We are all anticipate this game being over by the third quarter, so I make no promises how long I'll stick it out blogging today. It should be interesting to watch Bob Sanders return the field and to see how the Colts utilize him. As much press as the Colts' blitz has gotten this year, Mathis and Freeney have combined for 10.5 of the Colts' 13 team sacks. The blitz hasn't been getting home at all. Perhaps Sanders is the answer to that problem.
- So far so good. Indy stars the game with the ball, and Manning goes 5/6 with a score and 80 yards passing as Indy makes it 7-0. The Rams have no answer for Reggie Wayne at all. The line play has been uneven, but it's hard to fault that drive.
- The Colts D gives up a field goal on the first possession largely due to a 50 yard flea flicker. The Rams ran 3 times for just 6 yards, but one big play got them in position for a field goal. No big deal, it was a great play call, and they didn't exactly show an ability to sustain a drive. 7-3 Indy.
- Holy Crap. That was the craziest fast drive. Brown blows through on a beautiful stretch run, and then Manning hits Clark for a 27 yard fingertip TD. Insane. The stretch looks good early as Addai hit it for 9 yards right and Brown hit 45 yards on a stretch left. 14-3 Colts. Manning is 7 for 9 for 118 and 2 TDs.
- Nice stand by the D. The Rams have nothing at all in the run game (other than an 11 yard draw on 2nd and 20), and Bulger is just a little off on the throws and is not getting any help from his WRs.
- Quarter Summary: Indy dominates play and leads early. Not much else to say.
- Colts start at the four and go nowhere as Pollack gives up a QB hit on 3rd down. Manning was hit as he threw, and Wayne saved him from another hit/pick. Rams ball near midfield trailing 14-3.
- Whoa. A little zone blitz by Coyer on third and 6. It leads to Dwight Freeney in coverage breaking up a pass. It worked, but I don't want to see it again. The Colts will start at the 13. BTW: Steven Jackson has 13 yards on 6 carries.
- Weird drive. Indy fumbles twice, moves the ball out to midfield, before Caldwell loses his testicles by pointlessly punting on fourth and 1. Not cool. The end result is a change of field position as the Rams are pinned inside the 10 now. I'd rather have the ball at the 44 after a successful fourth down conversion.
- Freeney ensures that Caldwell looks good by KILLING Bulger. Bulger fumbled on the play, but the officials bailed him out with a BS call. The Rams run a give up play on third down and punt. Indy winds up with the ball on the Rams side of the field. It's time to put this game away.
- With the news that Reggie Wayne has a strained groin, the Colts pound the ground game. Brown bursts through with a big run for a first down (before getting hurt) and Joe Addai picked up 2 3rd and 1s, the last of which busted out for a TD. 21-3 Colts. The Rams have to try and salvage something before the half.
- Nice stand by the end, after a couple of Rams first downs, the pressure of Foster and Mathis led to a sack, before Freeney got MUGGED on third down. He still got to Bulger and forced an incomplete pass, but how the refs missed the call, I'll never know.
This has gone pretty much how we all expected. The D has smothered the Rams, giving up just one significant play (a 50 yard pass on a flea flicker). Manning threw for 168, and the run game racked up 93 yards. The only thing in question is if Manning will get to 300 yards passing. Considering that Wayne is already out, I doubt it. The Colts are going to cruise on home in the second half.
- Great defensive stand there by the Colts. It was easy to see lots of hustle by the D-line, and the Rams manage just one first down. Unfortunately, the punt is downed at the 2.
- It's hard to score from the 2. The Colts run a give up play on third down and punt. Rams ball near midfield.
- The D finally gives up some yards, almost all by Steven Jackson rushing. Muir busts through though and gets a sack, so the Rams only come up with a field goal. That's not the worst outcome, but the Colts should watch for an onsides kick here. The offense really needs a TD to ice this game. 15 points isn't a big enough cushion.
- The Colts drive but do not score as Frenchy (who has had a rough couple of games) drops a pass.
- LACEY! Pick 6. 28-7 Colts.
- Third Quarter Summary: Colts win the quarter 7-3 thanks to Lacey's score. The defense has been playing soft (which is understandable considering the lead), so there have been plenty of run yards for the Rams. That's fine with Indy who is up three TDs.
- The Rams get inside the Colts 10, but on fourth down and 6, Hayden picks off Bulger just outside the endzone. The Colts will start inside the five (again). Listen, some things not to freak out about: 1. the offense. They've played super conservative today considering they had a huge lead, and consistently have started inside the 10. 2. The run D. The Colts dominated the LoS early in the game, but when the lead grew, they gave the Rams the run. The result? Lots of yards, lots of clock run, just one field goal. It was smart football, that's all.
- Indy toys with the Rams. After another Garcon penalty on third down, he makes up for it by drawing a huge PI call on third and 16. Manning tosses to Collie for an 8 yard score. The 300 yard game streak is over, but the Colts have their dignity intact.
- Four plays and out leads to Sorgi time and a nice moment for Chad Simpson who shows some wheels and goes for the TD. 42-6 Colts.
The Colts look to complete a perfect October this week as they visit the St. Louis Rams. Here are the other NFL games you should keep an eye on. Keep in mind that Denver, the greatest threat for homefield advantage, has a bye this week.
New England at Tampa Bay (England): Yes, the Pats get one fewer road games this season. Jerks. File this game under not-a-chance-in-hell.
Minnesota at Pittsburgh: This is a big game. If Favre and AP can take out the Steelers it would pretty much eliminate the possibility of the Colts having to play in Pittsburgh in January. Which, you know, is a good thing.
San Francisco at Houston: Another big one. Houston is starting to make some noise thanks to its prolific passing game. I'd breathe easier if they would pick up their fourth loss.
Chicago at Cincinnati: The Bengals only have two losses, so they seem like the obvious pick. But do we really want the Steelers to win the AFC North? I don't. If the Steelers go down in the 1:00 game I'll be more comfortable rooting against Cincy at 4:00. Complicated enough?
New Orleans at Miami: You always root for the NFC over the AFC, right? Not always. The Colts have a three game lead plus the tie-breaker over Miami. The Dolphins are not a threat. Let's hope Ronnie Brown runs wild, making the Saints look human. Keep in mind that the Dolphins might be the real threat to the Pats in the East, as far fetched as that sounds.
I know the game was played about a month ago, but that didn't stop Demond and I from talking about it last night. Unfortunately, that means I'm a bit late with this week's Eyes in the Backfield, but don't worry it should be coming later today.
UPDATE: The audio problems have been fixed. If you use ITunes, you may need to redownload the file by clicking on the ITunes link and selecting the episode again. If you tried the embedded player, you may need to refresh your cache in order to hear the correct version.
For those following the debate about Josh McDaniels' call on Monday night, Guy has posted video of the kick. He claims the video shows the kick was long enough, thus justifying McDaniels. I'm not sure the angle is clear enough to say the kick was long enough, but it was clearly a kick that would have been good from a few yards closer, thus illustrating what stupid decision McDaniels made to run a sneak instead of a real play.
Let me begin my brief movie review of District 9 by apologizing for the title of the post. I doubt that referencing the Postal Service is really the most appropriate way to introduce a sci-fi film, but it's late and it's the best I could do at 12:20. For that I apologize. I'm also sorry that I went to the movies instead of taping 18 Plays. We'll correct that tomorrow night.
As for the movie, it's better than I had hoped...and I expected good things.
In brief, District 9 is the story of what happens when an alien spaceship inexplicably lands over Johannesburg. The aliens, nearly a million shrimp like creatures, are herded into a giant ghetto and subjected to inhumane conditions. As is obvious from what I just wrote, there are clearly and intentional parallels to Apartheid to made. The good news is that while they add resonance to the story, the movie does not use them as a crutch. It paints a rather bleak portrait of human nature and the future which reminded me of the excellent Children of Men. It is true science fiction in the Shellian sense. The morality play at work enriches the story of Wikus the Government Pawn as he becomes, well Wikus the Alien Prawn. The character of Wikus around whom the plot unfolds reminded me eerily of Murray, the New Zealand Consol.
The movie was well acted and directed. When I first heard that it was shot documentary style, I envisioned Blair Witch meets Cloverfield. Instead it was more Saving Private Ryan meets Aliens. This is a good thing. It would have been easy to make a bad movie that combined South African politics with documentary style shooting, but fortunately, Peter Jackson didn't direct the film, he only signed the checks. The result is a horrifying and engaging tale that entertains as it pricks the conscience. While there are certain leaps of logic required (why didn't anyone bother to talk to the aliens and find out what their deal was), ultimately, the story and the motivations are believable.
But suppose for a moment, that you don't give a crap about science fiction and don't want to waste Friday night being preached at. This is your movie. It is full of wonderfully violent shoot outs that are actually exciting as opposed to boring. There is plenty of cool alien tech and lots of heads get blown off in spectacular ways. In fact, the action sequences reminded me of Transformers...only, you know...interesting, because there is actually something at stake.
Everything about this movie exceeded my expectations. If you want to see an exciting movie where stuff gets blown up and dudes get shot...go see this film. If you want a smart morality tale about human nature...go see the film. If you are a sci-fi purist who enjoys the creation of other worlds, species, and cultures, go see this film. If you want a tragic tale of love, loss, and being the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time...go see this film.
If you heard something about District 9 that made you think it might be lame or trite, be assured, it is neither. It is easily one of the best films I've seen this year, and one of the best pure science fiction films of the decade.
Yep. He wore a Manning jersey to a public function. This smacks of Costanza. Perhaps Fisher is angling for a job as the director of Scouting for the Mets... or Colts.
Props to JMV for pointing this story out via the Jackson and Bullitt show. Both players were fairly astounded by the story. I know Fisher's appearance was for a worthy cause, but still, this is pretty nuts. This sort of reminds me of a quote by another crazy coach we once knew. Apparently Jeff Fisher just trying to relax and enjoy it.
For the record, if I needed a coach, Fisher would be one of my first phone calls. He has won a lot of games with average talent. Not every coach gets to have Peyton Manning under center. Remember: The Titans blew the third overall pick three years ago. Now they are paying the price. Think this team would like a do-over with Vandy product Jay Cutler? That was a popular rumor at the time. Would they be 0-6? I doubt it. There is no way to know for sure, but it is a well known-fact that Fisher didn't want Vince Young.
The Rams have no wins.
St. Louis is just four hours away.
Here's a map. It's time for a road trip, Colts' fans. If you've wanted to see the Horse in action this year, but you can't get cheap tix to the Luke, head down I-70 all the way to Saint Louis. Let's fill their dome and force at least one false start on their offense by the crowd noise. This is the perfect road trip destination. The drive is easy.
Fill it up.
Here's what's been bugging me in lieu of actual Colts football:
- Just before halftime last night, the Denver Broncos made one of the single worst play calls I've ever seen. They had 2nd and 10 from the 39 with :06 seconds left (and a time out). Instead of throwing a quick pass, they ran a QB sneak for 3 yards. It set up a 54 yard field goal which ended up being short. This was horrifically stupid. They had time to gain the extra 5-10 yards they probably needed to have a makeable attempt. Instead, they plowed into the line for 3 meaningless yards. To make it worse, Jaworski and Gruden PRAISED McDaniels effusively for such a 'heady' call. IT WAS STUPID. It was bone jarringly stupid. McDaniels has his team off to an incredible start, and he should be praised for that, but in this instance, he cost his team a credible shot at a field goal. Awful coaching moment.
- Alex Rodriguez's post season numbers are: .288, .378 (OB), .535 (slugging), .913 OPS with 11 HR and 26 RBIs. Over a full season that would be a 41 HR, 96 RBI season. His regular season numbers are .305, .390, .576, .965. Now there's a small dip there, which is to be expected considering the better pitchers and colder weather involved in the playoffs, but hopefully we can finally cram all this 'choker' crap. I'm no ARod fan (the roids made that impossible), but I hate it when people cherry pick a handful of games and make them mean more than they do.
- Bob Kravitz set me off yesterday with this video (at the :55 second mark)
and then repeated his sentiments in his column today. He says:
As for Johnson's surprising dismissal and the reasons behind it, call me mildly cynical. Sadly, history has taught us we can't always take the Colts at their word. It was only last year that they continued to deny -- or "refuse to address" -- reports that quarterback Peyton Manning had a second knee procedure.
This bothers me because I thought Kravitz was supposed to be a 'reporter'. He doesn't take the Colts at their word about Ed Johnson. Fair enough. Do some research. Make some calls. Watch some film. PROVE THEM WRONG. Instead, Kravitz just tosses around accusations. His reasoning is that last year they wouldn't answer questions about Manning's knee. So what? That's not analysis. Here's what bothers me so much about the "there must be something more going on here" position: there's no evidence for it. We have four games worth of tape on Ed Johnson. If a serious reporter thinks there is something phony about the Colts' decision to cut Ed Johnson he has avenues the rest of us don't. He can make calls to agents, players, he can go to Ed's house and try and get a quote. Moreover, he has access to what fans have as well: the tape. Comb over the tape and illustrate what a fine job Ed Johnson did. Show that the Colts' claims don't make sense.
Even the dirty bloggers did more work on this story than Bob Kravtiz. After 'Preston's' tape review, I rewatched the Titans game and came to the same conclusion: Ed didn't play well (I'm saving my commentary on this for tomorrow night's 18 Plays). Last night Polian gave a lengthy, logical answer about Ed Johnson. It sounds sane and reasonable to me. It sounds much more reasonable than suggesting the Colts are covering some thing up (which they have zero motivation to do). Instead, Kravitz implies that Jim Caldwell is a liar, but gives precious little justification for his belief saying only:
I wondered, if Johnson was so bad, why was he still starting and getting so many snaps just two weeks ago at Tennessee? Why not demote him, as the Colts have with Tony Ugoh, or have him share time, as with Mike Pollak and Kyle DeVan?
"The feeling was it wouldn't do any good to demote him," Polian said.Hm-m-m.
Again, Kravitz doesn't suggest who else the Colts should have cut. He doesn't contradict the logic of cutting a guy who was on his last chance with the team, but was slowly getting fat and lazy. He doesn't address the fact that a guy who is on a tight leash, but is letting his weight go becomes a serious conduct risk even before he does anything wrong. And he does nothing to prove that Johnson deserved to be playing. He just wants to imply the Colts are hiding something, but won't do the work to prove it. The insinuation that the Colts' are hiding something doesn't bother me. But for a reporter to make that claim without providing any support for it doesn't make sense to me.
Seems like a weenie move to me.
As I picked over the still warm corpse of the Steelers/Browns game yesterday, I thought, "Could anything be more miserable than Bye week Sunday?".
The answer, "Yup. Bye week Monday".
Normally on Monday, there's a bevy of fun recap articles to read. There's analysis to criticize. There's articles to link. There's something to do...
Today, however, my excitement was limited to waiting for the Monday Morning Hangover to come out. That was only exciting because I wrote the part about Baltimore having a terrible defense, which is a point I've been making to every thing that moved since week 1, but only just now got the chance to hammer home to a wider audience.
If anything, yesterday just taught us a bunch of crap we already knew: The Pats will win the East, the Steelers are still the best team in the
Central North (though not as good as a year ago), the Saints are for real, and the Titans are the most done team in the history of football.
I admire BBS's enthusiasm over the trade market. I have to confess I'm too beat down by that slate of clunkers yesterday to generate any myself. Well, that and it doesn't feel like a trade kind of year. Everything BBS says is true: the Colts often make a minor deal, Cribbs or Rudd would add something for sure, Polian has to think this team is right on the cusp of something huge so making a move would make sense. Even so, my hopes are low just because my mood is. It would be great just have something to say.
Instead, my team has back to back bye weeks. Oh I know there's a game this Sunday, but let's be real. I'm better off analyzing Tom Brady than worrying about the Rams. By the way, I'm utterly unfazed by that beating he gave the Titans. I said a couple of weeks ago that Brady looked fine to me. Now after one game against the league's worst team, his numbers are back to normal. His YPA is normal, his completion % is actually high for him (64%), his TD % is a little high (but essentially normal), his pick % is a little low, and his rating is a little high. He's on pace for the second best year of his career, but that will level off now that the Titans game is behind him. He'll wind up with a typical Tom Brady year: 28-30 TDs, a completion % around 63%, a rating of 90 and a YPA of 6.8. That's who he is. That's who he's always been. Yawn.
See what I've been reduced to?
I hate the bye week.