DRIVE ONE: 12 plays, FG
DRIVE TWO: 11 plays, TD
DRIVE THREE: 3 plays, punt. Garcon drops sure first down on third down.
DRIVE FOUR: 3 plays punt. Three stupid run plays to end the half.
DRIVE FIVE: 10 plays, TD
DRIVE SIX: 11 plays, missed FG
DRIVE SEVEN: 8 plays, INT
DRIVE EIGHT: 10 plays, turnover on downs
When you only get eight possessions in a game, you can’t afford to piss one away with crappy runs at the end of the half. You also can’t afford to let one end with lame unmakeable field goal attempt. I’m sure Manning will take all the blame for this game, but personally, I felt like the coaching, the wide receivers (Wayne and Garcon), and the lack of a second half pass rush did the Colts in more than one bad throw. The pick six sucked, but it should never have come to that. I guess I don’t feel bad about it, because it felt like the game was already over. A TD there, and the Saints still get the ball last. There was no way they weren’t going to score.
Sean Payton essentially stole two Indianapolis possessions. By going for it on fourth down at the end of the first half, he baited the Colts into wasting their prime two minute drive. He lost nothing and got the Colts to punt without Manning ever throwing. Then he stole another with the onsides kick. At a moment when Indy could easily have stretched the lead to 20 or 24-6, his coaching turned it into at 13-10 game. That’s just brilliant.
Take notes Caldwell. Aggressive wins. Passive loses. It’s the way it works in the modern NFL.