Charting A Drive: How Good Were They?

Kasey Klipsch checks in with his weekly column

 

This was the first game I got to go to this year. Like usual when I go to a game, I had a different opinion of what happened than most people who watch on TV. I assume this difference is attributable to A) a lack of replay B) no running statistics at the game, and C) no commentary to influence my decision. In any case, I came out of the game thinking “Our QB played poorly, theirs played much worse.”

 

The standard line of reasoning seemed to be quite different than this. I heard about how our defense played great, and Romeo Crennel had a great game plan. I was skeptical.At the game it seemed that while our defense played acceptably the more likely explanation for our defensive success was the terrible play of Matt Cassel. At the beginning of the 4th quarter the Colts defense forced 2 three and outs. These seemed like perfect drives to inspect to see which narrative was more realistic.

 

1st Drive

1 & 10 KC 23

Play: Charles up the middle/left (zone block) for 2. Tackled by Mathis.

KC Formation: 2 WR/ 2 TE both left

Colts Formation: 4-3

- Freeney gets good penetration through 2 TE. Charles cuts inside him (great move).

- Mookie is blocked by the LG/C. Blocked 2 yards off LOS.

- Muir holds the point of attack against the RG. Slows Charles.

- No one blocks Mathis who cuts in for the tackle.

- LT sort of blocks Session (both were out of position).

- RT blocks no one.

- Brackett/Wheeler/Session over commit to the left side, but it doesn’t matter as Freeney has caused the play to bounce inside and Mathis is fast enough to stop it.

 

2 & 8 KC 25

Play: Pass incomplete short left to Bowe.

KC Formation: 1 WR (split right)/ 2 TE (right) / 1 FB / 1 Extra LT

Colts Formation: 4-3 (Hayden in the box)

- Freeney doubled (and legally cut) by both LT. No penetration.

- Mookie blocked by LG/C. Terrible pass rush, it looks like he is expecting a run out of this jumbo package.

- Muir is blocked by the RG/RT, he also doesn’t rush the passer expecting a rush.

- Mathis blocked by both RTE, doesn’t get much rush either.

- Hayden follows the FB out of the back field.

- Wheeler/Session/Brackett read pass correctly and drop into zone.

- Terrible pass to the WR and he is well-covered by 3 colts. The right throw was to Charles who was not covered out of the backfield (though Bethea was in good safety position).

 

3 & 8 KC 25

Play: Pass incomplete right to McCluster. Leads to a punt.

KC Formation: 4 WR (1 close left, 2 close right, 1 wide right)

Colts Formation: Nickel (with Foster/Dawson/Freeney/Mathis) Session/Bracket at LOS showing blitz.

- Freeney bull rushes LT but is blown up by Charles.

- Foster stunts himself out of the play.

- Dawson doubled by RG/RT.

- Brackett blocked by C.

- Session blocked by LG.

- Mathis comes unblocked. Cassell avoids and rolls out right. Dawson forces him to pass. Terrible pass to a single covered WR.

 

2nd Drive

1 & 10 KC 16

Play: Screen pass right to Charles for 5 yards. Wheeler in great position to make the tackle.

KC Formation: 2 WR/ 1 TE (left) / 1 FB (offset left I)

Colts formation: 4-3 (Bethea reads run from the beginning and rushes into the box)

- Freeney/Mathis are let past the LT/RT.

- LG/C push Mookie out of the play (great screen technique).

- RG lets Moala pass.

- Bethea follows FB out into flat.

- Session/Brackett drop into zone coverage.

- Wheeler stays put and makes a great play! (Both LG/C whiff on their blocks of him)

 

2 & 5 KC 21

Play: Jones run left (zone blocking) for 2, tackled by Mathis.

KC Formation: 1 WR (split right)/ 2 TE / 1 extra LT

Colts Formation: 4-3 Wheeler at LOS (R), Fransisco at LOS (L), Powers in the box.

- Freeney splits LTE and first LT, causing Jones to go inside.

- Moala pushes the LG back 1 yard, Jones must go inside of him as well.

- 2nd LT blocks Fransisco out of the play.

- Mookie gets blown up 3 yards off the LOS by Lilja. This is where Jones decides to run.

- C blocks Session (poorly).

- LT blocks Brackett.

- Mathis sheds RTE easily.

- Wheeler/Session/Mathis are all there for the tackle.

 

3 & 3 KC 23

Play: Incomplete left to Charles. Very quick pass.

KC Formation: 3 WR (1 left, 2 close right)/ 2 HB / Shotgun

Colts Formation: Nickle (Freeney at LDT, Dawson at LDE, Foster at RDE, Mathis at RDE). Bracket showing blitz.

- Dawson/Mathis run around the RT/LT but are too late.

- LG/C double Freeney well.

- Foster blocked well by the RG.

- Wheeler/Session go into zone coverage. Session is on Charles but the pass is way off. Terrible pass. Hard to say if a good pass would have worked though as Session was in good position.

Conclusions:

Well, I came away thinking the Colts did look better on defense than I remembered. Having said that, at the end of these drives Cassel was 1/8 passing (including previous drives). He was getting no help from his receivers either. The pass rush was ok, but not great. A more confident QB would not have had issues. Further, the Chiefs’ play selection was pretty terrible. If the Chiefs would have actually ran out of their jumbo sets instead of passing I think they would have had much better success.

Freeney was a monster on these drives. They were doing everything that they could to stop him and it didn’t matter. They just plain forgot to block Mathis, which is silly as we’ve seen in previous games that a single TE can usually handle him in running situations. Wheeler also looked good on this drive. Once again, no one was wildly out of position and it shows in the results. If anyone looked bad it was once again Mookie, but he didn’t look terrible.

Note: It’s time for a mini-rant. First let me say, if you haven’t been to Lucas Oil Stadium yet, as a Colts fan you owe it to yourself to go. In almost every way it is a phenomenal stadium. There is one glaring weakness though and that is the video scoreboards. The Luke has what amounts to a professional television studio to run all of those boards, yet they do a worse job than the drunks in Wrigley Field using the manual sign from the 30s. This is unacceptable. In the modern world the scoreboards need to be showing us scores (of games that are playing not the 0-0 night game), fantasy stats, the red zone channel, and (I know this is crazy talk) replays. I hear that some stadiums have moved to this model, yet the Colts, with such an impressive new facility, make me watch the “which Colt is between the Wheaties box” gimmicks. Here’s a hint, put a Wheaties logo next to a high def red zone replay and I’ll watch it.

About The Author: Kasey Klipsch (kasey_junk@myrealbox.com) has no football experience above the grade school level. He grew up in Indianapolis rooting for the Colts and is a season ticket holder. He comments around the Colts blogosphere as kasey_junk. He also writes a weekly picks column for The Fantasy Ninjas (www.thefantasyninjas.com) under the nickname “The Real KC”.

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