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 lowly Indianapolis Colts vs. the Oakland Raidahs.
What: Week 16 of the 2016 NFL season. I can’t believe it’s almost over.
Where: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA. Great, a baseball stadium.
When: 4:25 PM Eastern. Saturday, December 24th. TV: CBS. Saturday has the potential to be a bad day, Colts fans. If both Tennessee and Miami win, the Colts will take the field knowing they’ve been eliminated. To make it worse, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be on the call for this game. This weekend is going to be bizarre because of the holidays. There will be games on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re confused about who is on when, you can find out here.
In honor of the classic Christmas film “Christmas Vacation,” here we go….
Why the Colts will score more than the other guys:
1. “Can’t see the line, can you Russ?” Part 1
The Colts take the field knowing they’re still alive, as Miami has lost in the snow at Buffalo. It’s glass full/glass half empty though, as Tennessee has rallied from a 21 point deficit against Jacksonville and appears poised to pull of another inexplicable comeback win
since they can only beat everyone but the Colts.
With Denzelle Good back from a concussion, the Colts also take the field with another different starting offensive line combination. This time, the glass is empty. Against Khalil Mack and the vaunted Raidahs pass rush, the Colts are unable to do much of anything. Andrew Luck is futilely running for his life, like a cat wrapped inside a Christmas gift. The Colts’ line look like a bunch of turkeys.
This kind of turkey:
Trailing 28-7 midway through the 2nd quarter, Chuck Pagano has finally seen enough of his disgusting jello mold of a line and inserts rookie Le’Raven Clark at right tackle. Joe Haeg moves to right guard replacing the struggling Good. It works. On the sideline, the team gets word that Jacksonville has defeated Tennessee in overtime on a 74-yard field goal by the just-signed Josh Scobee.
Buoyed by the bonus protection, Luck hits his stride. He starts dropping dimes on the Raidahs like so many Griswold Christmas lights. The Colts storm back, and after Luck hits Phillip Dorsett with a 50-yard bomb
he miraculously doesn’t drop, they take a 45-44 lead with just 54 seconds left.
2. “Merry Christmas! Sh**ter was full!”
Oakland’s stadium is well known for being a dump, so much so that its two tenants have begged the state of California for a new stadium on multiple occasions. The Raiders hated it so much they even moved to Los Angeles during the 1980’s, and appear poised to move to Las Vegas in the near future. On multiple occasions – during/after games and even when the place is not in use – the stadium has been overrun by leaking sewage. Once, the owner of the A’s showed up to eat at one of the Coliseum’s restaurants while his team was on the road and couldn’t because it was flooded by sewage. Oakland Coliseum, truly The Toilet Bowl.
With 54 seconds remaining between them and their season going down the toilet, the Colts kick off, and Pat McAfee booms one deep, forcing the Raidahs to start from their 25. While their stadium stinks, one thing about the Raiders that doesn’t is their 2 minute offense. It’s one of the best in the league. 54 seconds is more than enough time.
After a couple of completions only gain a few yards, on 3rd down Derek Carr hits Amari Cooper with a 20-yard strike to move the ball to midfield. Rather than wasting their last time out, the Raiders rush to spike the ball and stop the clock. Lost in the chaos of the moment are the appearances of several puddles in the middle of the field in the direction the Raiders are driving.
Another completion to Cooper moves the ball to the 32, and the Raiders use their time out. 2 seconds remain, and out steps Sebastian Janikowski – apparently oblivious to the mess around him – to attempt the winning kick.
The snap is good…
As holder Marquette King places the ball down, the force sends what looks like a geyser into the air. Janikowski twists to avoid it, and slips as he kicks the ball, sending what appears to be brown turf flying everywhere.
It’s up…and it’s…
A jubilant Chuck Pagano befuddles CBS’ Tracy Wolfson with his post game comments: “We’re a clean football team. We had our Tidy Bowl out there, and we just kept swirlin’. That’s what I told our guys. Just win, baby.”
The next day, the story becomes a crap fest, as the Raiders submit stadium footage – apparently shot by fans Todd and Margo – to the league office that appears to implicate Pat McAfee as the culprit behind the crappy field conditions. National media quickly jump on the story, dubbing it “CrapGate.” Several members of the Indy media will note that they noticed McAfee wearing a blue leisure suit when the team boarded its flight home, but wrote it off as “Pat being Pat” and “Hey look, Pat’s dressed like us.” When asked during his press conference if he intends to pursue CrapGate, Roger Goodell declines, saying only “The NFL looks forward to partnering with the City of Las Vegas for many years to come.”
In a Colts Authority exclusive, the author was able to obtain said stadium footage. Take a look:
I mean…it *does* look like McAfee, but hear no crap, speak no crap, smell no crap. He’s innocent.
3. “Can’t see the line, can you Russ?” Part 2
In the true spirit of the movie….
Merry Christmas, indeed.
4. Christmas Bonus
This isn’t jelly, although he runs like he’s stuck in jelly. Nope, this is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year, every year. Peyton Manning made so many terrific plays during his career, but I will argue this belongs in the top five. This happened the last time the Colts played at The Toilet Bowl.
Contains strong “goofy white guy running with the football” content.
Contains strong Dan Dierdorf content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Random kidnapping scene photo courtesy of Marcus Dugan:
Merry Christmas, everyone. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, revel in the fact you probably don’t have to go to work or you’re off school. Eat, drink, be kind and kick back and enjoy it.
Colts 45, Raiders 44