Upon further review…

I finally finished the tape of Sunday night’s game. Here are some of my observations (the rest I’ll save for the podcast):
1. I was stunned by how different the game seemed on TV with Madden and Michaels announcing it. They painted the Colts as much worse than they seemed live. They were wrong about a lot of things, primarily Madden’s observation that Manning didn’t look deep enough. I counted 12 times Manning looked deep. There were 2 drops, 1 hurry, 1 sack, 2 coverage throw aways, Wayne didn’t get his feet down once, 2 dump downs, 1 defensive penalty, 1 time Wayne had a ball knocked away, and the other was a ball of Wayne’s fingertips in the endzone. Three times of 12, the receivers messed up by dropping a ball or failing to get feet down, 4 times the protection wasn’t good enough. The 12 deep attempts netted one contact penalty and two dump-off passes. The Colts looked deep fairly often, but the line and receiver play was poor.
2. Here’s the breakdown of Manning’s incomplete passes:
WR drops 3
Dump offs under pressure 4
Hit as he threw 1
Throw away (good coverage) 2
WR failed to get feet down on sideline 1
Tipped passes (Manning’s fault) 2
Tipped pass (O-line) 1
Bad throws by Manning 4
Misread of defense 1
Manning had about 7 passes that were off. 10 of his incomplete passes were failures by the wideouts or O-line, and 2 more can be chalked up to good coverage.
3. Stan’s assertion in the comments yesterday that the failure to run the stretch play hurt the Colts offense may prove true in the weeks to come, but there was no evidence of it in this game. He also wondered about the Bears coverage. The Bears coverage was not really that good, and only came into play 5 or so times during the game. The Bears pressure was good, not their coverage. That jived with what we saw at the game, as we only commented on the coverage on two plays. Looking down on the play is where you can best judge the coverage and the QB intent.
4. The loss of Clark was devastating as Robinson couldn’t have played worse as blocker. More on that in the podcast. The whole line played bad. Ugoh had the best game by far, but even he gave up a sack late. Charlie Johnson was horrible. Again, more on the line play in the podcast.
5. The lack of a run game late had more to do with the score and the failure of the deep plays than anything. A couple of negative runs in key spots were ugly, but there was yardage to be had most of the time.
6. I’ll talk about the 4th down call on the podcast, but let’s just say that one guy failed miserably to do his job and a play that should have worked, didn’t. I still believe that a punt in that situation would have resulted in a Colts loss. We would have been down two scores and gotten the ball back with time running short and only 1 time out. The Colts were down two scores and were going to be down two scores even if the Bears took a short field for a TD (which they did). A first down might have saved the game. It might have been the wrong play choice, but I still think it was the right call. Over time, the numbers bear out that going for it on fourth and short is a better strategy than punting.
7. Bob Kravitz is on crack. In what may be his worst published piece ever, he litters his report card with inaccuracies and bizarre conclusions:

  • He questions whether the run game problems were Joe Addai’s fault. Watch the tape, Bob. IT WAS THE LINE. Addai several times made men miss at the line of scrimmage to get big runs. He had a couple of key runs for losses where he was annihilated as he took the hand off. To blame Addai is ignorant and lazy.
  • I’m not sure how he figured the Colts YPA, but it should be 5.2. He lists it at 4.7. He may be including sack data, but I doubt it. I think he’s just lazy. He claimed Manning had ‘rust’ that was ‘mental’. There is simply no indication of that. Again, watching the tape showed the Colts attempting to do all the things they always do, but poor line and WR play doomed the offense. I’m not sure what ‘ghosts’ Manning was seeing, but he didn’t look confused on tape. He looked frustrated at his line, but not confused.
  • He called the Colts special teams “atrocious“. Again, without any real reason why. The Colts special teams outplayed the Bears. For once, they were not the cause of the loss. There was a poor strategic decision early and one penalty on a return. They also made a great play on Hester’s hesitation return.
  • He is 100% wrong on the volume of the stadium. The Luke was extremely loud in pregame introductions. He admits he couldn’t hear because the press box is sealed, and then says it wasn’t the fans that weren’t loud, it was the stadium. The fans were full throttle through the first Bears possession, but then the pace and events of the game took them out of it. Sorry Bob, you weren’t paying enough attention. The crowd WAS the reason for the lack of noise, but if you came out of the press box once in a while, you might know that.

8. I don’t like our chances on Sunday. As long as Charlie Johnson is playing, we are in trouble. He was amazingly bad.

9. The dumbest thing a fan can do is kill the coach for decisions that didn’t decide the game. Don’t criticize a coach for challenging a big play. Stupid coaches (Jack Del Rio) challenge spots (like whether it was a TD for the Jags or a 2nd and goal from the two inch line) or meaningless 5 yard catches. On huge plays like the saftey and the fumble, challenging the play is the right thing to do. Never forget Troy Polamalu. There was never a play that looked less overturnable than that.

Dungy didn’t lose that game.

Marvin Harrison, Charlie Johnson, Ryan Diem, Jamey Richards and Gijon Robinson lost that game.

Links:
Simmons whines about Brady’s knee.
Vince Young is a nut job.
FO looks at our injury situation
I get why the Colts drop, but how does San Diego not fall farther? We have an excuse. What was theirs?
Here are those DVOA rankings.
Quick Reads says Peyton didn’t do too bad, but I’m still fuzzy on the new stats.
Floyd Reese isn’t always very smart, but I’m really hoping he doesn’t remember how bad the Colts line was last year.
Any Given Sunday is more about the Bears playing well than the Colts sucking.

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