I should almost let the title speak for itself, but I'm not so bold, so I'll go ahead and write a review of last night's game.
There has been a lot of hand-wringing and whining about the Colts management in recent weeks, but based on last night's game, it's pretty clear the Colts need one big thing to be a winning team in 2011:
On a night when the Indy fans rallied hard behind their team, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis proved themselves to be the forces of nature we always thought they were.
For a second consecutive week, the Colts fought hard and played smash mouth defense, only to have their efforts wasted by abysmal performances by Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter.
This team is a quarterback away from 2-1 or 3-0. It's that simple.
There was so much to love about the Colts tonight. They played hard, physical defense. They ran the ball with authority. They only need anyone who could hit open players. They don't have that guy on the roster.
It's too bad. This team could be great. If only they had a quarterback.
Pre-tape thoughts after the jump:
- Don't read too much into Painter completing a few passes at the end. He's still terrible. 5/11 for 60 yards with a fumble is nothing to write home about. He missed a wide open Garcon for what would have been a sure touchdown. He's inaccurate and has no pocket presence. Basically, just like Kerry Collins. If anything we see how big a mistake it was not to bring Collins into camp a month earlier. With more prep, he could be passable. I think Painter is a disaster waiting to happen. It sounds like he'll play next Monday night, so get ready for more sack/fumbles.
- Freeney is a Hall of Fame player.
- Mathis is a beast and one of the greatest men to every wear Blue and White.
- If Pat Angerer had been Indy's 2010 first round pick and Jerry Hughes the 2nd, no one would be complaining about that draft right now. He was amazing. He's in the process of becoming a serious force.
- This was the worst called game I've ever seen. Indy couldn't pass and could run. Pitt couldn't run and could pass. So what did the teams do? Exactly what they sucked at. Insanity.
- Caldwell's punt from mid-field was beyond stupid, but entirely in keeping with what 90% of NFL coaches do. I don't think there's a coach to be had for Indy that wouldn't punt there. It's a league-wide problem, not a Caldwell specific one.
- Where are the Joe Addai haters? Stand up and be counted. No one? I thought not.
- Say what you will about the Colts coaches, they have not lost this team. They have played harder the last two weeks than I've seen in years. They came out and competed in the second half against Houston and have fought hard all season. They hit hard. Those who say Caldwell isn't a leader of men are ignorant. I won't argue this point any more. The man can coach. He is a leader. He is flawed in the way most coaches are, but he's good at things many are not.
- Reggie Wayne has lost a step. You can see it on the completions more than the incompletions. He would have broken a few plays big two years ago, but now he gets tripped up. It's sad, but he's not himself any more.
- Steelers fans left miserable. They all felt it. Their team isn't very good and they know it. That was gratifying. There were far fewer than I expected, and the Indy crowd shouted them down most of the game. All the gloom and doom about the Indy fans is totally misplaced. This city loves this team, and fought alongside them tonight. Very proud of the players and the crowd. Amazing night in many ways.
- Another messed up punt coverage? Really? Granted it was a terrible kick, but still. Somone should be unemployed at this point.
- Tough break for Castonzo getting whipped by an All-Pro with the game on the line. Sack was quick, but Painter was blissfully unaware and pounded the ball with his hand before getting destroyed.
- I've been overrating Roethlisberger for years. He's not that good. He was a mess tonight, and kept the Colts in it. Well, that and the Steelers fascination with getting 2 yards a carry. He's not accurate and he makes decisions way too slowly. First time I've ever seen him live, and I was NOT impressed.
- Drake Nevis was a beast. Great young player.
- Don't know what happened on the blown coverage for a TD, but Indy is a really good safety away from a top 10 or better D. This team hits hard. Violent collisions all night.
The Bottom Line: the sky has fallen for 2011. This season is toast. The team is not bereft of talent as some would have you believe. They'll need a WR and a S in 2012, but they should have great draft position to get the help they need. This team would be absolutely be a playoff team with Peyton Manning. They'd be seen as a major contender after a convincing win tonight. The front office is not out to lunch. They bet it all on Peyton year after year, and it always paid off. I don't blame them for that. This is still a 2-4 win team at best, but they are still much much better on D than I expected, and I think the O-line is improved as well.
The Colts will be back.
And tonight showed, that when they are, the city of Indianapolis will be waiting for them.