Random thoughts about last night without having gone back to view the tape…
- I think our little debate about what it means to carry a team is settled. No QB has ever carried a team in a game so completely as Manning did last night. 40 attempts, my ass.
- That win was huge. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but the Colts will have a difficult time coming back from that to win Sunday night. After a tough, physical game for the defense, having to go out and play a team that will try to run them out of the gym six days later will be a chore. Late in last night’s game, I had the feeling that if they didn’t pull out the win, they were going to be in real trouble. Now, they can’t go any worse than 2-1 (which is where I figured they’d be).
- Arizona will be the polar opposite from Miami. The Colts match up much better against the Cardinals, so there’s hope at least.
- Don’t confuse lightning in a bottle with good offense. What Peyton did last night was practically impossible. He was under constant pressure. He completed 5 passes to WRs. No one besides Clark and Wayne caught more than one pass.
- The line struggled to figure out where the rush was coming from. On the sack in the third quarter, the back replay makes it look like Addai abandoned his spot and let Porter kill Manning. What I saw from the main angle is that a guy was coming free up the middle and Addai was turning to block him. Meanwhile Diem was standing around not blocking anyone.
- The pass to Brown at the end of the first half was genius.
- I will salute the return of a credible run game. Addai and Brown combined for 5.6 YPC with both backs over 5 yards. I’m not sure why people found it significant that Brown was in at the end last night. He was last week too. That’s the way the Colts do things. In 2006, Addai finished ever game until the playoffs, but then Rhodes was on the field late (esp. against Baltimore and the Bears). I would expect Brown to take the bulk of the fourth quarter carries. It’s just the way they rotate. Last year, Addai saw his carries drop quarter by quarter, while Dom saw his go up quarter by quarter. If you see Brown start and Addai close, that could mean something. This is what I expected all along. They’ll need the run game to work to beat the Cardinals.
- The terrible run defense was troubling because Miami isn’t that great a running team. They weren’t a top 10 running team last year. The Wildcat was an issue last night, but the real problem was that the Colts let a very average running team stomp them.
- Despite the run yards, the defense had opportunities to get off the field. There was a major regression in pass coverage last night. The drop off from Powers to Jennings is severe. Pennington picked on Jennings on several key third down plays. I think that if Powers had played, the game might have gone differently. I don’t sweat the whole “3rd down conversion” stat when there are a lot of 3rd and shorts, but this D has to get off the field on third and 5 or longer. That requires better corner play than they got last night.
- The defense has forced just one turnover in two games (the hail mary at the end). That has to change.
- Freeney worked his butt off last night. Long did incredibly well against him, but he also had help constantly. They doubled Freeney on many of the key plays.
- The fact that an exhausted Mathis got a sack fumble last night was inspiring.
- Eric Foster made some big plays.
- Aren’t you all glad we got new Special Teams and Defensive Coordinators? Coaching is overrated. It’s the players, folks. It always has been.