Watching the game live was disgusting. And when viewing the game on Rewind, it was nauseating.
Paging Dr. Peyton Manning! Paging Dr. Peyton Manning! Like a surgeon, Manning was very precise against the Giants defense.
Without a doubt, Colts quarterback extraordinaire Peyton Manning outcoached Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Quite frankly, he made Fewell look like a fool.
After watching the entire game again, two Colts’ drives piqued my interest. First, let us focus on the opening drive.
1) Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes had a good kickoff. It was fielded at the goal line by Devin Moore. Giants’ linebacker/special teamer Gerris Wilkinson tackled him at the 20 yard line. So far, so good. The Giants did not give Peyton and the Colts offense a short field. Peyton Manning did a fantastic job of mixing up the formations. On the first play of the game, using no huddle in a 3 WR set , Manning hit Garcon on a slant for 12 yards. On the next play, in the same formation, Manning throws a strike to Wayne for 13 yards. Wayne ran a slant too. And his pattern was on the other side of the field.
On both pass completions, the Colts receivers were allowed to get a free release. Uncontested at the line of scrimmage, both guys were WIDE OPEN.
Third play of this drive, Manning called the same 3 WR formation. This time he handed the ball off to Joseph Addai. Although Addai gains only one yard, this was a harbinger for Fewell and his defense. The Colts were going to run the ball often. On the other hand, Fewell thought the Colts would be pass happy. So, Fewell decided to use a dime package for most of this drive. Unfortunately for the Giants, the Colts had a good mixture of runs and passes. Ostensibly, Fewell’s miscalculation set the Giants up to fail.
On the fourth play, Manning was in a shotgun formation with a 3 WR set. On a check down route, he completed a pass to Addai. Addai runs past Giants’ linebacker Jonathon Goff and gains 8 yards.
Facing a 3rd and 1, the Colts are in a eye formation with two TEs. Fewell counters this with a dime package. The result was a two yard gain and another Colts first down. On this play, Colts’ veteran Center Jeff Saturday made a very good block on Giants’ DT Chris Canty which sprung Addai for the first down.
Next play, two TE formation. Running left this time, Addai gains two yards. Goff made a good tackle.
Seventh play of drive, Colts spread the field with 4 WR. Manning completed a pass to Reggie Wayne. Again Wayne had a free release at the line of scrimmage. And safety Deon Grant was guarding him. With Wayne lined up in the slot, Peyton Manning exploited this mismatch. Wayne gained 13 yards and another Colts first down.
8th play at the Giants 30. Colts are lined up with two TEs. Addai gained 9 yards. Rookie TE Brody Elridge made an excellent block on Justin Tuck. This block opened a crease for Addai.
On the ninth play of this drive, Colts are in the two TE formation. Addai received the ball again. He gained one yard which was enough for another first down.
After nine plays, the Colts were on the Giants 20 yard line. Peyton has 3 WRs. Colts RB Donald Brown was the lone back. On this play, Colts right guard Mike Pollak pulled to the left. With Pollack pulling, the Giants defense flowed in his direction. This opened up the right side of the field. Brown ran through a gaping hole for 11 yards.
1st and Goal to Goal: Colts RT Ryan Diem was flagged for movement. This was the only blemish on a well executed drive.
Now with first and goal on the ~14 yard line, Peyton has the Colts in a 4 WR formation. With the Giants playing in a dime package and man to man coverage, Peyton completed a pass to Austin Collie for seven yards. Again, another Colts receiver allowed to have a free release at the line. Giants CB Aaron Ross could not guard Collie, who was running a drag route.
On the touchdown run, the Colts were in the two TE formation. Fewell countered with a dime package. Brown’s seven yard touchdown run was aided by outstanding blocking. TE Brody Elridge and T Chris Johnson blocked Osi Umenyiora. And Colts guard Jamey Richard pushed Deon Grant. As a result of this good blocking, Brown did not get touched.
2) Impressive 8 play 98 yard drive:
The turning point in this game was the Colts 8 play drive which culminated on a Dallas Clark touchdown catch. The Colts went 98 yards on eight plays. Six of those were running plays.
Before this drive began, Giants punter Matt Dodge pinned the Colts deep in their own territory. Since Dodge was able to nail an excellent punt, the Colts started this drive on their two yard line. The Giants defense needed a three and out. Instead, the defense folds and the Colts go up 14-0.
First play of this drive, Colts are lined up in a two TE and WR formation. Fewell still thought Peyton was going to pass the ball. Giants were in a dime package. Instead of passing, the Colts go back to their ground game. Addai ran up the middle for eight yards.
On second and two, from a shotgun 3 WR bunch formation, Peyton hands off to Addai again for 3 yards and a first down.
By continuing to play this dime package, Fewell’s defense cannot stop the run.
Third play, the Colts are in a shotgun 4 WR set. Addai ran for 7 yards.
Fourth play, again from shotgun formation and 4 WR set, Manning threw completed pass to Dallas Clark for 4 yards and a first down. Peyton found a mismatch. Deon Grant was guarding Clark in man coverage.
Fifth play, Colts in shotgun and 4 WR set, Addai ran for 12 yards. Osi misjudged and jumped to the inside. This created a crease for Addai to run outside. Fewell still had the Giants in a dime package.
On the sixth play, Colts in shotgun and 4 WR set again. Peyton hands off to Brown. Brown running behind Diem gained 5 yards. Mathias Kiwanuka could not wrap up Brown. Poor tackling by Kiwanuka.
The seventh play, Brown going up the middle gained 9 yards. Colts were in shotgun 3 WR bunch formation. Colts center Jeff Saturday and guard Jamey Richard provided good blocking on Chris Canty. This allowed Brown to gain positive yards.
On the 8th play, off of play action, Manning hit Clark for a 50 yard TD. With the Colts running successfully, reserve safety Michael Johnson bit badly on the play action fake. Now you see it and now you do not- Michael Johnson. By the time Johnson figured out it was a play action pass, Clark was already celebrating with his teammates on the sidelines.
After Clark caught the touchdown, the Giants had an uphill climb. They never got back into this game.
On Tuesday, Giants safety Antrel Rolle sounded off about his team and the coaching staff.
Rolle questioned leadership as well as things being “controlled.” In the first half against the Colts, the Giants did not put a hand on Peyton. No one made a play. There were no interceptions or forced fumbles. As stated above, Fewell did not scheme properly. By playing a dime package most of the time, this played in Peyton’s hand. The Giants had only two defensive tackles suited up- Barry Cofield and Chris Canty. And Canty is not cutting it at defensive tackle. He is not getting penetration and is getting pushed around.
As for Rolle’s “controlled” statement, it could be a code word for not being able to speak up. In Coughlin’s world, the coaches coach and players play. Apparently, Rolle could be insinuating input from the players is unwelcomed. Listen to Coughlin/Fewell (parents) we know better than the players (children). And the lack of player leadership is driving him crazy. Instead of players speaking up, they acquiesce.
In week one, the Texans showed the NFL the blueprint to beat the Colts. Put pressure on Manning. Get in his face. Sadly, Fewell did not watch the tape of that game. Otherwise, the Giants could have had a chance against the Colts. Instead, the game was over in the second quarter.