To help pass time this off-season, I've reviewed the Colts' regular season games from 2009. With this second look at how the team played, a few thoughts have occured to me which were not obvious during the initial viewing, and I thought it a good opportunity to rethink some of my previously held opinions of the team I love. So, with your kind indulgence, as I view a game at a time I'll be sharing my impressions.Personal Note: This is not, and was never intended to be, an objective, unbiased review of an NFL contest. It is instead a glimpse into the emotional ride experienced by the average Colt fan at game time. My Homerism switch is engaged and turned up to eleven. With that in mind, I invite you to join me as we re-live the highs and lows of the 2009 Indianapolis Colts season.
Today's Game: Week 10 - New England Patriots at Indianapolis ColtsSetting The Stage
- The Colts come into the game 8-0, one of two undefeated teams, and with a defense which leads the league in points allowed. Tom Brady and Randy Moss lead the Patriots into the game at 6-2 and lead the AFC East. Colts injuries include Bob Sanders, Tyjuan Hagler, Aaron Francisco, and Kelvin Hayden. Kyle DeVan starts his second game at right guard.
- The Field: It’s a Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis IN. The roof is closed.
- The Crowd: Loud early, very subdued in the second and third quarters... yeah, I can see why. The fourth is a totally different story. They're rockin’ crazy at the end.
- The Network Coverage: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Collinsworth talking up Brown; ‘They don’t really lose a lot with Addai out’. And from Michaels, ‘This is McAfee’s fourth punt. When was the last time you saw a Colts’ punter with four punts in the first 21 minutes of a game?’ Collinsworth with a good observation that, during a second quarter where the Pats could do no wrong and the Colts could do no right, Indy is going back to basics on offense. He also mentions that, after Clark had 14 receptions for 119 yards last week, Belichick said ‘Believe me, he won’t have 14 against us’. Clark ended up with four. In the third, Collinsworth notes that the Pats have been playing two deep safeties and that, in the NFL, you have to be able to run on that formation. To compensate, the Colts have brought in an extra TE and are having some success on the ground. Coverage seems balanced; lots of praise for Manning, lots of praise for Brady. The theme of the game is ‘Teams of the Decade’.
- I find it interesting that Jacob Lacey lines up opposite Randy Moss to start the game. Good coverage on Tom Brady's first pass, but a completion of six yards. Both teams with a three-and-out to start the game.
- On the Colt's second series, Dallas Clark gets open over the middle for 25 yards. Great protection, and Clark slips out untouched, makes the reception, and breaks out of a tackle attempt to earn seven YAC. Then, Garçon with a great, stabbing catch for 14 and a first down at mid-field. Good to see the kid has dependable hands occasionally.
- Reggie! Wayne comes up huge with a toe-tapping, sideline reception for 25 yards and another first. Colts looking sharp and moving well, and the crowd is going wild. Peyton calls for the quick-snap, and Belichick is forced into a hasty decision; he throws the challenge flag. The play is confirmed, and Indy is inside the Pat's 30. Poor use of a time out, Mr. Bill. We don’t know it yet, but this will become a trend.
- TD, Addai! After another nice completion to Clark over the middle to the Pats’ 14, Peyton fakes the hand off, pivots, and fakes a screen to the right before dumping off short to Addai in the middle. Joe takes it at the 17 and weaves his way in for the touchdown. Lilja with two great blocks; a chip to give 18 time and a down-field chop block to open up the last five yards. Clark and Wayne with good down-field blocking as well. Joe jams his finger on this play and exits to the locker room. In response to the score, Belichick looks happy. No, he’s angry. Sad? It's hard to tell 'cause he always looks the same. Colts score first on the 90 yard, eight play drive and lead 7-0.
- Wow. Colts' lead doesn't last long. A perfect pass from Brady to Moss over the middle for 55 yards moves New England to the Colts’ six. That would have been a score if not for Melvin Bullitt's speed to cut off Moss’ angle and contain him until Lacey can make the tackle. Two straight runs by Maroney, and NE ties the game, 7-7. That was too easy. Come on, Defense.
- Ugh. After a second Pat McAfee punt puts NE at their 30, Kevin Faulk with a 29 yard run over left tackle. Jerraud Powers hits Faulk hard but can’t wrap him up. Robert Mathis shows impressive speed, running down Faulk from behind. Then, Moss with a nice sideline catch for 20 yards on third-and-six. Brady quick snaps, on the next play, to assure the Colts’ don’t have a chance to challenge; no gain. Replay shows the play was good anyway. Pats’ ball on the Colts’ 21. End of the quarter.
- Sack! Powers comes THIS close to an INT on first-and-goal from the Colts’ six, and then on third-and-goal, Mathis pushes the right tackle backward, disengages, and sprints to take down Brady. If Mathis hadn’t gotten him, Freeney was right there. Loss of ten, and New England lines up for the FG attempt. NE takes the lead, 10-7.
- Ugh. Patriots score again. Colts go three-and-out again, and on the Pats' second play, Moss on the receiving end of a 63 yard bomb down the right side. Bethea with good coverage, getting his hands in between Moss’ and pulling the left arm away. But Randy is able to collect the pass and control it with the right hand. Pats up 17-7. Get comfortable cause it's gonna get worse.
- Sack. Peyton is over-thinking things. He thinks he sees a potential blitz and changes the play with four seconds on the play clock. That’s just not enough time for the line to adjust. The result is an unblocked defender, a sack, plus a penalty for illegal formation. Colts self-destructing, and McAfee with his fourth punt.
- Touchdown, Pats. Five plays, 57 yards capped by a nine yard pass over the middle. Mathis almost had Brady for a sack, but Tom shrugs it off, side-steps, and hits Julian Edelman. That’s 24 unanswered points, and NE ups its lead to 24-7. This is downright painful.
- Colts are finally moving the ball, down by 17. Wayne with a couple nice catches and a pass interference penalty moves Indy into NE territory. I like how Reggie twists and turns to get as much yardage after the catch as possible, and then dives to avoid the collision. Reminds me of Marvin.
- With Addai and Brown both hurt, Simpson gets a few carries. Nice decision to ignore Ryan Diem’s lead block, accelerate into the hole, and take advantage of nice down-field blocking by Clark and Garçon. Saturday with a really nice pull and containment block. Gain of 16 to the Pats’ 20.
- TD, Reggie! While Peyton is checking down, Wayne turns toward 18 and waves. Manning appears to nod. Great protection as Peyton drops back, waits for Reggie to uncover, and hits him at the back of the end zone. The Colts’ TD awakens the crowd, brings the Colts to within 24-14, and ends what had been a horrible drought since early in the first.
- Three and out! Finally. Brady has a perfect passer rating of 153.3 heading into the Pat’s next drive, but the D steps up huge. Colts get the ball at their 25 with 3:54 remaining.
- Oh wonderful; now Simpson is hurt (head injury). And Garçon's having a rough night. Manning with a nice, 40 yard pass over Garçon’s right shoulder, but Pierre looks awkward trying to bring it in. With Clark getting double-coverage, Garçon gets man-to-man and had his guy beat. Colts can’t move the ball and they punt yet again. Ramon Humber and Phillip Wheeler with good containment to force the returner out at the NE 36. Will this quarter never end?
- Great penetration by Mathis! Brady fakes to his left and then turns to toss a screen to the right. Before he can get set, Mathis splits his double team and lunges at Brady; incomplete pass, and NE punts.
- Ugh. Austin Collie looking like the rookie he is with two bad plays in a row. With time winding down, Austin is targeted twice on the Colts’ last drive of the first half. On one, he drops a perfectly placed pass. On the other, he and Peyton are on totally different pages. I'm reminded that after a player makes a mistake, Peyton likes to go right back to them to help bolster their confidence. Sure didn't work this time, and the Colts punt yet again; their sixth thus far.
- Brady has waayyy too much time to find receivers; Moss to the left, Moss to the right, Moss deep. Ok, time to throw one to Welker. New England driving on the first series of the second half, and the Colts aren't getting any pressure on him. Freeney has been contained with single coverage, for the most part, by the rookie left tackle, Vollmer. This guy is impressive.
- INT, Bethea! With no pressure, Brady waits for Moss to get open, steps up, and launches the ball from the Colts’ 34 into the end zone. Antoine with a great read and the speed to get across field and into position for a leap to steal the ball. Collinsworth points out that Brady mis-reads the safeties; Bullitt vacates the area trailing a WR and Tom thinks he’s got single coverage (Jennings). But Bethea anticipates the throw and comes over to help Jennings. Note: Jennings had really good position on Moss (actually had a better shot at the ball than Moss did) and may have made the INT himself. Colts’ ball! Caldwell is smiling and clapping. Oooo, and look! There’s a cheerleader shaking her pom-poms!
- Awesome completion to Wayne for 20. Colts with a third-and-six, at their own 18. Trips lefts (Collie, Clark, Wayne) and Garçon right. With great protection against the four man rush, Manning has time to let the route develop, and arcs the pass over the defenders’ shoulder to Wayne. Colts are driving.
- Interception. OK, that didn’t last long. Just when you think the offense has awakened, a horrible throw by Manning leads to an easy INT. He had Garçon open down the right sideline, but floated an ugly pass five yards short and several yards inside. Pats’ ball at their own 12. That was not pretty.
- Man, the defense just can’t stop them. Welker for 13. Maroney for 8. Faulk for 10. Moss for 12. Baker for… who? No pressure... none. Brady is hitting anybody and everybody, and the Pats have accumulated 370 yards thus far. And it's only halfway through the third quarter. Bullitt takes down Faulk after a gain of nine and goes out with a bad shoulder... wonderful. Silva replaces him at SS. And finally, somebody (Brock) hits Brady, and he goes down… unfortunately, it’s after a completion of 5 to the Colts’ 3. But at least there was pressure. First-and-goal, Patriots.
- FUMBLE! Phillip Wheeler strips the ball from Maroney; recovered in the end zone by Brackett. That’s the Pats’ second turnover of the quarter, and the Colts’ dodge another bullet! You can just make out Wheeler’s jersey number 50 over Bethea's head.
- I didn't think it was possible, but it just got worse. Addai can’t haul in an over-the-shoulder pass on third-and-six, so the Colts punt. Bad punt, bad coverage, bad tackling… it’s all bad. Welker takes the punt at his 34, accelerates past three Colts, weaves his way to the sideline, picks up blockers, and scoots all the way to the Colts’ seven. That’s 69 yards and a first-and-goal to start the fourth quarter. So that's what a lane is supposed to look like.
- Ok. Who put Jennings on Moss? Does anyone really think 23 can cover Moss one-on-one? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Moss makes it… no, the entire Pats team makes it look easy. Pats 31-14 on the first play after the huge punt return. This is awful. The entire second quarter sucked, and the third wasn’t much better. And look. There’s a fat hump… wearing a Manning jersey. As if there wasn’t enough reason to gouge my eyes out. This is painful, and there’s a whole quarter left.
- Simpson’s back in, after the head injury, and takes the kickoff one yard deep. He returns it, you guessed it, to the 20. At least he’s OK.
- Ok, that’s a bit better; 20 yard completion to Clark to the left, 10 yards to Garçon to the right, and an Addai run to the left of nine. Colts in NE territory. Nice run by Simpson! On second-and-one, at the Pats’ 40, 18 hands to Simpson who follows Lilja and CJ up the middle, for three, plus eight after contact. Nice power running, guys. Is that the crowd I hear?
- TD, Garçon! Simpson’s run seems to have energized the O-line. Great protection as Manning hits Garçon up the right sideline, on the slant and go for the touchdown. After a few key drops, Pierre with a great move to fool the DB, and good acceleration to give 18 just enough opening to lead him perfectly. A Matt Stover extra point, and the Colts are within 10 at 31-21.
- Wow. McAfee puts it 8 yards deep. Pats start at their 20, up ten, with 12:14 remaining.
- Mathis strip-sack! With New England moving the ball again, Robert around left end, pushed beyond the QB, but leaps to hit Brady’s hand as he’s about the throw. Ball is loose but recovered by NE. That was a big hit on Brady by Dan Muir. Finally, we’re getting some pressure. And Mathis again! Following the sweep on the previous play, he uses the bull-rush to shove the LT backward and hits Brady’s arm in motion. Incomplete, and NE punts. Colts at their 18, down by 10, with 7:54 remaining.
- And the Colts’ drive consists of one play and consumes exactly ten seconds as Manning turns the ball over yet again. 18 and 87 were on two different pages... actually, worlds... 87 cutting inside and 18 leading him down field. Easy, easy interception, and it’s NE ball at the Colts’ 32. The crowd had responded to the big play by the defense, but the INT has them sitting on their hands again. Still, the defense holds, and the Pats settle for the FG. Colts get the ball back, down 13, with 4:07 remaining.
- Protection breaks down, and Manning gets planted as he throws. The pass is under thrown, but Collie adjusts nicely for a 15 yard completion. Colts in NE territory. A second pass to Collie results in a defensive PI call, and moves the ball 31 yards to the Pat’s 13. Finally, the offense is moving the ball. Haha. Now, a nine yard completion to Clark, and they show Moss standing on the sideline shaking his head. Nice!
- Touchdown, Colts! On third-and-one, Addai darts up the middle for the score. Great trap blocking by Diem and a lead block by Clark allow Joe to scoot in untouched for his second touchdown of the night. Colts cut the Pat’s lead to six with a six play, 79 yard drive. Score is 34-28 with 2:23 remaining.
- NE lines up for the onside kick, but McAfee puts it over their heads for the touch back. Pats’ ball at their 20.
- Final New England Drive:
- First-and-Ten: Hmmm... Brady takes a timeout. Interesting. That's their first. Faulk stopped for no gain! Raheem Brock with great penetration up the middle to take down Faulk for no gain. Colts take a timeout with 2:18 on the clock.
- Second-and-Ten: A quick completion to Welker to the right for eight yards. Lacey and Session make sure he doesn't add on any additional yards. Like the defense, the crowd has picked it up a notch. Colts take their second timeout with 2:11 remaining.
- Third-and-Two: Colts blitz, and Brady has to force his throw to Welker at the sticks on the right sideline. Powers! Jerraud has great coverage, leaps to break up the pass, and almost makes the dinterception. Without Jerraud's excellent play, that most definitely would have been a first down, but the clock stops on the incompletion with 2:08 remaining.
- Fourth-and-Two: Pats take their final timeout to discuss strategy. Collinsworth and Michaels are shocked to see that they’re going for it on fourth down at their own 28. Stopped! Faulk stopped by Bullitt! Excellent penetration by Gary Brackett and the front four forces another rushed pass by Brady; this one targeting Faulk. Faulk makes the catch, but is bobbling the ball when Bullitt hits him. By the time Faulk has gained possession, he's been pushed back behind the first down marker. The play started prior to the two minute warning, and Belichick's wasted his time outs, so there's no challenge. The crowd is going nuts, and rightly so. That. Was. Amazing. Aided by the Powers and Bullitt plays, the Colts' defense comes up big on the most important series of the game.
- Colts come out of the two minute warning with the ball at the Pats’ 29, down by six. Good protection gives Peyton time to find Wayne for 16 and a first down. Colts huddle to run the clock. On the sideline, Coach Caldwell looks as calm as can be and Robert Mathis asks for quiet. Are you both crazy!?
- Addai for 13! Just when you think the Colts can't run the ball, Joe scoots behind CJ and Lilja and almost scores. The last Pats' defender hits him at the six, and Joe drags him to the one yard line. Colts huddle and watch the clock.
- First-and-goal, from the one, with 36 seconds on the clock. Addai is stopped for a loss of one. Now, the Colts have to hurry.
- TOUCHDOWN! Second-and-goal. At the two. Manning takes a three step drop and hits Reggie on the slant. 87 with a lunging grab to haul in the go ahead score. That was pretty! Reggie leaps into the stands to celebrate with the fans, and even Peyton allows himself a couple high-fives, while the crowd is going nuts. Wooooo Hooooo… shake those pom-poms, girl!
- An extra point listed under key plays? You bet your sweet bippy! It's totally quiet while Stover lines up the kick. The kick is good, the Colts have a 35-34 lead, and the crowd breathes again. Awesome!
- Cody Glenn! Wicked hit on the kickoff, slicing in from the outside, meeting Keiaho at the returner, and sending the returner flying a good three yards in the air. To land where, you ask? How about just SHY of the 20 for a change? Yeah, baby! I sat through three painful quarters for this, and I’m gonna enjoy it! The final play is a completion to Welker who tries to lateral it. Lame! Play is dead. Game is over. Pats’ playoff hopes are dashed. That makes me happy. Is that wrong? Final score: Colts 35-34.
- The Offense: After moving the ball well and scoring on their first possession, the next two quarters are awful. Protection is not good, Peyton goes down four times, there are too many dropped passes, and no run game to speak of. The offense is totally hot and cold, controlling the line of scrimmage on one series and completely getting blown off the ball on another.
- The Defense: Three-and-out to start the game. Interesting to see Silva at CB on third-and-three. They can’t do anything right in the second quarter as Brady burns them play after play after play and scores at will in the second. But they turn the tide in the fourth on consecutive, critical stops. DFree has one of his worst games, statistically; Mathis has one of his better games and eventually draws double coverage. Melvin Bullitt gets a game ball... maybe two of them.
- Special Teams: It seems like Cody Glenn has been in a lot of plays tonight, although he whiffs on an open field tackle attempt to start the second half after doing a nice job to split defenders; makes me wonder if we won’t see more of this guy in 2010. That hit on the final kickoff was incredible. Ramon Humber is quite active and involved in tackles. Watching Melvin Bullitt and Jerraud Powers out there makes me wonder if we'll ever have enough ST talent that our starters don't haven’t to play ST. 2010, maybe?
- It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. They looked like the best team in the league. They looked like the worst team in the league. They beat the best team in the league. They beat the worst team in the league. There’s just no making sense out of this game, or the fourth-and-two decision. I will say that you gotta really respect your opponent to go for it from your own 28 with the game on the line.
- Turns out, Addai hurt his fingers pretty bad on the touchdown reception in the first. He jammed the fingers of his right hand protecting the ball. Brown replaces him on the next series, Simpson replaces Brown later on. Where’s Hart?
- There’s much hype, throughout the game, surrounding ‘The Rivalry of the Decade’. NBC surveyed the 20 living HOF QBs and asked ‘If you had to pick Manning or Brady to QB your team, who would you choose and why?’; result was 13.5 for Peyton, 2.5 for Tom, with 4 abstentions (Montana split: Tom in the first, Peyton in the second, Bradshaw & Elway chose Tom because of the rings, Aikman & Fouts chose Manning, Young with an abstention). Other comparisons: Colts with 109 reg season wins, Pats with 108. At the time, the Colts had won 12 or more games in six straight seasons (2009 makes it seven).
- Both teams are unstoppable when they get hot. They play to a draw in the first and third quarters. The Pats owned the second, and the Colts owned much of the fourth, when it counted. When they’re not hot, both teams look awful (ok, the other team’s D has something to do with that); nine punts in the first half wasn't pretty.
- Freeney not having much impact today; he’s been neutralized by the LT, Vollmer, and has seen the occasional double-team. He ends up with zero tackles, zero sacks.
- Oh look! The Patriots lost. oh, wait...
- Oh cool. In one of the aerial shots, they show Victory Field. They've painted a big white shoe in the outfield. Nice!
- Week 1, Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 2, Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins
- Week 3, Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals
- Week 4, Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 5, Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
- Week 6, bye
- Week 7, Indianapolis Colts at St. Louis Rams
- Week 8, San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 9, Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 10, New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 11, Indianapolis Pro Football Team at Baltimore Ravens
- Week 12, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
- Week 13, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 14, Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 15, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 16, New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 17, Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Key Plays1st Qtr:
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Colts squeak out a huge win 35-34 to go 9-0.Total Rushing Colts: 91 yards Pats: 113 yards Total Passing Colts: 316 yards Pats: 364 yards ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Manning: 28-44, 327 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs Wayne: 10 receptions, 126 yards, 2 TDs Clark: 4 receptions, 65 yards Garçon: 3 receptions 50 yards, 1 TD Collie: 6 receptions, 45 yards Addai (receiving): 2 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD Addai (rushing): 10 carries, 41 yards, 1 TD
Other games in the series: