I’m Still Stunned

No matter how hard I try to wrap my mind around the win today, I just can’t.

Some things just shouldn’t happen.

Today, the Colts posted a comeback unlike any of the their others.  They beat a desperate team, on the road, without Freeney, after playing like crap for a half.  They had the Texans scared even while trailing big. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  Wins like this just don’t happen in the NFL.

Reasons to Smile:

  • Pierre Garcon.  Great catches left and right.  Manning is throwing to him more judiciously, and he’s making plays.  The last two weeks he seems to be a good deal more comfortable.  He’s making important catches.  Great game, Frenchy.
  • Austin Collie rebounding to make big plays in the fourth quarter.  He shrugs off the negative plays (not going OB, stupid holding penalty) and shows up large.
  • 2:50 seconds to go 90 yards to take the lead.  Manning is an assassin. 
  • Larry Coyer’s halftime adjustments.  He seems to have a knack for figuring out what is wrong with the defense and correcting it on the fly.  In the first half, the Colts forced just THREE third downs.  In the second half, they forced three turnovers.  That’s all you need to know about  how good a job he did. 
  • Joe Addai.  Big runs all day.  That fourth down run was incredible.
  • Clint Session.  If he doesn’t go to the Pro Bowl, it’ll be a crime.
  • Pat McAfee.  He is KILLING the kickoffs.  There is zero mystery how the Colts have improved their kick coverage.  They got a guy who routinely puts it deep in the endzone. 
  • Robert Mathis.  All he does is make huge play after huge play.  He picked up another sack despite Freeney being out.  He stands on his own.
  • Chad Simpson’s hard running at the end of the game.  He doesn’t get many carries, but he makes the most of them.
  • Tamme’s heady play to bat the onside kick out of bounds.  He did a great job understanding the rules.

Reasons to Frown:

  • The O-line was a mess at times.  Two sacks and a ‘hit as he throws pick’ were ugly.  Two of the Colts’ first three drives ended due to bad line play.
  • The first half defense.  Seriously, 3 third downs?  Awful.  It reminded me of the infamous Jacksonville game.  The Texans moved the ball at will. It was the worst half of football from a Colts defense in a long time. 
  • Matt Stover missing the short field goal.  How incredible is it that this didn’t cost the Colts?  It felt like one of those, “We just have too many guys hurt” moments. 
  • Chad Simpson returning kicks.  Wow.  Not good.  TJ Rushing fielding a punt at the five.  Not good either.  I see no evidence our special teams play is actually better.  I just think Indy got a better kicker.  If this was about coaching, wouldn’t we see something happen in the return game?  All I see are mistakes.
  • Don Brown.  Why was he not in at the end of the game?  He seemed to be running well.  Did he get hurt?  Also, he showed why he hasn’t gotten more game time with that miserable job helping CJ on Mario Williams.  You have to block to play, son.
  • Phil Wheeler’s first half.  He made some nice plays in the second half, but looked lost in the first.  This might have been part of what Coyer corrected.  I’ll have to check the tape.
  • The lack of pressure in the first half without Freeney was scary.  Fortunately, the blitzes landed a little better later in the game, but we need 93 to get healthy.  He was also missed on the Texans’ final drive.

Best Call:

Going for it on fourth and inches.  This was the call I’ve been waiting for all season.  Wonderful.  Stover’s miss meant it didn’t lead to points, but it’s just what you have to do in the NFL.  Great job, Coach.

Worst Call:

It’s a nit picky tie.  First, why didn’t Caldwell challenge the horrid spot on that very same fourth down?  It looked like Clark had it easy, but that was a terrible spot.  It looked like it would have been an easy challenge.  Secondly, I hated the play call (run wide) on fourth down.  Addai made it happen, but it took a spectacular play by him.  Whatever.  I’m just glad he went for it.

Reasons I’m Flying:

  • An AFC South Championship.
  • The Colts can clinch the #1 seed by going just 3-2 over their final five games.  With three home games, and not a single world beater on the board, there’s every reason to assume this is going to happen.
  • 15-1 verses the Texans all time.
  • Yet another miracle comeback.  I get the feeling this team just expects to win these kinds of games.  That’s a good place to be.
  • This team can still get better.  In no way does it feel like they are peaking yet.
  • Manning made some throws that make me feel like his arm is fine. The rifle shot to Garcon was incredible.

Reasons I’m Dying:

  • I’ve seen life without Dwight Freeney.  I don’t like it.
  • The defense was so horrid for a half, I was terrified it might never recover.  Unlike the NE game where it seemed like the scheme was wrong, this looked like players were just overmatched and out played.  It was much  more unsettling than even the 24 points allowed to New England.  They looked like they were never going to figure out how to slow the Texans.
  • The Chargers are playing very well.  We really need NE/SD to finish 2 and 3.  I don’t want to play both of them.

The Bottom Line:

The Texans folded.  Yes, the Colts were poised and took advantage of the opportunity, but I’ve never seen a team just stone cold collapse like Houston came up with today.  From Schaub’s first pick on, they played like they expected the Colts to beat them.  It was a gutless effort from the Texans and surely has to signal the end of Gary Kubiak era in Houston.  I’m proud of my team, but they got a lot of help today.  The Texans made stupid turnovers and stupid penalties down the stretch.  They are a talented team, but simply don’t have the will to win.

The Colts on the other hand refuse to beat themselves.  Once again, coming down the stretch, they were the calm, collected team, and they let the Texans play themselves right out of the game.

11-0.  Perfect.

There are still 8 games left (hopefully) in the season.  That is a long way to go.  The next three games are likely against equally desperate teams, right now the Colts shouldn’t worry about anything except playing their best football.  That’s something the NFL hasn’t seen yet this year.

Be afraid, AFC.  Be very afraid.

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