I know that Friday morning usually means Eyes in the Backfield, but I’m behind schedule today. Computer problems have derailed the podcast today, but fear not, we’ve written up our thoughts on Sunday’s game. Check back later today or tomorrow morning for Eyes.
1. 3-6-STL 22 (9:45) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short middle to 87-R.Wayne to SL 6 for 16 yards (24-R.Bartell).
DS: Rams bring a delayed blitz which is picked up by Addai. Manning has plenty of time and he hits Wayne on an in route.
DZ: Indy goes four wide, trips left with Collie in closest to the O line. Clark is lined up next to Reggie. It was hard to see the route, but I suspect his presence opened things up.
2. 2-8-STL 36 (7:01) 10-M.Bulger pass deep middle to 17-D.Avery to IND 14 for 50 yards (41-A.Bethea).
DS: Flea-flicker Great play call. Bulger takes the toss from Jackson and hits Avery deep. Should have been a touchdown, but Bulger doesn’t hit him in stride.
DZ: Sometimes the other team just makes a great play call. Both safeties are up on the play, so Hayden has no help deep. He gets beat like a drum as both Sanders and Bethea charge on the run. It’s easy to forgive the safeties, this isn’t the same as biting on a run fake. Hayden has to keep his man in front of him.
3. 1-10-IND 33 (4:40) 31-D.Brown left tackle to SL 22 for 45 yards (21-O.Atogwe).
DS: Like most long runs, this play is set up by great blocking by several individuals. Clark, Johnson and Wayne create a great lane. The MLB can’t slide over quickly enough and Brown is off. I love his power at the end of the play. Very tough to bring down. Nearly runs through it.
DZ: Stretch play left. CJ, Clark and Wayne all get great blocks. No one touches Brown for about 30 yards. Beautiful blocking.
4. 1-15-STL 27 (3:39) 18-P.Manning pass deep left to 44-D.Clark for 27 yards, TOUCHDOWN [91-L.Little].
DS: Clark runs a deep post from the Tight End position. Blanket coverage, but just a brilliant touch pass by Manning, who is hit from behind, after he throws
DZ: How sick was this throw/catch? He dropped it in a six inch window from 30 yards out. Incredible. The only bad part is that Diem gave up the hit on Manning. Still 18 had time to make the throw…barely.
5. 4-9-STL 45 (:14) 5-D.Jones punts 51 yards to IND 4, Center-45-C.Massey. 40-J.Silva to IND 4 for no gain (53-P.Lenon).
DS: Great punt. Hits at the five and is downed by the Rams. Silva picks up the loose ball and attempts to advance it, but is tackled immediately. A great example of the kind of field position the Colts were dealing with most of the day.
DZ: Smart play by Silva. Because the punt had been previously touched, he could return it without fear of reprisal. Even a fumble would have returned to the Colts. Basically, after the punting team touches the ball nothing bad can happen to the returning team if they touch the punt. This punt was the prototype for why the game seemed so conservative. Indy had some bad field position thanks to a series of nice punts and goal line turnovers. They played smart and safe…and won by 40
6. 2-7-STL 11 (7:08) 10-M.Bulger sacked at SL 2 for -9 yards (93-D.Freeney).
DS: Freeney beats the Rookie Left Tackle Jason Smith to the outside. Just runs past him and strips Bulger at the goal line. The refs say Bulger’s forward progress was stopped before the ball came loose. Kind of bizarre.
DZ: Terrible call. Whether his knee was down…I don’t know, but to rule forward progress? Cop out call. It was good to see Caldwell ready to throw the flag. I would describe what Freeney did to Jason Smith as criminal abuse.
7. 2-10-STL 41 (5:32) (Shotgun) 31-D.Brown up the middle to SL 28 for 13 yards (55-J.Laurinaitis). IND-31-D.Brown was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.
DS: Really patient run as Brown makes a quick side step, waiting for the lane to develop. He goes untouched for about 10 yards and then finishes the run strong, picking up extra yards after contact.
DZ: The whole idea that Brown just plows ahead while Addai dances is BS…both ways. Brown shows great vision and patience here. The run looks like it’s designed to go left, and Brown patiently waits for the action to pass and cuts back through a gaping hole. If he was just slamming into the line like Dom, he would never have picked up 10 yards on this. Likewise, if Addai was such a dancer, why is he one of the best short yardage backs in the game? Easy answers both ways. Wrong answers both ways. Great block by Diem. Brown is the complete package, but was also injured on the play.
8. 3-1-STL 6 (2:00) 29-J.Addai right tackle for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
DS: Addai runs through a pair of nice blocks by Diem and Pollak. Nice and easy. Addai’s fifth total touchdown of the season.
DZ: 4 for 4 on third and short on the day running the ball. See my previous point. Clark and Saturday had great blocks too. The Indy O line blew open a big hole on third down. Gotta love it.
9. 2-6-IND 41 (:59) (Shotgun) 10-M.Bulger sacked at IND 45 for -4 yards (68-E.Foster).
DS: The Rams are on their best drive of the day. Bulger drops back, can’t find his first option, and then feels pressure from all sides thanks to a nice rush from the Ends. Foster cleans him up with help from Mathis.
DZ: Bulger sees Mathis coming, gets scared. Foster had GREAT push in the pocket, which gave Bulger no place to go.
10. 3-10-IND 45 (:52) (Shotgun) 10-M.Bulger pass incomplete short middle to 39-S.Jackson [93-D.Freeney].
DS: Great coverage by the LBs and secondary. Mathis does a great spin move to flush out Bulger. Freeney spins from the other side back into Bulger who does well to get a lame pitch away.
DZ: Um, HOLDING! Good Lord, they grabbed Freeney by the neck. That was an unbelievable no call.
11. 3-12-STL 49 (11:57) (Shotgun) 10-M.Bulger pass short left to 39-S.Jackson to SL 48 for -1 yards (68-E.Foster).
DS: I think it was Mark Twain who once said, “Screen plays are the last resort of liars and scoundrels.” Foster must have had that in mind when he sniffed this one out. He is playing at a very high level right now.
DZ: Foster jumped to everyone’s attention with his brilliant play against the Steelers last year, and showed up all day on Sunday. Nice pressure by Brock on the stunt. Simply a great read by Foster to blow up the play.
12. 1-10-IND 37 (7:46) 39-S.Jackson right tackle to IND 24 for 13 yards (26-K.Hayden).
DS: Jackson follows right behind the full back who takes out Bethea. Jackson then steps out of a tackle by Brackett, who appears to be held from behind by the Left Tackle. Hayden finally brings him down.
DZ: This run came in the middle of a series of big runs by Jackson. Each was a little different. A couple were just sick moves by Jackson (including an incredible spin away from Session). On another, the safeties ran backwards at the snap, ignoring the run because of the big lead. On this one, the LBs were slow to react. They were blocked to the left, and the run was back to the right. Bethea gets crushed by the fullback to open a huge hole. This was one of the only runs that would ‘worry me’ as a Colts fan. Most of the others were just great individual plays by a great player.
13. 2-11-IND 25 (6:28) 10-M.Bulger sacked at IND 35 for -10 yards (sack split by 90-D.Muir and 55-C.Session).
DS: Colts blitz Session, which appears to help Muir force his way through the line. Session and Freeney pile on. Very physical play by the starting DT.
DZ: The Colts come with the blitz, but it’s the DT that makes the play. The blitz has lead to some additional sacks by the Dline, but the blitzers themselves are rarely, if ever, getting home. Muir just makes a great individual play here and Session helps him clean up.
14. 1-10-STL 24 (1:10) 10-M.Bulger pass short right INTERCEPTED by 27-J.Lacey at SL 35. 27-J.Lacey for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN. PENALTY on IND-27-J.Lacey, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced between downs.
DS: Freeney gets a great rush and is about to kill Bulger when the quarterback releases the ball. Lacey gets a nice jump on the poor throw and it is all over.
DZ: Bulger is scared witless at this point. He knows the pressure is coming, and just telegraphs one. Lacey’s dreams come true. He’s proved to be quite a find. The penalty was absurd. That was not a disrespectful celebration. The NFL needs to get a grip. It’s like they had SEC refs working this game.
15. 4-7-IND 11 (10:36) (Shotgun) 10-M.Bulger pass short right intended for 14-K.Burton INTERCEPTED by 26-K.Hayden at IND 1. 26-K.Hayden to IND 7 for 6 yards (14-K.Burton).
DS: Strange route by the receiver on the play. Burton loops around behind Hayden and is in no way open when Bulger throws the ball. It is fourth down and Bulger has to chuck it. Nice to see #26 back in action.
DZ: Again, pressure and fourth down lead to a pick. He sees Mathis looping around, freaks and chucks it. Awful route, Hayden makes the play. Maybe he doesn’t even throw it if it isn’t fourth down. Hayden would have been better served batting down the pass, but who can blame him for wanting the stats.
16. 3-16-IND 49 (3:52) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass incomplete deep middle to 85-P.Garcon. PENALTY on SL-21-O.Atogwe, Defensive Pass Interference, 43 yards, enforced at IND 49 – No Play.
1-8-STL 8 (3:46) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short middle to 17-A.Collie for 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
DS: Manning goes deep to Garcon, but there’s pretty good inside coverage by the safety. He ultimately commits the penalty to set up a first and goal. I though St. Louis actually did a nice job in coverage, although they had extra defensive backs most of the day.
This is about the easiest looking touchdown you’ll ever see. Collie makes a nice cut and finds himself wide open.
DZ: This was clearly PI, the guy grabbed Frenchy’s arm. I should have actually listed the previous PI penalty on Frenchy here too. He gives and he takes away. His speed opens things up, but he makes a lot of mistakes.
17. 4-1-STL 31 (2:41) (Shotgun) 10-M.Bulger pass incomplete short right to 17-D.Avery.
DS: Lacey provides very physical coverage on Avery who drops the ball on an in route.
18. 1-10-STL 31 (2:37) 35-C.Simpson left end for 31 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
DS: Foster, Johnson and Clark seal off the left end and Simpson turns on the jets. Very fast. He runs away from Laurinaitis, who didn’t have a very good game.
DZ: It was a nice moment for Simpson who has been cut once already, and could always be cut again.