What to do with this?

Today’s game was certainly not quite what any of us expected, and it’s difficult to know how to react.  Ultimately, any time your team wins its 7th game in a row by double digits, you should be satisfied.  Still, everyone was hoping for a more dominant performance that didn’t include more fourth quarter heroics from #18.  There was a lot of good today:

  • Dallas Clark (no explanation required)
  • With the game tied at 21, Peyton Manning went 7-7 in the fourth quarter to put up 10 points.  He had an excellent game, as we all expected.
  • Clint Session continued to make plays at linebacker.
  • Reggie Wayne made an appearance with 100 yards receiving. 
  • Marvin got a nice milestone at home.  I really hope he gets 7 more catches this year.

There was some bad as well.

  • The line did not play well.  Manning was looking deep often but really didn’t have time to let things develop and was hit regularly early in the game.
  • The run game was fine, but not dominant.  Dom is a fine backup RB, but he is NOT a feature back. 
  • Keiwan Ratliff (no explanation required).  Actually, his ‘two’ muffed punts were basically the reason this game was close at all.
  • There was no pass rush at all.  This was shocking.
  • 18 airmailed two deep balls to Wayne and Harrison.  Both were open.  Neither throw was close.  Again, I think the rush plays into this.  Even if he isn’t rushed on a given play, the clock in his head tells him he has to get rid of the ball too soon.
  • The Najeh Davenport era struck me as definitively average.
  • The officiating was horrid.  Can someone explain to me how the first ‘fumbled punt’ by Ratliff wasn’t overturned?  The ball clearly hit the defender first who interfered with the fair catch at least (I realize he might have been blocked into the returner).  Still, how was that pay not overturned while the TD for Pittsburgh was?  I’m a replay fan, but the officials clearly have no clue what constitutes visual evidence.  This crew blew the Manning fumble, but instead of admitting it after replay and explaining that there was no clear recovery, hence the Colts kept the ball, the ref covered his ass by simply confirming the call.  

So, the ‘good’ news is that we don’t have to sit on this one for long.  The Horse tees it up again on Thursday night and a win clinches the 5 seed. Indy clinches a berth and the 5 seed with a win or a playoff spot with a loss by any one of the following teams:  Baltimore or NE, or a loss by both Miami and the Jets.

Here are the projected final stats for Manning:

Comp Att % Yards YPA TD INT Rating
383 587 65.2 4049 6.9 26 14 90.3

The MVP race didn’t get any more clear.  Surely we can dispense with the Kurt Warner nonsense.  Right now I’d say Adrian Peterson (who had big numbers that didn’t really help his team score most of their points) and Michael Turner (who had 158 yards in an OT win) have to be high up in the conversation. I’ll let Demond break it down in depth tomorrow.

This week we’ll put together an 18 Plays Podcast AFTER the Jags game using 9 plays from both games.
Oh, and because JC always asks, here are the projected final stats for Matt Cassel:

Comp Att % Yards YPA TD Int Rating
344 539 63.8 3737 6.9 21 13 87.1