Word is that the DEs are playing on a pitch count. That’s a good sign.
The Pats and Bengals both won and clinched their divisions. The Steelers, Ravens, Texans, Jets and Broncos are all still alive for the final two spots.
- Indy opens the game with the ball at the 20. They convert a first down, but on third and 3, a great play by the corner breaks up a pass to Clark. Indy punts, and McAfee hits a beauty that hits inside the five and backs up, where Jennings easily downs it. Time for the Defense to force a quick punt.
- The Jets elect to pass three times, and two are incomplete. Edwards dropped a ball that hit him in the chest on third down. Indy forces the three and out, and the Colts will start at their own 46 with excellent field position. So far, so good.
- After a completion to Collie, four straight runs by Brown fail to produce a first down, but the Colts catch a break as Bart Scott trips Brown and gives the Colts a first. Then on second and 10, Manning calls a draw against a blitz and Addai BLOWS through the line virtually untouched for a 20 yard TD. Unfortunately, AV’s return to action doesn’t go very well and his extra point is blocked. 6-0 Colts.
- FYI: Mathis is inactive today. The earlier report was incorrect.
- Indy allows too much time on an early third down, and the Jets convert on third and 5. Then Hayden picks off a ball, but gets called for illegal contact before the pick. Then the Jets get into a giving mood. They try to run a true reverse on the Colts, violating the chief rule of playing the Colts (Don’t run wide sweeps and reverses on the Colts! They are too freaking fast!). Wheeler blows up the play for a loss of 15 and the Jets drive ends in a punt. Indy takes over just inside their own 10.
- The first quarter closes with Indy facing a big third and medium at midfield after a long completion to Collie helped get them out of the shadow of the endzone. Given that they’ve changed field position on the Jets at least, this was an effective drive. 6-0 Colts after One
- Manning hits Brown out of the backfield for the first down, and then Collie picks up a big pass interference flag from Lito Shepherd, moving the ball inside the 20. A Clark catch moved the ball to the five, and two no where runs set up third down. Manning had Wayne open on third down, but threw wide. AV converts the short field goal, and the Colts turn a possession at their own 10 into 3 points. That might not have been the result we wanted, but it’s still a great drive. The Colts are moving the ball virtually at will on the Jets. 9-0 Indy.
- The Jets get tricky and fail. On third and 5, they try to run a draw, but the Colts sniff it out perfectly. Three and out, and the Colts will start at the 21. This game has gone perfectly according to script to this point.
- The Colts drive starts inauspiciously as Manning just overthrows a wide open Wayne on a deep ball. Brown then runs for a big loss, but on third and long, Manning steps up and hits Collie across the middle for 22 yards. The line continues to give Manning solid protection, and on third and three he has Clark wide open deep, but lays it just off his finger tips. The Colts then go for a pointless punt which nets 27 yards. Frustrating in one sense, but the Colts are having their way with the Jets early. The deep ball is there, Manning just has to shorten it up by 6 inches or so. Meanwhile, Brown’s inability to get back to the line of scrimmage is getting ridiculous. He has just 3 yards on 8 carries.
- The Jets manage to bang out a first down on third and inches, and after just 5 plays the Jets pass the 47 (real nice punt there). The Jets then slam the ball down inside the 20, but Freeney comes up with a huge sack to force third and long. The Colts D allows a field goal, but there is still plenty of time for the offense to answer it, and the Colts have two timeouts. The Jets get the ball to start the second half, so it’s imperative that Indy scores here. 9-3 Indy. Man that missed XP hurts.
- Chad Simpson rips off a dangerous and long return to set the Colts up nicely across the 35. A penalty and a pass to Wayne moved the ball inside the Jet 45. Unfortunately, Manning launches two balls over Wayne and Clark instead of taking anything short, and the Colts come up empty. It seemed like a short pass was in order on 2nd or 3rd down that could have given them a chance to go for it on fourth down. Manning is just sailing his passes long today, and the result is just two scoring drives despite moving the ball well
Frustrating half. It felt like the Colts let them off the hook by punting on fourth and three. The defense played well, and the offense moved the ball effectively, but couldn’t convert yards into points. A missed extra point makes the game feel much closer than it should. I see no reason Caldwell won’t stick with the starters in the second half. Manning has barely been touched.
- Folks, the special teams improvement is a total mirage. It’s the most overplayed story of the year in Indianapolis. Whatever improvement there has been has everything to do with deep kicks. The Jets just rip off a 106 yard return and now lead 10-9. Awful. McAfee crushed the kick and made Smith think about a touch back, but he just ran straight up the middle and down the sideline for a score. Horrific. Since punting on fourth and three, the team has come apart at the seams.
- Simpson can’t make the 20 on the kick off. Quick throws to Wayne and Clark picked up first downs, and then Manning hit Collie along the sideline for a nice gain down around the Jet 30. Brown makes a stunning block as Manning hits Clark inside the 10. Brown pounded it down to the goal line, and on second down has a punishing run bouncing off several Jets for a touchdown. The Colts foolishly try a two point conversion, eschewing a six point lead. The result is a nowhere draw to Brown. Indy leads 15-10. It felt too eary to try for two there. The Jets are going to be kicking FGs today, so why not put them down 6? You only do that if you plan on pulling the starters and that is the last real chance to score.
- The Jets start at the 20. Sanchez hits Edwards on a quick out to pick up a third and 2. Then on third and seven, he makes a nice throw on the run for another third down. On thie third straight third down, Freeney comes unblocked (again) and DESTROYS HIM. It forces a Jet punt.
- It doesn’t matter as Indy decides to lose the game by playing Curtis Painter against the #1 pass defense backed up inside his 10. I’m all for pulling Manning at some point, but that point is NOT now. Manning has been barely touched all game. The Colts are about to ruin Curtis Painter. Everything he does the rest of the day will be booed, and he’ll be forever known as the guy who threw away the perfect season. It’s not the decision, it’s the timing. This will not end well. If this was Sorgi, I wouldn’t be as upset.
- Painter throws a high risk pass to Baskett who comes down with it just shy of a first. Brown runs for a loss again, and the Colts punt. Get used to it. That was the best case scenario for that drive.
- The air has gone compeltely out of the defense as they get repeatedly gashed with the run for the first time today. They manage to make a nice stand and force another Jet punt, which is a terrible decision by Ryan. The ball winds up in the endzone and nets just 19 yards. Awful coaching.
- Painter fumbles. Touchdown Jets. The only surprise is that it took him 4 plays to do it. Caldwell compounds things by issuing a terrible challenge. Wow. This game is the most “over” three point game in history. The Jets convert the two point conversion for a three point lead. If the Colts had kicked the extra point, the Jets would have as well and would be up just one. This is going to end very badly.
- Chad Simpson fails to get to the 20. Painter is still in. He has to be. You can’t pull Manning and then put him back in. Indy is committed to this strategy, and they have announced they want to lose this game. It’s a done deal. Another three and out. The Jets get the ball at the Colts 45. This game is over, so I’m done blogging. Good night.