After an emotional, crazy win a week ago against Kansas City, the Colts were now facing a familiar foe in a hostile environment. The New England Patriots entered the game as the #2 seed in the AFC.
Playing against them in Foxboro is always tough and in order to succeed, the Colts needed to, among other things, stop the run and win the turnover battle. They didn’t do either of them. They were far from it.
Join us for our final report card of the 2013 where we grade the performance of the Colts’ offense, defense and special teams while choosing our best players of the game of this season-ending loss.no comments
Boston TD Party
Tonight was not unlike watching a movie where the villain wins. And what a villain this was. The New England Patriots. Scoundrels, cheaters, soulless wearers of Uggs and hoodies. Okay, they’re not that bad, but there’s no denying that around the NFL, a loss to the Patriots stings a little extra.
Several of the things we all expected happened tonight. The Patriots tried to take T.Y. Hilton away. Hilton moved all over the offensive formations to counter it, also as expected, and still ended up with 4 catches for 106 yards on 6 targets and a 25.8 yard average while Coby Fleener exploited the middle of the field when Hilton was double teamed and reeled in 6 receptions for 74 yards.
Tom Brady even came through by being less than stellar, as some people had predicted: 13/25 for 198 yards, 2 sacks, and a 78.4 QB rating.
12 Things to Watch in Saturday's Colts-Patriots Game
Luck is not left handed!
Last week, the Colts shocked everyone by winning a game they were supposed to win, albeit in a way no one expected them to do it. This week, the playoffs continue as they travel to Foxboro, MA, to take on the New England Patriots. Here's what to watch for...
1. Watch the choice. The Patriots have the 27th-ranked run defense by DVOA. Throw in bad weather, a legendary opponent and underdog status, and it's all right there for Chuck Pagano. Does he stick with the no-huddle passing offense, or does he try and return to his roots. The Colts lack the ability to take full advantage of the Pats on the ground. Every carry given to Trent Richardson is a waste, and I'm not sure the most effective use of Brown is to pound him into the line 25 times. In other words, if the Colts are going to win, it's going to be with what got them this far in the first place. Pagano has to make a choice between what he knows works and what he believes works.no comments
The Indianapolis offense exploded for 45 points last Saturday in what I’ve decided is my third-favorite game of the modern Colts era (1998 on), a 45-44 Wild Card win over the Chiefs. The last time Indy scored 45 points? November 26, 2006, in a 45-21 win over the Eagles. Rocky Boiman and Cato June both had four tackles in that game, and Joseph Addai ran for four touchdowns.
Gaudy point total aside, the Colts’ offensive line wasn’t particularly great. They fell off quite a bit in pass blocking after four straight strong showings. Both tackles had poor games, and Mike McGlynn failed to live up to his modest standards. Hugh Thornton and Samson Satele (!!!) played extremely well, but the real difference was that the offense finished drives. Oh, and Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Donald Brown were spectacular. At long last, Pep Hamilton has revamped his offense to feature Luck, and it’s working.
I don’t mean to suggest the line had nothing to do with the outburst. On the Colts’ six touchdown plays, they missed only one block: McGlynn’s faceplant on Luck’s fumble recovery touchdown, which we can find funny now because the Colts scored:
Heh. He didn’t even touch anyone.
In terms of percentages, the run blocking was again underwhelming (on just 13 running plays), but the Colts were able to block effectively when they needed to. They had three runs on which no one missed a block, leading to 5-, 10-, and 13-yard carries by Donald Brown (the 10-yard one was a touchdown). Indy’s second-to-last drive, which was the game’s most pivotal to my eyes, started and ended with Brown runs for no gain, but in between he had carries of 7, 6, and 4 yards behind some outstanding blocks by Thornton.
All told, they’ll probably need a better offensive line performance than this to beat the Patriots on Saturday. Then again, if the newly unleashed Luck gets hot, it might not matter.
DISCLAIMER: Grading offensive line play is inevitably subjective, since it’s impossible to know assignments and how the linemen are coached. Still, subjective scores provide a useful baseline for qualitative analysis. These scores are based on whether the linemen appeared to succeed in their assignments, based on their apparent targets and how the plays developed. I assign all blocks a grade of ‘+’ (good block), ‘-’ (bad block) or ‘/’ (not involved, usually meaning the lineman couldn’t find anyone to block); ‘/’ plays are not scored. My charting table is included at the bottom of this post. I welcome criticism and commentary.no comments
Willie McGinest's heart attack, Walt Coleman's pass interference masterpiece, the comeback, 4th-and-2. The Colts and Patriots have produced some of the most thrilling, dramatic football games over the past decade.
On Saturday, they'll renew their rivalry, as the Indianapolis Colts travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. Will Andrew Luck's Colts be able to do what the Manning Colts never could - beat the Patriots in Gillette Stadium during the playoffs? Or will Tom Brady and the Patriots pick up where they left off in last year's 59-24 regular season drubbing of the upstart Colts?
Win or lose, it'll be Dan Dierdorf's last chance to verbally assault our eardrums and brains, so we've got that going for us...no comments
With 9:11 left in the third quarter of their wild-card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Indianapolis Colts found themselves trailing by 21 points.
It was a HOME playoff game, against a team they'd beat by 16 a few weeks earlier. They weren't supposed to be in this position. They had scored a quick touchdown on the drive before, with quarterback Andrew Luck hitting Da'Rick Rogers for a big gain before running back Donald Brown reached the end zone for the first of his two touchdowns in the game.
But, the Chiefs were moving the ball once again, and had gotten into Colts territory. The Colts had been unable to slow the Chiefs attack all game, with Alex Smith and the zone read killing Indianapolis in th first half, even without superstar running back Jamaal Charles.
The Colts needed a big play. They needed a turnover. Everything had gone wrong up to this point. The Colts needed the ball to start bouncing their way.
But for the ball to bounce their way, the Colts first needed to knock it out of Smith's surprisingly competent hands. There was only one player to turn to.
Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea, and Adam Vinatieri. After Vince Wilfork's injury, those are the only players left on either team from Indy’s 38-34 AFC Championship victory in January 2007, the last time these teams faced each other in the playoffs (h/t Football Outsiders’ Scott Kacsmar).
The history and respect between the two franchises is undeniable, but with so many new faces on both sidelines, it has little bearing on Saturday’s Divisional round matchup in Foxborough.
“Yeah, impressive history,” Coby Fleener said of the longstanding AFC rivalry, “but it won’t have an impact on how we game plan for this game and how we play it ultimately on Saturday.”