Welcome to week 15 of the NFL season. The Indianapolis Colts are looking to start the 2009 season with 14 consecutive victories. That would set the franchise record.
- Freeney and Mathis are active and in the starting lineup. PK is reading my mind about playing Freeney and Mathis primarily on third down.
- We don't usually discuss odds, but I found it interesting that the Colts are giving 3 points. They line opened at -6 which means the general public bet heavily on the Jags.
- FYI: My win streak beard is getting huge. If the Colts go 19-0 I'll be a dude with a HUGE beard and a new tattoo. Sweet.
- Anyone else notice how Jason Whitlock just mysteriously stopped writing his NFL Truths column for FoxSports.com? I guess you know a column is in trouble when its readers check back weekly to see how wrong it will be...
- Not sure why I am nervous about a meaningless game. That right there tells me it must mean something.
1.) MJD is deep to receive. The Jags will start at the 27. Jones for 5 yards. Bullitt, Hayden, Lacey are all out there. Brock stuffs Mojo for no gain on second down. GET THEM OFF THE FIELD!! Freeney is in. Offsides. Stupid penalty. Declined as the Jags had the yardage anyway on the quick toss to Sims-Walker. First down. Garrard to MJD for one. Hayden comes from the outside to tackle Mojo for a gain of four. BIG THIRD DOWN. Another conversion to Sims-Walker. Lacey had the coverage. MJD for 7. Jennings for 1. Keyunta Dawson injured on the play. Return is probable. Hmmm. Yet another third down: Sims-Walker again. Long drive by the Jags. Garrard to Miller for 6. MJD for 3. ANOTHER THIRD DOWN CONVERSION? Nope. Strip sack for FOSTER. Scobee hits from 50 after the Colts fail to recover the fumble. Jaguars lead 3 - 0.
2.) Simpson takes a knee in the endzone after mishandling the kickoff. Addai in the backfield. Stretch right for a couple. CJ is in. Diem as well. Manning to Addai for 4. Third down and 4 yards to gain: Garcon for three yards. BUT THEY GIVE HIM FORWARD PROGRESS. Addai is stuffed on the quick snap to avoid a challenge. Loss of 3. Clark for 5. Third down and 8 yards to gain: Manning buys time and hits Garcon for 11 and the first. Collie around end for 2 rushing yards. Addai for 4. Third down and 4 yards to gain: Manning holds and holds and Clark comes free across the middle for 20. Addai on the pitch right for 6. Clark for 11 and a first down. First and Ten from the Jags' eleven. Addai for 1. Hole closed quickly.
1.) Pressure and Manning hits Addai for 4. Third down and four yards to gain: TOUCHDOWN. Manning SQUEEZES one in to Clark. Great throw. Great catch. He put it the only place where it wouldn't be a pick. Ball bounced around on Clark's chest like he was Aaron Bailey laying on the ground in Pittsburgh. Colts lead 7 - 3.
2.) Squib kick. Poorly done by McAfee. Jags will start at the 39. Offsides on Brock. 1st and 5. MJD for 2. Incomplete for Holt. Hayden with tight coverage. THIRD DOWN: Blitz is picked up. Garrard to Thomas. First down. Garrard seemed to be setting up a screen -- forced to roll out and throw. Broken up by Session. MJD for 14. Poor angle by Bullitt. Jennings for 5. MJD for 6 and a first. Jags at the Colts 21. Can't have those poor kickoffs. MJD for 8. Garrard to Sims-Walker for 5. First and goal from the 8. MJD loses 1, Hayden on the play. Touchdown. Garrard scrambles and finds Drew who has beaten Session. Tough to defend a guy that long. Again, I go back to the poor kickoff. Jaguars lead 10-7.
3.) NO WAY. #35 HOUSES IT. WOW. WOW. WOW. YES -- THAT JUST HAPPENED. CHAD SIMPSON. (Sweet camera angle btw). Colts lead 14 - 10.
4.) As the announcers alluded to: Tonight's T.O.P. smacks of the Dolphins game in week two. We'll take it, though. Also, the high scoring game we've been predicting is coming true. Jags will start at the 29. Play action fake and Garrard hits MJD for 5. The pressure doesn't land and Garrard hits Lewis for 24. Jennings for 5. This doesn't look like the Indy defense, thus far. Freeney and Mathis have a lot to do with that. They aren't playing. Jennings for 3. Third and 2: MJD for 9. Hayden drops a pick in the endzone. Hit him in the hands. MJD for 10. Bullitt takes another questionable angle. Jennings for 9. GASHING THEM NOW. MJD picks up the first. Touchdown. Really no excuses for that drive. (Except that whole playing a Thursday night game after an extremely physical game on Sunday thing. Remind anyone of last year's game in Jacksonville?) Jaguars lead 17 - 14.
5.) Three timeouts. 2:52 on the clock. Colts start at the 32. Squib kicks suck. Addai for 15. WAYNE NEARLY SPLITS THE SEAM!! Picks up 22 yards on the crossing route -- down to the Jags 31. Bubble screen to Wayne for 8. Addai for 5 into the red zone. Collie loses 5. Under one minute to play. Using a ton of clock (which is smart). TOUCHDOWN. Manning steps up and hit Austin Collie down the seam on the skinny post. Double clutched it. 35 seconds to play. Colts lead 21 - 17.
6.) Poor coverage. Field looks iffy. Jags start at the 41 with :27 to play and three timeouts. Freeney and Mathis force Garrard out of bounds for 5. 19 seconds. Garrard to Lewis for 10. Timeout with 12 seconds to play in the half. Garrard to Jennings for 5. 39 yard line. 7 seconds. YOU KNOW THIS IS MONEY. Nope. Not a chance on the 56 yard attempt. Frankly I'm shocked he missed it. Bethea can't make anything out of the return.
This has been the type of game most of us were expecting. The Colts defense has look tired. Not blaming them, obviously. I agree with Polian that Thursday night games are border-line criminal by the NFL which claims to care about its players. The 53 man roster MUST BE EXPANDED. Scary to think of what the Indy D would look like if they had rested players. Although, in fairness, #98 and #93 have played sparingly. Marshall Faulk is correctly pointing out that MJD and #18 are going off. No surprise. Good to see Reggie getting active there at the end of the half.
1.) There's Chad Simpson! Colts start at their own 18. Not sure the field is in the best condition. Lots of poor kicking. Addai for 1. Addai for 2. Don't see two runs in a row much. That's why. Tamme for 8!! Holy crap -- what a throw! Addai far right for 3 yards. Hmm... the run blocking is streaky at best. Picked off. Terrible effort by Clark. Dude. Horrible. Horrible. That could be the game. Seriously. Seems like A BOATLOAD of tipped ball picks by Manning this year. Someone care to go back and count them all?
2.) Jags start at the Indy 40. MJD for 3. Wilford drops it on second down. BIG THIRD DOWN. MJD for 6. BIG FOURTH DOWN. Converted by Garrard. MJD for no gain. Garrard hits Lewis for 14. MJD loses one to the Indy 16 yard line. Foster with pressure and Garrard puts it over everything incomplete. Will the Colts streak of not allowing a TD after a turnover end? Yes. There will be some angry and embarrassed defenders on the flight home. Jaguars lead 24 - 21.
3.) Dallas Clark's critical error has swung the game in Jacksonville's favor. Disappointing to say the least. Colts start at the 20. Hart for 3 on the pitch left. Footing may be an issue? Manning tipped incomplete. Insane throw to Wayne. Just wow. Dude makes a grown man cry. Another stab by Reggie! NBA Jam voice: He's heating up! Addai for 5 on first down. Collie for 7 and the conversion. Inside the 30. TOUCDOWN! Clark atones by staying on his feet down the seam. Manning is re-living last year's performance (which I thought was his finest ever perhaps). Colts lead 28 - 24.
4.) Kick coverage has been poor tonight. They look like the '02 to '08 coverage units. Jaguars start at the Indy 46. MJD for 2. Garrard to Holt for 7. Two plays to pick up 1 yard. MJD gets it. No signs of stopping Jacksonville tonight. Blitz by Session, Bullit and Bracket. Nope -- gain of 17 to Holt, into the red zone. MJD for no gain. MJD takes it inside the 10 from Garrard. Last team with the ball wins? Probably. False start. 1st and goal from the 13. Brock nearly gets to Garrard. Incomplete. Didn't buy the run fake. At all. LACEY NEARLY. BIG THIRD DOWN COMING: Touchdown. Can't land the blitz (yet again). Jaguars lead 31 - 28.
5.) Rushing takes it out to the 22. Addai for 2. Hits Robinson for 5 yards.
1.) DZ asks: remember when this was every Colts game? Big third down and 3 yards to gain. Incomplete. Punt. Holding. I'm arguing with my wife for no reason which means it is a good time to give the game blog a rest. Be back later. Maybe. (If I don't come back: this one is on Dallas Clark and the D).
Summary: Reggie and Manning decide the game with a terrific play. Lacey does his part with an athletic-looking pick to seal it. DZ notes that the Colts shut the Jags out in the 4Q. Really a pretty gutty performance by a host of guys. Tim Jennings nearly made the play of his career on a key stop. Couldn't have been easy. He also notes the TERRIBLE false start by Foster on the final Indy possession. That's an unforgivable penalty if this is the playoffs. DZ points out that the Colts picked up 11 yards on that sequence, but needed 15 because of the flag.
Umm... Manning is the MVP. No doubt in my mind. Only the gaffe by #44 marred his stellar performance. Nothing like setting the NFL record for most come from behind wins in the 4Q in a season.