[caption id="attachment_1855" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="0-6 and counting..."][/caption] “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. What could have been our first win of the season, turned out to be another kick in the nuts for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans. Instead of letting the down-and-out Chiefs come back from 17 point lead like last week, we battled with the top defensive team in the league all day but once again, lost a very winnable game. I could see if we were getting blown out like week one in Houston, but every game we've played since the Texans has been "W" capable. The Colts have lost by 8, 3, 7, and 4 points in the last four weeks. That is what's so painful about these losses. This week, up until a colossal turnover by Pierre Garcon, the Colts were down by 3 late in the fourth quarter with possession of the ball. So, instead of sitting proudly atop a struggling division (Titans are in first at 3-2...), we are in the basement, sitting behind the 1-5 Glitter Kitties. If there was ever a time to truly suck in the AFC South and still win the division, this is the year. However, we like to take sucking to a whole new level. The Main Ingredients (not many of these this week...): Run defense: The Colts held Cedric Benson to 16 carries for 57 yards and a TD (3.6 AVG). Backup Bernard Scott was less effective with 11 carries for 29 yards and a 2.9 AVG. Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, and Dan Muir were at the forefront of this defensive effort, with some great tackles from Antoine Bethea. Bethea had three big tackles (one for a loss) in a row to stop the Bengals in their tracks late in the fourth. This led to a missed FG and an opportunity to win the game. As for Conner, if he didn't continue to be so sloppy in coverage he would be totally complete. I was very pleased with how these guys played today and Ernie Sims was finally able to make an impact. If these guys play like this on any other day and the secondary doesn't get completely manhandled, we win this game. Valiant effort. Pass protection: Painter was only sacked once, which was absolutely his fault for holding onto the ball forever, and only was hit two other times. The Colts unsteady o-line held up very well and provided plenty of time for Painter to get rid of the ball. Clyde Christensen: I'm so used to seeing this guy in Spoiled Goods that I had to think hard about putting him here. He stepped it up today with some impressive play calling, specifically in the second half. The Dallas Clark TD drive was especially impressive and the final play fake on 3rd and GOAL was perfect and creative. I certainly wasn't expecting that, considering the fact that he ordered two back-t0-back QB sneaks on first and second down. One of the most impressive calls, in my opinion, was the three straight slant routes to Garcon. Painter/Coyer obviously saw an exploit and took advantage of it. Overall, I can't say that I really have any complaints about Christensen's train of thought this week, besides the two sneaks. The Additives: Curtis Painter: Although Painter wasn't as standout as his two previous starts, he was efficient. He went 23/34 for 188 yards with a TD and INT. Painter made some moves in the pocket and hit almost 70% of his passes. However, his AVG was way down at 5.5 (10.3 and 10.5 the last two weeks). A lot of quick and short "I don't want to make a mistake" passes were the story. He did seem to get more comfortable and opened up the field in the second half. His play was certainly lacking at times, but I think he did enough to put us in position to win this game, as he has done the last couple of weeks. The INT he threw was in desperation and the game was already over, thanks to Garcon. Third down does need to get better and he missed Austin Collie on some throws that he has to make, which were low and in the dirt. One is excusable, but he did it 3-4 times. He also missed Garcon on an out that killed an energetic drive (still got us into position for a FG). Dallas Clark: The old #44 made a return to the field and it was very refreshing to see. He fell victim to a bonehead fumble on his very first catch of the game, which led to the a Andy Dalton TD pass to A.J. Green, but made up for it with some clutch catches. The one-handed TD catch was what everyone had come to expect of Clark. Good day with 6 catches for 53 yards and a TD. I was tempted to put him in Spoiled Goods with Garcon, but his fumble wasn't the decider that Garcon's obviously was. "Downtown" Donald Brown: Yes, I said it and I'll say it again: : "Downtown" Donald Brown! Brown did his best to try and show why he has still some worth to this team. He only had 5 carries for 35 yards and a TD, but also had a very stout 7.0 AVG and broke off a 18-yard TD when he cut back to the edge. This run was setup by another 9-yarder from Brown that was blocked beautifully by Joe Reitz and Jeff Saturday. I was hoping to see Brown get into more action, but Delone Carter ran decent and playing from behind cut his snaps short. He should definitely see more playing time next week with Addai out indefinitely. Run blocking: One of the standout moments of our run blocking/defense was at the half. The Colts led the Bengals in rushing with 75 yards compared to the Bengals' 38 yards. Even after the half, the Bengals only managed to score a 3.2 AVG for the game, compared to our 4.0 AVG. Pollak got blown up (surprise, surprise) on a stunt which resulted in a 4-yard loss for Delone Carter, but in all, the o-line blocked well enough to move the ball for both of our backs. The numbers were very good, considering that it's hard to maintain the run when you're constantly trailing behind your opponent. Pat McAfee: This guy can kick a ball to the moon and always makes important tackles. With the wind at his back, it seemed like he was kicking the ball 60+ yards every time. His average was 52 yards on 4 punts. McAfee did bobble a snap which turned into a blocked Vinatieri FG. The Spoiled Goods: Pierre Garcon: I don't care how many catches he made or how he could be a Pro Bowler, he made the stupidest play of the game and it probably came at the price of our first win. Instead of just going to the ground, Garcon caught the ball, got tackled but as he was going to the ground he made some crazy move with his arm while waving the ball around like a loaf of bread and was subsequently stripped. At first glance, it seemed like he might have been trying to lateral the ball a la Ronnie Brown. I'm not sure what was going on, but it's obvious that he got extremely careless at the most crucial point of the game. Prior to Garcon's total brain shutdown, Bengals' kicker Mike Nugent missed a FG and the Colts took over. This drive could have resulted in the tying FG or game-winning TD. Instead, Garcon gives the ball away and the Bengals' defense scoops it up to score the finishing TD. Ball game, folks. While Garcon could have very well been down before fumbling (too close to call, IMO), there is absolutely no logical reason for what he did. This play lands him in Spoiled Goods, despite having a very solid outing up until that very point. His best play probably came on a deep ball which he drew a PI call. This set up the Clark TD. Defensive turnovers: This is the third straight game without a defensive turnover. With this team, we must be able to force turnovers or it becomes a scoring race. We already know that this offense is not going to outscore many teams at 17.4 PPG (#27 in the league). While the defense held up front, the secondary was terrible and missed out on an easy INT, courtesy of Jerraud Powers. We need those plays or the stats say that it's over before we even step on the field. Secondary/Larry Coyer: Every week the secondary seems to get worse and worse. Most of the blame can fall to Coyer's scheme, but let's face it: These guys just are mediocre at this point, at best. Powers hasn't been what anyone has expected as the #1 and I continue to see a huge cushion on 3rd down from Coyer. Talk about frustrating. Jacob Lacey is horrid and the staff finally realized it, resulting in him being yanked from the game in favor of Terrence Johnson. Problem is, Johnson isn't much better, if at all. Why wasn't Kevin Thomas active? Chris Rucker was all over (not in a good way) Green in the end zone. Why he was stuck on Green is beyond me. The cutting of Justin Tryon continues to play out as a stupid, stupid move. Even letting Kelvin Hayden walk to the Falcons seems idiotic at this point. The rookie Andy Dalton put up 264 yards and a TD (8.3 AVG) on us. Oh, and he hit almost 80% of his passes. The Bengals certainly found their man. It's just unfortunate that he didn't fall to us in the second round of the draft. The Colts worked him out and liked him very much. Now we know why. Punt returns: Just make the fair catch or let it go, guys. Blair White and Joe Lefeged each had an "attempt" at returning a punt. Guess how many yards they gained? Five. Not five each, five total. I understand ST blocking comes into play here, but come on. Is it really worth risking a fumble for a two and three yard return? Lefeged also averaged a measly 9.7 yards on three kick returns. Horrible field position is our middle name. The Final Product: Colts 17 - Bengals 27 If you don't force turnovers and commit two crucial ones yourself, you're not going to win. If you win, I'll be the first to take you gambling because you are one lucky you-know-what. Turnovers from Clark and Garcon turned into 14 points for the Bengals. We rebounded from the Clark turnover, but Garcon's drove the nail into the coffin. When you're already plagued by injuries and are constantly struggling to win one game, you can't make these mistakes. The odds are simply not on our side. The Bengals were 2-4 in the red zone, had 11 penalties for 111 yards (yes, 111 yards) and we still couldn't find a way to win. I do have to give it up to the Polian "misfits" and what they have tried to do for this team though. Heck, even Jerry Hughes has recorded a true NFL sack this season. Finally, you want to know the worst thing about the last five losses? Well, like I mentioned already, the fact that they were all very winnable with Cataract Collins/Curtis Painter running the show. However, if you'd like to see what suicide really looks like, take a glance at the AFC South standings. WARNING: You may need to up your daily Jack intake from 2 to 5 bottles. 0-6 is awesome.