in three weeks. I'm not sure if I like their chances in a rematch if Palamalu plays.
- The entire AFC South is at .500 or better
- Once again, the Pats win, and a win is a win. Still, don't anyone feed me crap about Larry Marooney getting 100 yards. The Pats managed 3.7 YPC against one of the 5 worst run Ds in the league. Color me very unimpressed. Of course the Colts played the worst run D and didn't run it so, who knows? Oh, and didn't we say it would get a lot harder to throw the ball after the weather turned cold? Since November started Brady's been under 100 in passer rating in 4 of 6 games after going over 105 each one of the first 8 weeks. I guess he's really just a Sunshine Superman who beats up on weak competition when the weather is good. If you don't get the moronic reference, never mind. It's not worth your time.
- Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe called Tom Brady's season this year, "The greatest statistical season we've ever seen". Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't, but unless he gets 5 TDs on the Dolphins, there will be a serious argument about that. He also dropped below Manning's record passer rating for the season. He may still pass those numbers, but it is no gimme. Manning sat for basically 7 quarters in 2004. Brady has the same number of attempts through 14 games that Manning had through '16'. He's behind Manning in yards, TDs, and rating through the same number of attempts. Just pointing this out.
- Dallas is fading at the wrong time. If they aren't careful, they'll wind up at Lambeau in late January.