Ladies and Gentlemen, the Indianapolis Colts are for real. Legitimate. Whatever you want to call it. After a rather unusual 34-28 victory over the Seahawks, the Colts now sit at 4-1 as they make their way through a very tough stretch in their schedule. What ended in elation, however, began very differently.
The Colts came into this game hoping to prove they could compete against the best, hoping to take it to the 4-0 Seahawks the same way they did the 49ers in their 27-7 victory in by the Bay. Things didn’t begin well, however, as Indy came out flat on both sides of the ball.
Their first possession kicked off three straight three and outs for the Colts offense. Seattle answered back by running the ball at will against what was initially a very fired up defensive unit. Marshawn Lynch’s first carry went for 24 yards, but the Colts managed to stop him for a 9 yard gain on third and 15, setting up a field goal.
After the Colts second three and out, Seattle took over, in good field position for the second straight drive, and raced 64 yards in 8 plays for a 10-0 lead on Golden Tate’s 10-yard touchdown catch.
With things spiraling out of control quickly, the Colts offense took the field again, needing to make something good happen, but were unable to move the ball yet again. Pat McAfee and the punting unit came on the field for the third time, but McAfee’s punt was blocked by Jevon Kearse for what initially appeared to be a possible touchdown. The replay upheld the initial call that the play was a safety, and the Colts were down 12-0 in the first quarter.
Obviously, things got better. The defense, facing the very real possibility of a blowout, and tiring from spending most of the quarter on the field, came in and forced a three and out of their own after the safety.
Andrew Luck and company, who had been outgained 101-9 at this point, took the field in desperate need of some positive plays. On third and one from the 27 yard line, Andrew Luck aired it out to a wide open T.Y. Hilton, who made a safety miss near the sideline and raced the rest of the way to the endzone for a 73-yard touchdown, the longest of both Hilton’s and Luck’s career.
Suddenly, the game that was spiraling out of control was a manageable 12-7 contest. Sound like a wild contest? That was just the first quarter. The Colts defense stiffened just outside the red zone on the next drive, bringing in Seattle kicker Steven Houscka for a 48-yard try and a 15-point lead…And it was blocked. Houscka’s kick careened into the tattoo covered arm of Lawrence Guy, who was watching the games from home just a few weeks ago. Safety Delano Howell, filling in for LaRon Landry but still playing special teams (somebody get that guy some oxygen and a Gatorade) scooped up the ball for a 61 yard touchdown.
The game went from a nightmare to a 14-12 lead in two possessions, but the Seahawks exploited Indy’s exhausted defense for another touchdown, a 28-yarder to backup receiver Jermaine Kearse, who made the leaping catch just over the outstretched hand of Colts CB Vontae Davis. The difference between a touchdown and a deflection may have been less than an inch. Nevertheless, Seattle was back in control, 19-14.
The teams would trade field goals into the third quarter, as both defenses clamped down and kept the endzones empty for a while. Seattle managed one more than Indy thanks in part to a lost fumble on a questionable sack that saw Seattle’s Chris Clemons very demonstratively hit Andrew Luck in the head. In any game, calls will be missed, and that may have been one of many for this contest. Once again, however, the Colts defense held Seattle to a field goal, leaving the Colts in striking distance at 25-17.
Indianapolis came out in the hurry up offense, a welcome sight given the intelligence and talent level of their quarterback, and marched 80 yards for the touchdown. The drive featured Trent Richardson running out of a passing formation – which worked quite well, a big time third down catch by Coby Fleener (which is all the more impressive considering Seattle is one of the best at defending tight ends), Andrew Luck escaping the pressure for a nice run, and a beautiful 19-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. Indianapolis wisely went for two on the play but failed to tie the game at 25.
The Colts defense continued to do their part – they never allowed a second half touchdown – holding Seattle to field goal after field goal despite giving up a huge number of yards. Robert Mathis sacked Russell Wilson for the second time near the end of the third, forcing the Seahawks to settle for three once again, taking a shaky 28-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter, as it has been most of the season, was all Colts. Indianapolis has outscored their opponents now 35-7 in the fourth quarter through five games. Indy began the quarter with a methodical 14-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a Donald Brown touchdown run. That’s right, Richardson ran out of three wide and shotgun formations, and Brown plowed up the middle with six linemen on the field. It was an unusual game to say the least, but the Colts had taken the lead.
Once again, Pagano called for the two-point conversion, hoping to take a three-point lead this time. The play appeared to be broken with nobody open, but Luck extended it by rolling to his right and found Reggie Wayne in the endzone for the conversion and a 31-28 lead.
Taking the field well rested – which was unusual for much of the game, the Colts defense forced a three and out, capped off by Jerrell Freeman closing on and tackling Russell Wilson for a loss around the left side on third down.
Indy would tack on another field goal to make it 34-28, and then everyone watched as the defense, which finished the day having given up 423 yards, trotted back out to close out the game. They didn’t just close it out. They put an exclamation point on it.
On second down from the Seattle 42, Darius Butler, who had an up and down game, launched himself over the back of WR Sidney Rice for a deflection. Greg Toler, who also struggled off and on, blasted Golden Tate with a well-timed hit to force another incompletion on third down, and on fourth and 15 with time and the Seahawks’ hopes running out, Jerrell Freeman laid a savage – but legal – hit on Wilson as he threw deep for Sidney Rice. The errant pass was picked off by the ever-opportunistic Butler, and the game finished with the Andrew Luck taking a knee.
As always, there’s no football formation like the victory formation.
Some quick notes in no particular order:
- Butler may not be much of a tackler, but he can neutralize a slot receiver from time to time.
- Andrew Luck: 16/29, 229 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 107 QB rating. Who’s the best young quarterback again?
- Trent Richardson’s best runs have come in passing formations (shotgun, and single back three wide). When the defense doesn’t know what’s coming, things tend to go very well.
- Robert Mathis is just the 30th player in NFL history to amass 100 career sacks, and now has 101 for his career and 9.5 for the season. Mathis is only 5 days younger than yours truly, but he is playing as though he were in his prime and proving he can be productive without Dwight Freeney (who we all miss).
- Jerrell Freeman was another star of this game. He finished with 13 tackles – 7 solo – and a QB hit that set the games’ final pass into the waiting hands of Darius Butler.
- Reggie Wayne had a tough start, but finished with 6 catches on 9 targets for 65 yards, and the two-point conversion.
- T.Y. Hilton was a star today: 5 catches on 6 targets, 140 yards, and two crucial touchdowns. Please note that he is more beneficial than a fullback.
- They had some trouble moving the ball, but the Colts went an impressive 7/12 on third down.
- Oh, I almost forgot...#NoFlyZone
- We can complain about the things that went wrong or the weird calls all we want, but this was a win against a fantastic football team. The Colts are the real thing. And they’re 4-1. Next up, San Diego.
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I actually thought Wilson ran a bit TOO much. Yes, he extended drives often with his running, but he also gave up on a lot of potential plays downfield had he pulled a Romo instead of taking off.
Regarding TRich: can someone break down the final drive? (Living in Cincy, I'm hamstrung by internet feeds, and Bob Lamey's unintelligibly garbled play-calling.)
The Colts seemingly came out in a passing package, which allowed the O-line to open up running lanes (4yds, 5yds, 10yds, IIRC). Then I heard Reitz come in and declare himself eligible - which sounded like a switch to a run package. Surprisingly enough, the Colts tried three straight runs from that package, for 4yds, -3yds, and 3yds - then kicked a FG.
If I heard the call correctly, that drive corroborates my belief that the Colts are successful running out of passing packages, and are terrible running out of telegraphed run packages. (See also: "Please note that [TY Hilton] is more beneficial than a fullback.")
Pep and Pagano need to learn that Fullback-and-extra-linemen packages are killing our offense.
If you're struggling in fantasy football and want to know who to pick, pick opposite of who I start. Guarantee your player will score like I don't know say 26 points. That might or might not be exactly how many points the benched T.Y. Hilton scored today. -face. palm.-
You're welcome Colts fans. I'm the reason T.Y. had such a big game. (Some of it might be due to talent.)
Fantasy Football aside that was an exciting game to watch. They started off slowly but then they had that huddle up on the sidelines and it seemed to get everyone on the same page. I think Pepper is starting to get that lame ass shit in college don't work with the NFL all the time.
Fingers crossed and optimistically going into San Diego.
Screw that Marcus Dugan tool, follow @theklassifieds on twitter.
Wow! Schub has thrown three picks and Huston is getting clobbered. Nov. third is going to be interesting. I wonder if the window has officially shut on Huston. I almost feel bad for them... almost.
Great writ up! And a great game. Watching it with my friends and family who are most Seahawks fans made it even better. Wooo, Colts!
One thing, I thought Luck played very well, even in the first quarter. On those first three and three and outs Wayne, Hilton, and --I don't remember (DBH?) dropped easy catches. As great as this team is, there are still a lot of drops. My only other complaint was about the OL, they did a well as could be expected against a great defense, but Luck still got creamed a couple of times.
For me the biggest surprise what Richardson. His average gain was still atrocious, but on those few caries from a passing formation he looked powerful and decisive. That gives me a glimmer of hope for the future.
Oh, and the missed club to the QB's head (Luck's whole helmet moved on his head) before the FF was a horrid missed call by the refs, leading to a Seahawk FG. Call that right, give us 15 yards, and that's at least a 3-pt reversal, maybe 6 or 10.
1) Can ANYONE explain why TY is not on the field more, and DHB is in front of him?
2) Hey, Walden looked pretty good today!
3) OMG, I was afraid the loss would be on Mathis about 20 minutes in, with his hard-charging upfield rushing allowing Wilson wide open prairie to gallop across.
4) The DPI type calls were probably under-called--I know SEA fans are grumpy, and I can understand it, but John Lynch said something funny as the color commentator although he was trying to DEFEND Seattle, I think. "That's the way Seattle plays the game. If you were going to call it strictly by the book, you could call it all the time." Duh. Then don't complain when it IS called.
5) Reggie totally pushed off on his 2 pt conversion reception, but only after being held.
6) Marshawn Lynch is a beast when you try to arm tackle him, but letting him get a head of steam for five yards before any contact at all is inexcusable.
7) Very exciting, though I wish it were less so. I made a large white horse shoe out of paper back in 2009 which I hung on my very blue garage door SB Sunday. Tempted to hang it up again, but as I live 3 miles east of downtown Seattle... maybe not. After all, Seattle invented the dumpster fire.
Marcus, can you explain the Safety? I thought that if neither team recovered the ball in the endzone it would be a touchback, Seattle's ball on our 20.
Here's the rule: The important factor in a safety is impetus. Two points are scored for
the opposing team when the ball is dead on or behind a team’s own goal
line if the impetus came from a player on that team.
Examples of Safety:
(a) Blocked punt goes out of kicking team’s end zone. Impetus was provided by punting team. The block only changes direction of ball, not impetus.
It seems to me that the impetus was provided by the Seattle player trying to control the ball as it was going out of the endzone. If he wouldn't have touched it, I think it would have been the right call.
Well, it wasn't exactly pretty, but isn't it more fun that way? This team is good at keeping the blood pressure high, but the poise to come back in this one is not something you should under-appreciate. Great win for this young team against the most roided defense in the league.
"Please note that [T.Y. Hilton] is more beneficial than a fullback". Brilliant. Also, on the comment on Mathis, excellent use of the subjunctive - A+ on grammar.
@TheGreatMisdirect It makes you wonder if mobile quarterbacks were actually less of a challenge for the Colts defense than a QB who scans through his second and third reads will be.
@chip_bennett I'm not a big drive charter, in part because real estate keeps me busy when I'm not doing this. But why not? Here goes:
(shotgun 3 WR TE, RB) Rich 4 yd run up the middle - nasty trap block by Thornton to spring him
(shotgun) Luck 19 yd pass to Wayne, who, as John Lynch pointed out, waited until the last possible second to put his hands up to catch the ball.
(shotgun) Rich 5 yds behind Castonzo and a pulling McGlynn
(shotgun) Luck incomplete to DHB
(singleback 3WR, TE, RB) T Rich behind the left side of the line for 10 yards
(I form 2 WR, 6 OL, FB) Rich up the gut for 4 yards
(I form 6 OL, FB offset left) Rich for -3 yards
(Shotgun, 3 WR, TE, RB) Brown behind the left guard for 3 yards...on 3rd and 9
That last play took them to the two minute warning, so if they had tried for and gotten the first down on the previous two plays, the game would have been over after a couple kneel downs, despite a slightly closer margin of victory.
Richardson definitely looked better when the defense didn't know what was coming.
@hankster "Schub." I like it. I usaually switch the first letter sounds of his names and refer to him as "Schatt Maub"
@hankster Richardson has 12 runs in the 2nd half at 4.5 YPC. They ran more shotgun runs, which helped out. He's getting there, and once he does and gets the whole package, I think he'll be extremely destructive.
@hankster I agree. Also, thank you :)
@Bobman1 Seriously. Isn't the ref who stands behind the QB supposed to focus all his attention on that one player? From that angle, how the hell does he miss the whole hand raking down the back of Luck's helmet? Insane.
@Bobman1 That was a bad missed call. It's one thing when it's just a mistake, but that one was a player safety no-call.
@Bobman1 I agree about the DPI calls. Also, I didn't notice any bad plays from Walden, I thought he did well too.
T.Y. is probably better out of the slot, but that doesn't explain why he gets sidelined in favor of a fullback so much. To be fair, it seemed like Pep has taken better note of T.Y.'s value.
@Bobman1 Yeah, all the band wagoners in Seattle can get pretty aggressive. I get more looks and catcalls for my Luck jersey in Seattle than San Fran.
@smonroe If an offensive player knocks it out the back of the endzone, as @Bobman1 mentioned, it's a safety. Hunter Smith committed one to save a touchdown against New England in the heartbreaking AFCCG after the 03 season. If the defensive player recovers it, then it's obviously a TD. Since they didn't believe he maintained control, apparently it's a safety. I was confused by all this as well (partly because my four year old daughter had two friends over during the game, and our house was utter mayhem) because I also thought it would be ruled a touchback.
@smonroe Surely when an offensive team player kicks or bats it out of the EZ it's a S. Not sure about the D....
@7IHd Yep. Although the Colts defense looked pretty horrible against the read-option they somehow kept the point to a minimum. It kinda reminds me of NE defense. They let you get all the yard you want, but are darn hard to score on.
@Payton ...and that backward leaping catch! That was exquisite play on a third down.
The one where Sherman was essentially giving him a great big hug cracked me up. Then he complained....lol
@hankster @7IHd Yeah, that's always really annoying about the Pats D. However, it was their offense that lost them the first game this year! And someone was trying to say that what Brady's done with his receivers is as impressive as Manning's year... What's that? Throw for fewer than 200 yards and under 50% against the only real defenses he's played thus far? I know he's playing with no receivers, but it's not like he's really helped them out either.
Manning is having the best year by any QB ever to this point and has an unfair offense. No one has been as impressive as him so far, and that includes Mr. Luck, who's been phenomenal for us in an understated way. (Just to be clear, I'm not in any way bringing up a Luck/Manning argument as I am fervently behind them both except in any game wherein the Colts play Peyton, in which I just pray neither gets hurt and Colts win.) If Colts don't win this year, I hope the Broncs do so I can tell Pats fans where to go stick their "Brady's better because he has more championships." 3 championships to 2 isn't that convincing if one QB has clearly superior stats/arm strength/field command. Pardon my rant.
@MarcusDugan I'm not certain I said "aroused." Though with as much roids as are in their systems, you probably wouldn't be able to tell except on an HD zoom-in.
@7IHd Lol, I typed "roided," but I was using my phone, and apparently autocorrect got the best of me. Besides, doesn't extensive 'roid usage cause kind of the opposite problem?