It was a cool night in Indianapolis (which is why Peyton lost because he can't play outside and choker and stuff) when the Denver Broncos came to town.
Two of the AFC's most impressive teams came into the Lucas Oil Stadium, and both emerged, beaten and exhausted.
But only one emerged with a win.
Someway, somehow, the Colts managed to upset the red-hot Broncos just six days after laying an egg on Monday Night Football against the Chargers.
Football is weird like that. So, let's embrace the weirdness! Here's how the Colts beat the Denver Peytons, in all the GIF glory!
The story of the first half was one of runs. Denver scored two quick touchdowns, the Colts scored 23 straight.
The Colts were able to move the ball, but couldn't get into the end zone early in the game. One reason why they couldn't get into the end zone?
Play design. I mean, what in the good name of Walter White is going on here? Reggie Wayne's route on third and goal is to literally just stand around?
But, it wouldn't take long for the floodgates to open.
It all started with the safety, brought to you by the league's sack leader and the oldest player to ever have 11.5 sacks through the first seven weeks of the season, Robert Mathis.
Everyone talked about how Mathis simply couldn't wait to hit Manning in this game.
Even Peyton had to smile a bit.
After the safety, the Colts' offense got rolling, thanks to the efforts of the 2013 Colts MVP: Stanley Havili.
Look at that perfect strip.
It's almost as if Havili was born to play defense. Maybe he should switch positions.
BONUS HAVILI HATE
Me: Stanley Havili seems to stand around a lot. @GregCowanCA: Which is what he should be doing 99% of the time. Except on the sideline.— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) October 23, 2013
All fun aside, Havili had two huge plays this week. Good work.
After the fumble, we saw one of the most unique play calls I've seen. When Pep Hamilton is on, man is he on.
This play would set up a player later as well.
Watch how Champ Bailey (#24) reacts to both plays. He bites hard on the fake end-around first one, and it's a big reason why Heyward-Bey is able to score.
On the second play, Bailey doesn't react at all to DHB's movement inside. Now, Bailey has different responsibilities on each play, but nevertheless, the fact that Bailey doesn't move at all is interesting.
Now, the Colts were able to stall the Broncos in the second quarter with stellar play from the defense, namely Darius Butler and Vontae Davis.
Butler succeeded with physical play near the line of scrimmage and solid ball skills.
Vontae Davis, on the other hand, simply stayed with his man, generally Demaryius Thomas, on EVERY SINGLE PLAY.
Davis didn't play bump-and-run, but he was up in press man coverage for most of the game. When Manning did target Thomas, it usually ended up in an incompletion. Davis held Thomas to three catches for 15 yards on eight targets.
There are other plays I have GIFs for, for both Butler and Davis.
So what else can we talk about?
Oh, I don't know... how about STANLEY HAVILI scoring more fantasy points than 80% of my roster?
You like running backs catching passes for 20+ yards? Well here is Donald Brown.
Why? Because Donald Brown is the unofficial mascot of Colts Authority, obviously.
More fun things!
The Coby Fleener Helicopter! Or what I like to call, the Coby-Copter!
We'll finish up with this Andrew Luck run for a first down on 3rd and 11. It's a pretty classic Luck scramble... although I could do without the hits at the end.
One more time!
I'd rather see Brown split wide than Havili. Dude is playing awesome football this year. The DHB end around was great. He's so big and fast. Maybe tough catches just aren't his thing yet. At least Pep appears to be putting him in plays that emphasize his strengths.
Great article, watching these Gifs got me all excited again. The only thing I didn't like was the last gif, seeing Reggie healthy in the middle of the screen. Reminded me of how much we are going to miss him for the rest of the season.
In that first gif it is clear that the receivers were expecting another run into end zone by Luck. Wayne was positioning himself to block for Luck, he wasn't just standing around. For whatever reason Luck hesitated and kept trying to find a receiver to pass.
"When Pep Hamilton is on, man is he on." This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about Pep.
He is obviously good at drawing up plays designed to trick the defense, but then he goes as runs Trich out heavy sets that telegraph run.
What the heck?! I'm starting to think we have bi-polar OC.
I know most of my fellow Colts fans will disagree with me... but I felt robbed after this game.
Robbed not by anything that happened for the first 56 and half minutes of the game. But robbed by the Hillman fumble. (This is not to complain about the breaks, disputed calls and just random plays of your average football game.)
Just that it felt like this is what it should have come down to. Three and a half minutes to go... Colts ball leading 39-37. Can they run the ball when they have to? Could Luck continue to make plays and keep the chains moving and running clock. Would the Colts go conservative?
But really, wouldn't it have been perfect if the Broncos got the ball back? Colts fans in full voice. Mathis and Bethea and company clawing at the turf. Peyton frantically signaling to his teammates, trying to pull off another miraculous comeback. I may not have survived it, but that is what I wanted to see.
Wayne COULD HAVE done some blocking/screening on Luck's run above. As one of my son's coaches harps weekly, you can't help your runner if you are watching him. turn around and find somebody to hit.
Best part of that run for me was Luck's dismissive right hand flick on 97--not a stiff arm--to clear space as he turned the corner. Stiff arm would have taken too much time and forced him to shift his torso toward the man and away from his path of progress, plus he could have been grabbed by it. He needed 11 yards, not four, so he did what pass rushers to in hand-fighting: get your "defensive" hand up and sweep away the hand-attack while your body keeps moving on the same trajectory. Sweet.
On that TD pass to Havili, look who's got two defenders on him cutting across the middle of the field. I think that's what the offense is going to miss as much as anything; the way he opened stuff up for everyone else.
Peyton looking up at the Jumbotron and doing that half-smile was one of the best things of the night to me. Almost like he didn't know who'd hit him until he saw the replay, and then it clicked, "Oh yeah -- of course it was him. He finally got me."
@codrutc Wayne isn't setting up to block until after the play breaks down. He's just floating there. Why? I have no idea.
@codrutc I think you may very well be right
@DougEngland There is no question... I would not have survived that. But it would have been an amazing way to go out.
@DougEngland As usual, I'm with you on this. It felt like a game that was poised for the epic, down-to-the-last-second QB battle, but instead it was mainly decided by fumbles and key penalties by role players.
I guess that just underscores what Mathis said in his postgame interview about it being a team game.
If Nate is right, and this is a matchup we'll see again once or twice a year for the next few years, there's little doubt we'll eventually get the game that this one could have been.
@Bobman1 It was an absurdly good scramble. Without Luck's ability on third down the Colts would be just awful. Although, as Peyton says, it does beg the question, what is the team doing on the those other two downs.
@pierrezombie Wayne was downfield blocking on 3 TDs as I recall, Luck's run, Havili's, and maybe Fleener's. I made a point of showing my 8 year-old online because he is not a very accomplished blocker from the WR spot. See, you don't have to level the guy, just screen or keep him moving backward.... The fact that Wayne did it basketball-style for Luck was even cooler. Who blocks in the NFL with his butt?
@pierrezombie And 87 was also blocking downfield on DHB's big run as I just noticed.
@Bobman1 Absolutely. I almost added to my first comment: "That, and his amazing downfield blocking."