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.
Welcome to Why The Colts Will Score More Than The Other Guys
Who: The Tennessee Titans vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
What: Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN.
When: 1 PM Eastern, Sunday, November 20. TV: CBS. We’ve hit the jackpot, fans. Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots for the third time this season! If you get bored and want to watch other games, you can check your regional listings here.
Why the Colts will score more than the other guys:
1. So what, now what?
The Colts beat the crappy Titans a few weeks ago. They beat the less-crappier Packers a couple of weeks ago (and made my tea lizard Packers fan friend cry). The crappy Titans whooped the now-crappy Packers last week. What does this mean? Hell if I know.
So what, now what?
It’s reunion time!
That’s right, tomorrow is the 10 year (!) reunion of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship team. I can’t speak for you guys, but I’m absolutely stoked about Josh Betts and Robert Morris emerging from the shadows to reclaim past moments of glory (Yeah, I know. Who?). Roughly 40 of our former heroes will be on hand to party it up and share their tales from the glory days. We’ll get to hear about how it didn’t just rain during the game, it was actually a Category 4 hurricane. We’ll hear about how Kelvin Hayden’s game sealing interception return was actually a 175-yard return where he was chased by a hungry pack of Velociraptors. Gary Brackett will swear that when Bob Sanders hit Cedric Benson and caused a fumble, Benson’s head actually came off his body. Wait, I think that really happened.
Speaking of Demond “Bob” Sanders…talk is he probably won’t be there this weekend, but there is a chance. To be honest, I’d forgotten about him, and that seems crazy to me now considering I bought his jersey back in 2005. I’m not the jersey buying type, either. I own four: Manning (something bought for me that I didn’t ask for), Wayne (bought myself), Luck (given to me), and Demond Sanders. If I buy a jersey, I love a guy, and I loved Demond Sanders. As the reunion drew closer, it was disappointing for me to read some comments belittling him for the fact he was injured a lot. It’s weird how fans react when a Junior Seau or a Dave Duerson, their minds and bodies ravaged from the violence of playing this sport we all love, take their own lives, yet people have no problem popping off and poking fun at guys who get hurt a lot from the same violence of the same sport. Sanders was hurt a lot. In fact, he had a boot on his foot when the Colts drafted him. I wasn’t very familiar with him at the time, but I remember seeing a clip of a him playing against Michigan State and he absolutely obliterated TJ Duckett. Ducket went about 6’1″ and 260 pounds; he was a load, and to see a “little guy” like the 5’8″ 206 pound Sanders destroy him sure made me happy.
And there was more where that came from. There are probably too many to even think about mentioning. My favorite – which I am unable to link to without jumping through hoops, which I refuse to do for NFL.com – was the one on Willie Parker in the MNF game during the 2005 season. If you watched the game I’m sure you remember it. I can guarantee Willie Parker does, because I’m almost certain he’d never been body slammed on a football field before. A few months later, Willie Parker scored on the longest run in Super Bowl history. He was fast. He was not as fast as Demond Sanders, though. And Maurice Jones – Drew. MJD. My God, I couldn’t stand him. He always seemed to destroy the Colts. Some of Sanders’ best hits came against MJD. He was even given the “Willie Parker Treatment” once. I’m convinced the reason Sanders hit MJD so hard is because he was sitting on the sidelines unable to play during the “375” game in 2006 where MJD and company smoked the Colts. I think it was Demond’s way of saying “yeah, it ain’t happening on my watch, bro.”
Sanders was the perfect combination of speed and muscle. He was a comet, and comets don’t last. In looking up stuff about him while writing this, I saw something where they referred to him as “the human hand grenade.” I think that sums it up perfectly. Yes, he burned out quickly, but without him, there’s no reunion this weekend.
Now, back to the game…
With so much to draw from, Chuck Pagano turns to a few of the 2006 Colts to help provide his players with some inspiration…
He gathers the team around a large video monitor, on which Tony Dungy appears. “Hello, gentlemen. Go out and play your game. No excuses, no explanations. There will be rough seas ahead, but stay the course.” Suddenly the screen is taken over by Rodney Harrison, who shouts “The Patriots will win, baby!” followed by the sounds of kicking and punching as the screen fades to black. I didn’t know Dungy had it in him.
Peyton Manning takes the floor, and commands the room. “Gentlemen, I’m so thrilled to be here and share this moment with you. Now, I’ve posted the signup sheet for the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket package over there on the wall, so when we’re done here you can all sign up. And Brackett, we gotta talk about the “Stacked Papa John’s Pickle” venture. I think it’s a winner.”
“Oh right, right. Sorry. Now, I’ve been watching you guys, and I see similarities between the Super Bowl champion Colts and this team: Your defense mostly sucks, just like ours did. Except ours sucked way less. But we’re not going to give up on you, just like they didn’t give up on us while we waited for Bob Sanders to return and start kicking everyone’s butt like he did.”
“We’re going to summon the spirit of the 2006 Colts by asking a few of you to look into your lockers right now…”
“Jack Doyle, what do you see?” “I see Dallas Clark, the TE in the slot mismatch from hell. This is me.”
“D’Qwell Jackson, what’s in yours?” “I see Gary Brackett, the undersized play maker who always seemed to be in the right spot, even in coverage.”
“Henry Anderson, what have you got?” “I see video of…me from late October, early November of last year.”
“Good, good. That’s what we need here.”
“Clayton Geathers, tell me what’s up.” “I see Bob Sanders, circa 2007.”
“You the comedian…what’s your name? Pete McAfee or something like that? You think you’ve got jokes. Now, my brother Cooper? He’s got jokes. Tell me what you see.” “I see a video of a guy swimming in a canal and…”
“Whoops. That’s from last night at the reunion, when we were making fun of you. Don’t change a thing, Paul. You’re the best. Alright, now everybody bring it in…”
“Colts on three, alright…ONE…TWO…THREE…COLTS!”
With the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium opened for routine maintenance on Saturday, team officials made an awful discovery: The roof wouldn’t close, and a large front of rain was heading towards Indianapolis. On Sunday morning, the rains came. And came. And came. And came. Both the Colts and Titans met with NFL officials, and after it was determined there were no safety issues other than a sloppy field, the game was on.
The Titans win the toss and elect to receive….
Pat McAfee booms the ball, where it’s fielded by Marc Mariani at the 8-yard line. Running at top speed when he fields it, Mariani zips past the Colts for an easy touchdown. He looks up and watches the last 30-yards or so on the big screen.
The Colts opening drive is marred by two false start penalties, and then ends when Andrew Luck throws an interception. Here we go again. Sigh.
After the Colts defense forces a punt, their offense starts to get it together, gaining about 30 yards. Facing 3rd and 10 from the 47, Luck evades the rush just enough to hit Donte Moncrief for a 53-yard touchdown. A bad snap by Matt Overton ruins the extra point, though, so the score is now 7-6 Titans.
Mariani returns the kick to the Titans’ 43. The first play is a 52- yard run by DeMarco Murray, and suddenly, things are looking bad again. Two plays later, Marcus Mariota hits Kendall Wright on a 4-yard pass for the touchdown. 14-6 Titans at the end of the first quarter.
C’mon guys, really?
In the 2nd quarter the Colts offense continues to stall, but McAfee pins the Titans at their 5. After a rare 3 and out by the Colts defense, they get the ball in good position and start to drive again. Despite 4 of 4 passing from Luck and some decent runs by Frank Gore, the Titans rise to the occasion and force a field goal attempt. Vinatieri nails it from 29, and the Colts trail 14-9.
Luck stays hot on the next drive, but it’s the run duo of Gore and Robert Turbin that get the job done. Turbin punches it in from 1-yard out. Colts lead 16-14!
Another stop gives the Colts a chance to score again before the half. They set up Vinatieri for the 34-yard kick and….no good. The streak is over. Long live the streak.
Although the Colts lead 16-14 at the half, both teams have had their chances to take control. While the Colts’ offense hasn’t played poorly, their defense has been the difference. It’s still anybody’s ballgame though…
During halftime, the rain-soaked fans are treated to a show of hologram Prince playing some of his classic songs. The performance of “Purple Rain” in the rain is widely reported as the coolest moment of an incredible performance.
The Colts get the ball to start the 2nd half. If they’re going to take control of this game, doing so here would be good.
Mixing the pass and run beautifully, the Colts march down the field. A nice tackle by Jason McCourty on TY Hilton stops them at the Titans’ 7-yard line, and Vinatieri is once more summoned to attempt a kick. He nails it, and the Colts stretch their lead to 19-14. The drive takes over 7 minutes.
On the Titans’ next possession, the Colts’ defense rises to the occasion once more, nearly forcing a turnover off a bad snap. The Colts take the ball and begin to drive again, but once more the Titans’ defense stiffens in the red zone. Vinatieri time. He’s money, and the Colts now lead 22-14.
Mariani reels off another impressive return on the ensuing kick off – uh, Chuck? Would you stop kicking to the guy already? Jeez – and the Titans build on it by marching close enough for Ryan Succop to nail the 44-yarder.
It’s 22-17 as the quarter ends. So far, things have went well. The Colts have overcome some sloppy play – and the sloppy field – by running the ball well and playing good defense. I know, I don’t believe it either.
Tennessee forces the Colts to punt, and…here we go. This is starting to feel like so many of the games this team has lost this season. Sure, they’ve played well, but a touchdown here and Tennessee could win the game.
After a couple of plays move the ball to the Titans’ 38, Mariota lines up for the next snap. He takes it, he’s got time, and….he floats one to the right and it’s picked off by Rashaan Melvin! Melvin dances and dodges his way for a 56-yard touchdown, diving into the end zone to finish it off. At first glance it looks like he could have stepped out of bounds, but the ensuing replay shows he did an incredible job of tap dancing on the line. Touchdown!
29-17 Colts. Although it ain’t really over, it’s over folks. The Colts have helped save their season.
It’s like deja vu all over again.
Colts 29, Titans 17