“The Stew” illuminates the highlights and headaches from each week’s game. If someone is overlooked, whether positively or negatively, please feel free to discuss.
The Main Ingredients: Dwight Freeney: There’s not much to say about Mr. Freeney. Freeney is Freeney. He was a dominant force, busting out of the gates for two sacks.
Reggie Wayne: Wayne looked to be in mid-season form with 6 catches for 105 yards and a TD. Not surprising, but I have a feeling that he was trying to do whatever he could to make Painter look worthy. I hate to break it to him, but I don't see anyway that Collins doesn’t start if Peyton Manning isn't good to go. I'd say it's too little, too late for Painter. The Colts have four million and one reasons to start Collins, one being ability, whether Wayne digs it or not.
Joseph Addai: Addai was quick off the snap and found the holes. The o-line wasn't perfect, but certainly improved. Addai looked refreshingly agile with 7 carries for 40 yards. It was great to see him healthy and back to form.
Delone Carter: I can’t say enough about this guy. He reminds me of Michael Turner, but MJD-like in his bursts. He fights and fights for every yard. Carter enjoyed a very solid game, racking up 7 carries for 27 yards. Those aren't eye-popping numbers, but they are ground 'n' pound.
The Additives: Curtis Painter: Can you believe he made the list? Wayne made Painter look good on multiple throws, especially when it mattered. Wayne almost got put on a stretcher because of it. Painter provided for some bright spots versus Packers backups. I was happy to see Painter finally bring that fade off the practice field and into a real game. Chris Brooks went up to get it and provided for a nice highlight of Painter's performance. This play even got a Manning smile. Painter had to be thankful for of the free-B’s he got from the Packers, including broken coverage which left Wayne wide open for a 57-yard TD.
Tommie Harris: Where did this Harris come from? Just when we all thought he was out, he has a big night with some great play, including an alert bat down of a Rodgers' screen pass intended for James Starks. His biggest moment was a third down sack, which opened up a TD drive to take the lead. I can’t reiterate how happy I am to see the d-line powering around. We actually looked capable of stopping the run.
Jeff Linkenbach: Starting at Right Tackle, Linkenbach opened up some nice runs and looked aware. He got severely blown up by Clay Matthews for a sack, but overall, it was a positive night.
Drake Nevis: This guy looks to be a steal for a third rounder. Freeney paved the way tonight, but Nevis was solid. I can’t wait to see how this guy performs during the regular season. I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but our d-line is shaping up well. *phew*
Pat Angerer: Angerer wasn’t brilliant (almost left off the list), but efficient. He was able to pick up a sack by wrapping a scrambling Rodgers. Although he got completely manhandled by Jermichael Finley, this was an obvious mismatch. Finley is faster, stronger, and much bigger.
Ernie Sims: Sims was all over the field. He looked a little sloppy in coverage, but adds some definite value to a somewhat lacking LB core. I think he will pan out to be a low cost, medium reward FA addition.
The Spoiled Goods: Jim Caldwell: Once again, Caldwell gives away a game because he’s outsmarted by the opposing coach. Thanks to an onside kick call by Mike McCarthy, the Packers were able to drive down the field and hit a game winning field goal. Nice job, Coach.
Pierre Garçon: Garçon had one catch for 36 yards. I’ll forgive him because it’s Painter out there, but Garçon dropped two seemingly catchable balls. He has to make these catches.
Donald Brown: He was a non-factor when on the field. Five carries for 13 yards is a pretty good indicator of his ineffectiveness. Carter showed him up.
Jerry Hughes: Getting juked on fourth down by Graham Harrell was another “highlight” to add to the Hughes’ reel. Hughes is just terribly average.
Dan Orlovsky: Bye, bye. Out of six drives, Orlovsky was able to put together one scoring drive. This happened via a Mike Newton interception which was brought to the Packers’ 3 yard line. He got outplayed by Painter. Yes, that Painter.
Chip Vaughn: You’re cut, hard ass.
The Final Product: Colts 21 - Packers 24 The highlight of the night was clearly the impressive play from our d-line. Harris looks to be sticking around and Freeney was absolutely terrifying. He could not be stopped. The o-line was moving in the right direction, specifically Linkenbach (early on), opening up rushing attacks for Addai and Carter. Folks, running the ball effectively and stopping the run equates to wins. I don’t care who we play. Top it off with our Manning-infused aerial attack and we’re very solid. I might be too optimistic right now, but I saw a lot of positives tonight. Even though this game wasn't a "W" à la boneheads Chip Vaughn and Jim Caldwell, tonight was certainly a step forward. Compared to the previous two weeks, it was Pro Bowl worthy.