Hey everyone, I'll be checking in at the end of every quarter. I am reading and keeping up on all the comments as well.
Here are your inactives:
The Colts: K Adam Vinatieri, WR Sam Giguere, TE Colin Cloherty, DT John Gill, OT Michael Toudouze, G Mike Pollak, DE Erwin Baldwin, DT Fili Moala.
The Saints: Southlake Carroll's own Chase Daniel is the third QB, RB Lynell Hamilton, LB Anthony Waters, G Jamar Nesbit, TE Darnell Dinkins, TE Tory Humphrey, WR Adrian Arrington, DE Paul Spicer.
The Colts dominate the first quarter of play, forcing two punts on defense. The line, including Freeney is pushing the pocket back in Brees's face, making it hard for him to complete passes. The Colts convert an opening drive into a field goal, and then go 96 yards for a touchdown, capped off by a sweet TD pass to Frenchy on third down. Indy is running the ball at will up the middle on the Saints. This is the key drive for the Colts. A stop for the defense, and the blowout could be on. 10-0 Colts. So far, so good.
The second quarter was a grind it out session. Dwight Freeney came up with a brilliant sack to hold the Saints to a field goal. The Colts offense had a chance to put the game away, but Garcon dropped a critical third down pass. It looked like he had room to run, and the ball would have been out near midfield. Instead, the Saints drove down to the goal line, but failed on third and fourth down runs. Brilliant coaching by Sean Payton left the Colts on the goal line with two minutes to play. The Colts played too conservative, running a terrible play on third and one. The Saints got the ball back and drove in position for the long field goal. The game is 10-6, and the Colts are still in control, with the game being played to their liking. The Saints have yet to really stop the Colts, so there's every reason to hope for a score to open the second half. Brees is feeling some heat, and the Colts defense looks fast. Ultimately, if the Colts lose this game, they'll have to point to the dropped pass on third down as the real turning point, as well as the over conservative play calling to end the half. A 'drive' where Peyton Manning doesn't throw is not a drive at all.
The third quarter was back and forth. Great coaching by Sean Payton led to an onside kick. With Freeney on the bench, the Saints easily marched for a touchdown to take their first lead. Manning responded with a brilliant drive capped by a Joe Addai touchdown. The Saints answered with another long field goal, to cut the lead to 17-16. The Colts need to keep putting up points to match the Saints. This game feels like it will come down to a key fourth down call.
So here it is. 15 minutes to play. 1 point lead. Colts ball. Hold on to your hats.
Caldwell coaches the Colts into a corner with an unforgivable decision to kick a long field goal. The defense gives up points on the final four Saints possessions.
Down 7 with 3 to play, Manning throws a pick six, and that's the game.