I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think it's time to bring in the Boilermaker. After the incredible, impressive, and heart-driven performance from our team last night, I don’t see any options for resurgence. This is total desperation to save this season, but what choice do we have? Most of the team is doing whatever they can to win and it’s all for nothing. It could be the same story with Painter starting, but I’m going to go against everything I believe in and say he gives us the best chance to steal some wins. Ouch. That hurt to say… Let’s put his embarrassing, at one point 9.8 career quarterback rating (now 23.8) to the side and take a trip into the wonderful world of Painter. Painter is highly inexperienced, but after seeing Collins in action for three weeks, I don't believe there is much of a gap between him and Collins when considering the “upside” potential of this offense. He might be known for missing throws like it’s his job, missing check downs, failing to go through his progressions, but if he is in for the entire game, I think he hits Garcon for that shake route and we see a big momentum changing TD. The game is ours to lose after Garcon runs it in and to Painter's credit, he was ice cold. What about the red zone TD pass that Collins missed to Reggie Wayne? Does Painter make this throw? What about the other red zone TD miss thanks to Collins choosing a throw to Dallas Clark on 3rd and 3 with Troy friggin’ Polamalu all over him? It’s definitely easy to think about what could have been with Peyton Manning in this game (blowout, anyone?), but if Painter plays even moderately better than Collins for the length of the game, I think we win. He outplayed Collins in one quarter. It's a shot in the dark, but who knows? What I do know is that I am finally willing to find out. It's safe to say that Painter has had some meaningless chances at proving himself and he didn't deliver. However, what better timing could it be for him to come in and prove his absolute “worth”? We need wins and Collins is likely out with a concussion for next week, so it’s turning out to be inevitable for at least one game. Let’s take a look at what Painter did correctly last night. First off, we actually saw a glimmer of offensive improvement with Painter in the game. I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but Painter only had 33 less yards on 8 less completions than Collins. Don’t forget that this all came in one quarter of action, compared to Collins’ three. He made a clean 27-yard throw to Garcon which broke ground for the game-tying TD. He also hit Garcon two more times after the 27-yard catch, for 18 and 8 yards. Without these throws, we’re not scoring unless Addai goes totally nuts. With Painter steering the ship, he finishes 6/11 (45.5%) with a 5.5 AVG for 60 yards and a fumble through three possessions. Collins finished 13/29 (44.8%) with a whopping 3.2 AVG for 93 yards through SEVEN possessions. Collins only plus was that he didn’t commit a turnover, but still managed to get us only two FGs on drives that started at the 50 and PIT 12. Other than that, we were punting. If you look at the numbers, there’s not a world of separation. What’s clear is that Painter made plays in limited action and got us down the field to score the only offensive TD of the night. I know it’s one game (two if you count his big preseason breakout game!), but what has Collins done in three? 29th overall offense in the league (27th in the pass, 28th in points, 28th in the red zone, 32nd aka dead last in ypa), ladies and gentlemen. Those stats are excruciating to look at. I think Collins needs more than time to fix his offensive woes. He might have been onto something with his country music aspirations. With Collins directing the show, the Colts are absolutely dead in the water. He is not going to make that throw to Garcon and move us down the field. He's going to have a hard time making any meaningful throws, as we've seen. I realize that Garcon had another drop, but that's not enough to deem his performance acceptable. Without the concussion, we probably turn the ball over on downs and the game is over. No TD. The sad thing about Collins is that his inability to make throws doesn’t come from a lack of arm strength. When you’re older than dinosaur dung, that’s the first thing you think would go, but Collins has the arm to essentially make whatever throw he wants. The problems are his release, lack of vision, pocket awareness, and accuracy (sounds like I'm describing Painter, eh?). This guy couldn’t move out of the way of a drunken sloth. I noticed that he missed a couple easy-to-recognize blitz pickups that needed protection changes. Will Painter make those changes in game? I doubt it, but at least Painter can give us a shot at moving the ball, even if it may end up going in the opposite direction. Bottom line: Collins is totally washed up. So what do lose by Painter starting? Oh, that’s right, absolutely nothing. We can only gain more offense, or stay exactly where we are. Collins is turning out to be a waste of $4 million big ones and Painter is best suited for a Woodstock reunion concert, so our neglected quarterback situation is exactly where everyone expected it to be. I tried my best to instill some confidence in fellow fans and prayed that Collins could get the job done, but he has regressed so much more than I ever fathomed. He was never really much of a quarterback, anyway. In the end, if Painter ends up taking the expected dump on the field, we can always go back to Cataract Collins. We're 0-3 and we must dig out of this hole to have any kind of chance to enjoy a 10th straight playoff season. I believe there’s still a legitimate shot, especially in this ass backwards division, but we aren’t going to get there with Collins and Painter will be Painter until he can prove otherwise. Does Wayne have any rhyme or reason for pleading that Painter should be “the guy”? Let’s find out.
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