Hello, Colts fans. The key to football is to score more points than the other guys.
I know this and you know this, but our friends in the media need something to talk about in order to justify their jobs. Earlier this summer, a certain baseball announcer acknowledged to me that yes, I was right, the team really does just need to score more than the other guys. Yet each time a game rolls around, there he is giving us keys to the game that never include the bit about scoring.
As he is a highly-compensated professional, I figure that the creation of keys that turn no locks must be a growth industry. So now, it’s my turn.
Who: The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
What: Week 17 of the 2016 NFL season. This is it, folks. Pardon me while I shed some tears.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN.
When: 1 PM Eastern, Sunday, January 1st. We’re hitting the trifecta: Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots for the third time this season. The NFL is otherwise doing us a solid this Sunday, as both networks will be airing doubleheaders. You can find all of that out here.
Why the Colts will score more than the other guys:
1. So what, now what?
The Colts have nothing to play for as far as the post season is concerned, but even so, want to play well and beat a division rival in the process
even one as completely boring as Jacksonville. Thank God this game is in Indianapolis. There are also a trio of players chasing some personal milestones: Andrew Luck (4,000 yards passing, 30 TD passes), TY Hilton (NFL’s leading receiver in yards), and Frank Gore (1,000 yards rushing).
From most to least likely:
1- Luck. If he doesn’t get the 81 needed yards for 4,000, then something went really, really, really wrong. At least one TD pass should be expected as well. 2- Gore. Has topped the needed 37 yards in every game but one this year. 3- Hilton. I don’t lack any faith in TY having a big game, but his yardage lead is slim and he can’t control what the guys chasing him do. He may be helped by guys like Julio Jones and Antonio Brown getting rested early, but would anyone be surprised if Odell Beckham, Jr. puts up a monster game? Nope.
I hope all three meet these milestones, but there’s something more important this Sunday.
2. If this is it…
It’s late in the 4th quarter, and the Colts are clinging to a 3 point lead. A beautiful punt by Pat McAfee pins the Jags at their 10. It’s Bortles time. Although to this point the Colts have done a good job of keeping him contained in the pocket, he’s always a threat. Indeed, on 3rd and 1 from the 19, Bortles is able to move outside and hit Allen Robinson, who takes it out to the Jags’ 45. The fans are getting restless.
On the next play, a whirl appears…a glimmer…something so fast Bortles doesn’t even realize what’s happening until it’s too late. It’s Robert Mathis! He destroys Bortles, knocking the ball loose, where it’s recovered by David Parry. It’s over. Colts win! Before the victory formation snap, Andrew Luck and company pause for a bit so the cheers can continue to fall down on Robert Mathis yet again.
Robert Mathis. My goodness. Talk about overcoming the odds. This was a 5th round pick, a linebacker from Alabama A&M. Too small and too slow to play in the NFL, they said. Bill Polian saw something no one else could see: The quickness, the burst, and the willingness to hone his craft in the film room and the practice field. Together with his partner in crime Dwight Freeney, Mathis became one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. Can you imagine what it was like for opposing QB’s? Think about it: You’re playing in Indy. The Colts have scored to take a 10 point lead. The stadium is going bonkers. You’re lining up to take a 3rd down snap and you realize there’s Freeney on one side and Mathis on the other, both looking to plant you into the ground. It’s open season. Absolutely terrifying.
Robert, if this is it, please understand your efforts and contributions are not and will not be forgotten. You have been part of something special, and rest assured fans like myself don’t take any of it for granted. The Colts’ “ring of honor” will come calling one day, but so will Canton. Thank you for many special moments, and for always giving it your best.
Thank you, Robert.
Colts 27, Jaguars 24