The Colts week 5 game was supposed to be about their Head Coach. It was supposed to be about the emotions of the sad, unexpected, depressing situation. It was supposed to be about the Green Bay Packers showing the world they're still the best team in the NFL.
Instead, as the Colts (2-2) fought back from a 21-3 halftime deficit to win 30-27, we found that today was all about them.
It was about this group of young players learning to control their emotions, not be controlled by them. It was about these players learning to overcome officiating that seemed desperate to help the Packers win. It was about coming together as a team, learning that when they play together, within the system, to the best of their abilities, they can play with any team in the league, including the mighty Green Bay Packers.
It was about QB Andrew Luck, overcoming poor OL play and some early poor decisions to lead this team with a strong performance in the second half. Luck continued to show a poise and pocket awareness well beyond his years as he navigated a fierce Green Bay pass rush. And while he continues to remain somewhat inconsistent on deep throws - a total reasonable characteristic for a rookie - he once again made several throws with the kind of zip that shows he can make any NFL throw required of him.
The game was also about Donald Brown, who continued to prove doubters wrong, as he consistently turned negative plays into positives. He once again failed to hit 100 yards (and he may fail to hit that mark all season), but his 4.9 YPC average, given the patchwork offensive line in front of him, is amazing. If Brown stays with the Colts past this year, and the Colts can upgrade their OL, Brown will continue to show people that he is a special player.
The game was about Reggie Wayne, this group's wily vet, showing that not only does he still have some gas in the tank, but that he may still be one of the top-5 best receivers in all of football. Wayne seems to work himself open on a vast majority of plays, and when he doesn't, he decides to make jaw-dropping, highlight reel catches instead. You could question some of the Colts off-season decisions, but after what may be the greatest performance by an Indianapolis Colts WR, you're reminded that the decision to re-sign Wayne was brilliant.
And this was a game about the defense. Much maligned after coming up short against the Jaguars and facing the prospect of dealing with Aaron Rodgers and friends down their #2 and #3 CBs, the Colts defense, after helping the team fall behind 21-3, put up a dominating second half performance. They played with a speed, toughness, and physical edge that we had not yet seen from them this season. They disguised their coverages, they brought multiple pressure looks from their front-7, and they attacked Aaron Rodgers relentlessly.
It was also about DE/OLB Dwight Freeney. The forgotten man on the Colts roster this season, Freeney returned to the lineup after missing 2 games with an ankle injury suffered in the Colts regular season opener. Despite questions surrounding his desire to perform in the 3-4, Freeney showed that he can still be the straw that stirs the defense's drink, as his presence helped alter the way the Packers offense operated. If Freeney can continue to perform as he did against the Packers, and if Mathis can overcome an apparent knee injury, the Colts defense may be able to turn a corner and surprise a few teams by the end of the year.
Finally, this game was about Chuck Pagano's monster. Yes, the coach is laying in a hospital bed fighting for his life, but one has to imagine that today, despite the sadness and pain he must be feeling, a pretty large smile crept across his face at 4:43pm ET, as Mason Crosby's field goal sailed wide left. This is his team, and today was the first major step taken on their journey to being competitive.
In the second half his team played like The Monster: they attacked the Packers on offense and defense with speed, determination, effort, and, most importantly, belief. And now that his Monster has slayed the Packers, it's time for Pagano to fight Leukemia with that same speed, determination, effort, and belief.
Quick Thoughts, The Beautiful:
- What an amazing win. Everyone, you're beautiful. ALL OF YOU! Everyone gets an A! Participation ribbons for everyone! Enjoy your Tuesday off, boys, you earned it. The only thing I ask: go out and perform against the Jets, and every subsequent opponent, with the level of effort you put forth in today's second half for an entire game. If you do that, you'll stand toe-to-toe with everyone.
Quick Thoughts, The Bad:
- Yea, right.
Quick Thoughts, The Ugly:
- The Colts won, so I don't want to be too hard on anyone, but... the refs were downright atrocious today, especially in the first half. That the Colts were able to overcome them speaks volumes for how mentally tough this team is (a trait they likely copy from Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, and, yes, Andrew Luck), but it should not excuse the pitiful performance by the officiating crew. Had today's effort been put forth by a replacement crew, the outcry would have been deafening. That's wrong. Continue to hold these refs to the same exacting standards you tried to hold the replacements to on EVERY PLAY. Better yet, hold these refs to an even higher standard.
It's games like this that will make Reggie Wayne's legacy that much greater. He's the guy that stayed, and is working his butt off to be great for Andrew Luck. If we had a team with 53 players with Wayne's work ethic, well... that would be an impossible fantasy, but the Colts would go 16-0.
Good to see that the switch to the 3-4 wasn't a total waste. Great pressure against admittedly a bad o-line. The team is now entering a stretch of a lot of winnable games. This team has a shot at the 6th seed. Now, they'll probably get blowed out by the 3 seed, but the state of the AFC is where 9-7 could just take that spot.
Good call on the officiating. Of Wayne's great plays of the day, I don't know which was more amazing: the one-handed grab, the stretch for that last TD, or the way he got absolutely mugged in the end zone with no flag.
the future is bright, ladies and gentlemen. sure would be nice to be sitting 3-1 right now, instead of 2-2. but who knows, maybe without that JAX loss, this win doesn't happen. But I'm certainly not going to complain after today. Next five games are all winnable too: @NYJ, CLE, @TEN, MIA, @JAX. I'd love to see 3-4 wins out of those five, but that would be icing on the cake -- right now, I just want to keep seeing improvement from week to week. Keep building that monster.
I turned 25 today. Best birthday present ever (besides if this had been the Super Bowl instead, but didn't it kinda feel like it was?). That last drive by Luck and Wayne...I don't have words for how amazing it was. It's one of those defining drives in a QB's career....and by a QB that's only been in 3 NFL games. And in fact is already the 2nd last minute game-winning drive (should be the 3rd) by Luck. What a start for our franchise player.
Did anyone else notice Cory Redding giving a speech to the offensive line (yes, I meant to say offensive line) during the second quarter? He was riling those big dudes up with a very intense pep talk. I was able to make out something like "You do NOT get TIRED!" but couldn't quite tell what other things he was going on about. I really liked seeing his leadership today, (along with almost everything about the 2nd half).
Awesome game! Haven't felt that good about a football game since...well, Week 16 last year. Everyone put in such a good effort today and it was really good to see Dwight playing and getting a sack in his first game back. I am now certain that Luck will be special going forward. There's not much to say about how Reggie played that could do him justice.
Also, I feel that Cory Redding deserves mention. His two sacks were big but his vocal leadership is much needed for this team going forward. Very pleased with his addition.
2-1 against the NFC North. Who saw that coming?
I don't have much analytical input to add. I'm just really happy about this win. That was some good stuff today.
Don't forget that this regime had their attention focused on re-signing Garcon before Wayne got the call... I suspect they would have let Wayne walk had they been able to get Pierre back on board. Thank goodness Pierre decided to chase the $$.
@LovinBlue And the scary thing is, before the season began, many of us - myself most certainly included - would've said that letting him walk is the right thing to do.
Man, talk about being *wrong*.
Dammit... I wish I could've been able to watch the whole game. Sounds like the Colts fixed their first half problems.
It was like Knute Rockne movie, win one for the gipper, in this case the gipper is the coach. This was an unbelieveable victory, truly emotional under the circumstances. Reggie was unconscious out there on that field, like a possesed man. Lets not forget the performance of Luck, a lot of poise in pressure situations at the end of games, I think he can play a little bit! The colts made the right draft choice!
I remember a 200 + yd playoff performance by Reggie a few yrs ago (224 in '04 I think), but that was almost easy with Peyton and Marvin in a blowout win. This one was far more impressive to me. Great game. Excellent recap, too.
@CA_Radio well said brother. How good does signing look Reggie instead of giving garçon a huge contract look?