Who was the nimrod who decided to write a weekly column complaining about the Colts in the same year the Colts decided to have an amazing season? Really, there are only two acceptable choices at this point: 1) change the name from Monday Morning Moaner to Monday Morning Merriment or 2) fire myself. Unfortunately, I'm as stubborn about not changing things (or firing myself) as Pep Hamilton is about using the fullback, so we're sticking with the Moaner theme and we're going to complain about a 34-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Yea, I'm that guy.
We're going to do this one a little different. I love lists (and lamp), so here are some lists:
1) TY Hilton should be the #2 WR - This gripe isn't completely about the team's love for a fullback. Sure, Havili/Hughes usage cuts in to Hilton's playing time, but my issues with this situation go beyond the fullback. TY Hilton is a better player than Darrius Heyward-Bey. This isn't a slight on DHB. He's been a good player for the Colts, and they are going to need him to continue to contribute if they are going to go far this year. But the argument for starting DHB over Hilton seems to revolve around one issue: DHB is a better run blocker than TY Hilton.
Because that's what I look for first in a wide receiver.
Yesterday, it was Hilton's 73-yard catch-and-run score that woke the Colts and their fans up from the coma they were in to start the game. It was his speed that drew a key defensive pass interference on 3rd-and-25 and then his amazing catch later on 3rd-and-8 that got the game-winning drive started and kept it going. The Colts don't beat the Seahawks without TY Hilton's contributions.
Look, at 5'9, 178lbs, TY Hilton is probably never going to be a world class run blocker. But you know what he will be world class at? Catching the ball and making big plays. And that's kind of important when it comes to winning games. I also realize I just started this paragraph off with like 5 half-sentences. Shout out to ex-Colts.com writer John Oehser.
And the point that many, including, in my opinion, the Colts themselves, are overlooking, is that Hilton's ability to stretch the field vertically will open up the running game. Sure, he won't level his cornerback with a block, but he won't have to. What cornerback is going to be aggressively looking into the backfield with Hilton across from them? Look in the backfield the one time it happens to be play action, and it's a touchdown.
Right, Richard Sherman?
A few more pictures, courtesy of Colts Authority's Kyle Rodriguez:
2) The Colts need to be more aggressive at the end of games - After Jerrell Freeman forced a punt with an amazing play to stop QB Russell Wilson on 3rd-and-2, Andrew Luck and the Colts took over with 6:38 left on the clock, a 3pt lead, and an opponent with 0 timeouts. The Colts would run 4:43 off the clock and extend their lead to 6 on a 49-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
I believe their thought process on their last 4 plays - including the field goal - was incorrect. Here are their last 3 calls: Ricardson run up the middle for 4, Richardson run up the middle for -3, Brown run up the middle for 3. The Colts were clearly not interested in putting the ball in the air, risking a clock stoppage on an incompletion. And with the field goal, Pagano was once again putting the team in the position of relying on the defense to get a stop, rather than letting the offense close out the game.
Here's why I disagree (MORE LISTS):
a) the 3rd down play took place with 2:14 left in the game. Because the 2-minute warning stops the clock, an incompletion only costs them, at most, 10 seconds. On the flip side, a first down ends the game.
b) I love Adam Vinatieri. I truly believe him coming to Indianapolis was one of the major factors in the 2006 title. But you can't deny that he's been shaky from long distance this year, and a miss there would have put the Seahawks at the 39, down only 3, with around 1:50 to play. The Seahawks weren't struggling to move the ball, and they certainly weren't having any problems kicking field goals.
c) While the defense has had great moments this year, they are still, in my opinion, very inconsistent. They are NOT the best unit on this team. They do not, despite Robert Mathis' amazing sack totals, have this team's best players. Those distinctions belong to Andrew Luck and the offense. Put the ball in his hands and let him ice the game.
Like the poor decision to kick the extra point against San Francisco in week 3, yesterday's mistake didn't cost the Colts, but that doesn't mean it was the correct decision. Pagano can have faith in his defense while simultaneously making the correct aggressive moves on offense. In fact, it's incorrect to push the idea that being aggressive on 3rd down shows a lack of faith in your defense. The Colts won't always convert, and when they don't, your defense is going to have to prevent so much as a field goal.
Pagano talks a lot about the process. Buying into the process. Believing in the process. The process is important. I believe in the process. I happen to think that Pagano is allowing results to affect how he approaches the process.
3) Ron Winter (and his crew) should not be in the NFL - I know, I know, I complain about the refs a lot. The truth is, I'm one of those bad fans who happen to think that people paid $100,000 for 17 weeks of work shouldn't suck at their job. And when they do suck at their job, there should be some repercussions, like every other person on planet earth (other than the United States Congress) face.
That Ron Winter and his crew were horrible yesterday isn't a surprise: they are universally regarded as one of the two-worst crews in the league (Walt Coleman's being the other). The surprise is that, despite week-after-week of inconsistent, nonsensical officiating, they not only continue to officiate, but officiate big games.
Winter has done: Philly @ Washington on MNF to open the season, Atlanta @ Miami, Cincinnati @ Cleveland and Seattle @ Indy
Coleman has done: Baltimore @ Denver (Season opener), Carolina @ Buffalo, Arizona @ New Orleans, New England @ Atlanta and Philly @ NYGiants.
Yep, no games with playoff implications there for the Blaine Gabberts of officiating.
Coming into today's game, Ron Winter's crew was calling an average of 11.67 penalties-per-game. Of those penalties, 5 per game were offensive holding. So when the Indianapolis Colts offensive line meets the dominant Seattle defensive line, and the makeshift Seattle OL meets a blitz-heavy Colts defense led by the NFL sack leader, you could easily imagine this crew hitting the over! One. That's how many holding calls they made (the other holding call came on a special teams play). And this wasn't because there was no holding, it's just because this crew is incredibly inconsistent.
And then there's defensive holding. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner spent the entire game trying to reenact the closing fight sequence from The Matrix, when Neo jumped into Agent Smith. Greg Toler was taking piggyback rides on Seahawks all afternoon. The crew called two DPI on the Seahawks and a mind-blowingly bad OPI on Seattle's Golden Tate. While the two DPI calls were correct, the bigger issue, again, is inconsistency. There was nothing wrong with those calls, but they let many similar calls go. What's the standard? No one knows with these folks. It's better to not call anything than it is to randomly enforce penalties.
Finally, there's Andrew Luck's head, which was unceremoniously whacked by Seahawks' DE Chris Clemons on the way to forcing a fumble. At the time, it seemed like the play that may have sealed the Colts' fate: Seattle had a 22-17 lead and the ball on Indy's 30 yard line. A touchdown would have been curtains. Luckily, the Colts defense held Seattle to a FG and the team would go on to win the game, but that shouldn't excuse the egregious error made on this play.
The NFL touts its players as the best in the world. It's time they hold their officials to the same standard.
Things I liked:
1) THE COLTS WON!
2) They beat the Seahawks!
3) The Titans lost!
4) The decision to go to a more up-tempo offense in the 2nd half
5) TY Hilton's big day
6) Robert Mathis' 2 sacks, bringing him to 9.5 on the season and putting him over 100 for his career
7) Shutting up Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner
8) The Texans lost
9) The Colts are alone atop the AFC South
10) Luck threw at least 3 perfect passes yesterday. Let Luck be Luck. He's developing into a dominant quarterback at the ripe old age of 24. Don't stifle his creativity, his intelligence, and his ability to throw the perfect pass.
Tell me if this is amateurish:
- Hilton is crazy fast. Faster than most CB's.
- Luck should ask Hilton during each game honestly if he's faster than the CB covering him. TY will know and should answer honestly.
- If #2 is yes, while watching for safety over the top help, when TY is in single coverage, he should just streak down the field and Luck should throw just beyond him. Guaranteed catch by Hilton every time.
I disagree with the criticism of the third down call at the end.
a) Running the ball on third down ate up the two minute warning. The Seahawks had no timeouts, and ensuring that they wouldn't get the ball on the plus side of the two minute warning was important.
b) Worrying about a kicker missing in hindsight -- after he made the kick -- is silly. He made the kick. And that's part of the reason they chose to run the ball on third down. He hasn't been good from 50+, but has made everything from inside 50. His two misses from 50+ were long enough, but just to the left. He still has the leg. But running the ball gave us a chance to gain more yards (gained three on the carry), and it kept the clock moving. An incompletion means you're facing 4th and 9, and have to choose between a 52 yarder and going for the first down.
c) Putting the defense out there with less than two minutes left and staked to a six point lead, at home, is part of the business. Nothing is guaranteed, whether the defense is playing well or not. But they were clearly fired up late in the game, having made some big plays, and they had the benefit of some rest (some of that coming from the decision to eat up the two minute warning). The defense has to get stops in that situation. And they will be needed to as the season goes on. No sense is trying to shield them from it.
Bonus point: The run play that was called on 3rd and 9 was actually a strong play call. The Seahawks are susceptible to trap plays, and if not for Castonzo and McGlynn failing to block the hole well, Brown might have picked up the first down.
I love the word nimrod. But there's always something to complain about, even during a huge win.
If we beat the Broncos, then and only then are you allowed to change the name of this column.
This is a good quality weekly article that I enjoy reading as soon as I get myself to ignore the title and the premise of the title.
Nothing against DHB, his pick up as a good move and value, and yes he is clearly the #3 receiver. But Donnie Avery is turning out very respectable numbers for the Chiefs as a #2 receiver.
I truly love this column. The officiating part was spot-on. The rest was just cranky enough to be signature Greg Cowan.
I might be the minority here but I liked what I saw from TR yesterday, and I realized something. The numbers aren't really his fault. Whenever Brown is in, we actually get creative and do trap runs and draws that work a lot of the time. With TR it's the same 2 TE 1 FB formation and an attempt at a power run. They believe our OL is able to run consistently when it's not. TR is breaking tackles, but when he gets hit 3 yards in the backfield every other play I don't blame him.
While I don't agree with giving up a 1st, and while some other people are determined not to like him, I feel that we got a very solid RB who can make some very awesome runs. We aren't using him right though. Too many times it's just way too obvious when he runs the ball or he runs into a wall of 3 defenders. Maybe part of that is he just knows the basic plays and he's starting to get to the more advanced stuff, but when we are in passing formations he has much more success. We got a good player, you can debate his vision and how much we paid to get him, but IMO we aren't using him right and if we used him more like how we are using Brown he'd have much more success. You never see Brown running out of that stupid power run formation.
Oh yeah, one more point about officiating, I believe the games officials get are pretty much random in the regular season. I believe there are restrictions on how many times someone can officate a certain team, but who gets bigger games in the regular season is random.
Ron Winter is just so bad. The Colts did get some of the benefit (Butler's Holding/DPI on the last drive was pretty blatant), so I won't complain too much, but how he's kept his job is beyond me.
Agree with basically everything, especially that Hilton should be the #2 receiver. I feel like the Colts try to typecast their offense. They need the little speedy guy as the #3 receiver. They need a FB (even two!). They need their blocking TE. They need their 2nd receiver who's basically like the #1 receiver but 30% worse at everything. So far it has worked well enough, but limiting Hilton's snap count is one of the more ridiculous parts of this offense.
Anyway, Luck rebounded from another slow start to play pretty well. I've never seen anyone who can throw absolutely perfect passes (that 2nd TD to Hilton was Peyton-esque) but be so erratic with his accuracy at times. The Seahawks defense as scary in coverage to start so I don't want to pin too much on Luck, but at least he moved on from that 1-6 start.
It is amazing this team is 4-1, tied for the #2 seed, having won two of the, what, four toughest games on teh schedule. I still think DEN beats them soundly (that DEN defense will be getting Von Miller back just in time for teh Colts game), but they can hang with anyone in the NFL. That defense was way too aggressive and undisciplined, but overall it is a good defense. Good enough to win in this league. Can't wait to continue this ride.
11. The Pats lost and failed to score a TD. To a team that just lost to the Browns the week before.12. Peyton Manning is still amazing. (I know it earns you too much crap to say it here, Greg, but you were thinking it, weren't you?)
It's probably still a little early to start thinking of T.Y. as the second coming of Marvin Harrison. OK, yeah, really early. But of all the potential riffs on 18to88, I could really buy into 12to13.
@supes2k1 disagree with all of this, but your point B is especially odd. Don't worry about missing it in hindsight?
As I wrote: don't base your life decisions on every result. Just because it works out doesn't mean you made the correct (or, in degrees of correctness, the best) decision. You should be factoring all of those things - including Vinatieri's kick % from long range this year - into your decision making process. In fact, to judge him as if he's Vinny from 2+ years ago is probably a mistake.
And finally, as I wrote, you know what's better than a 6pt lead with 1:50? A 3pt lead with 0:00. It's okay to trust Andrew Luck. He'll make more great plays than bad.
@codrutc this is a pretty apt description of everything I do.
@thellamajockey Yeah. Avery turns out to have been a good pickup for the Chefs so far. May have been a mistake for us letting him go, maybe not. If nothing else, it was a push and we're about the same place, WR-wise. Glad to see him doing well; he was a bit of a reclamation project for us. I only see his final numbers for KC each game, which are good, not how many drops he has (or doesn't have) which is what frustrated us so much here last year. Any idea if his 3 catches for 90 yard days also include 4 drops?
@coltsauth_todd Thanks, Todd, but if the Colts keep this up, I'm going to be downright pleasant by November.
@Candlebox TR reminded me a bit of Addai yesterday (and that is high praise for the runner, low for the OL) because a lot of people heaped scorn on Addai but did not realize he started every run 3 yards in the backfield with the defenders already on him. Addai's three yard gains often involved six yards after contact. TR had a few of those yesterday. Agreed that when there were holes, he looked okay. He did stumble a bit at the end of his 16 yard run, and that cost him a few more I think. Doofus.
@Candlebox I've been down on TR (I still don't think he's worth a first round pick), but he looked good a couple of runs yesterday, particularly on his third down conversion. As you say he was far more effective running out of passing sets.
At this point I'm starting to wonder if the only reason the FB is on the field is help the passing game. It sure as heck doesn't help the running game.
@dmstorm22 I think they also missed a push-off by Reggie on the 2 pt conversion. Of course he only did that to get the DB to stop grabbing his shoulder pads.
@dmstorm22 I saw a TON of holding from the seahawks offensive line. Lynch had those massive holes because of some pretty blatant holds as well as wilson with his scrambles
@pierrezombie nice logo
@pierrezombie I'm just bummed the Broncos won. I mean, I was ready to bathe in the "PEYTON MANNING SCORED 48, WHEN HIS TEAM NEEDED 56" columns.
@pierrezombie One of TY's catches he did a very Marvin thing when it looked like he used one hand to tap it back toward his body to secure the catch. Pretty sure that's how it happened--I was sober and alone so I could watch without distractions.
You're questioning giving a solid kicker a chance at a makeable kick -- like I said, he's had the leg on his two long misses, and he's been money on everything he's tried < 50 yards -- and you're doing so *after* he made it. That's what's strange to me.
I could understand being critical if AV missed. But he's been money inside 50 yards. And he hit a 52 yarder in preseason. And a 47 yarder and a 52 yarder in the playoffs against the Ravens. It's not like his leg has suddenly fallen off.
An incompletion on third down makes a comeback by the Seahawks much more plausible. It puts the Colts in 4th and 9, facing either a decision to go for it or a 52 yarder (and again, AV has missed both 50+ FGAs this season). You also are on the plus side of the two minute warning. Now what do you do?
I think trusting Luck is fine, but the rest of the team has to do their jobs as well. A missed block on a pass play results in a sack and pushes the team out of field goal range entirely. An incompletion stops the clock (and that could be a dropped pass or a tip at the line).
Running the ball guaranteed that the Seahawks couldn't benefit from clock stoppages. It resulted in a slightly closer FGA. That made FG forced the Seahawks to start at their 20, with no clock stoppages, needing to go all the way down the field for a touchdown. It was the right move.
And I'm generally in favor of coaches being more aggressive on 4th down, particularly in plus territory, rather than trying long FGs or punting. Especially when they have good QBs that can make plays. Pagano does trend overly conservative, IMO. But under those circumstances, I agree with the call that was made. The kicker came through and the defense came through.
@hankster @Candlebox I agree with that, and I don't think he was worth a 1st. But considering the way this team is heading it's going to be a late round 1st, and not sure if we can get the kind of potential TR has with that kind of pick is the only reason I can think of to justify it. The potential is there and he can just bounce off tackles, and he does a decent job in pass protection. I can see him as a Marshawn Lynch type player, not fast or shifty enough to be AP. And if he becomes that I can be happy with the trade.
I also think he does better in passing sets, and when he isn't getting hit by 3 people right as he gets the ball.
Atleast he isn't completely lost and he shows promise. Which for right now, I can live with.
@codrutc Thanks. I grow more proud of it on a weekly basis.
Until week 7, that is, when I'll likely suffer a permanent brain injury from the cognitive dissonance.
@GregCPeyton Manning can't win when it's 76º in October!
Only 1000 catches, 10,000 yards, and 120 TD's to go!
Weighted Career AV: 124
Weighted Career AV: 8
And after looking at Advanced NFL Stats explanation of WP, I'm not certain that they take timeouts remaining into consideration. The fact that the Seahawks had zero timeouts would impact their win probability.
I don't think this shows that kicking the fg raised their odds of winning drastically. In fact, I think it shows the opposite.
Anyhow, you're right, just a friendly disagreement.
@hankster DHB might be out*
@hankster @Candlebox Which would be like if we drafted Lynch next year in the draft if that's how you want to think of it, which I can live with if 1) he turns into Lynch, and 2) Pep gets his head out of his butt to stop with the power running formations that gain 2 yards or lose 3 and use him like an actual RB and be creative with runs. I would love to see a draw or a trap run with TR more often.
@Pied Good thing they've got a future Grand Master actually pushing the pieces around.
In the sense that they aren't so much to cause damage as to shift defense away from the head, that sounds reasonable.
Body blows sounds stupid, but I'm really starting to get the feeling that this coaching staff likes to use meathead language while they play chess.