Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Not the Team, It's Your Writing

Sadly, the Dolts lost yesterday. Doubly sad, we have another Bob Kravitz article to read today. Oh well. I’ll make myself happy by letting Bobby know his writing is crappier than the Colts performances this year.

It's not the call that should worry fans; it's the team

There will be crying and moaning about the late pass interference call, justifiable crying and moaning about a penalty flag that was thrown several seconds after the alleged offense.

Mostly from you, I imagine. I can remember a few dozen instances when it has taken a few seconds for a flag to be thrown by an official. Maybe he just couldn’t his hand on it.

Yes, it was a garbage call. Yes, the NFL owes the Indianapolis Colts an explanation, something the yellow-dog officials Sunday wouldn't do no matter how many times Colts coach Tony Dungy requested an audience during timeouts.

It was not a garbage call, but I would agree it was the wrong call, but we’ll get into that later. Ed Hochuli is one of the few officials who seem to be willing to admit he was wrong.

That said, the Colts didn't deserve to win this game. They just didn't. And the Colts, 23-21 losers to the Jacksonville Jaguars, knew the ugly truth better than anyone.

Win this game?

Well, the Colts were a “Steve Perry” psyche-out away from winning the game. You could also argue that the Colts should not have won last week either, and yet, they did.

Not when the defense gives up 236 yards rushing. The Jaguars didn't even try subterfuge; they simply lined up, told the Colts they were running and then ran through them.

The Colts have given up 200+ yards rushing in a game and still won. The 236 yards rushing is not the biggest problem. It was the 2nd half time of possession in which the Jaguars had the ball for 26 minutes while the Colts had it for only four minutes. FOUR FUCKING MINUTES!!!!!!

No wonder the Jaguars were running all over us. The defense practically lived on the field.

The Colts didn't tackle. They didn't wrap up. On one run, Fred Taylor, who's at least 60 years old by now, broke no less than four tackles on an ESPY-worthy run. They didn't "win their gaps,'' in the parlance of NFL defenses. The defensive linemen got pushed around, and the linebackers and secondary looked hapless against Jacksonville's runners.

Win this game?

Sadly, this has been an ongoing problem with the Colts for many years and it always seems to flare up when Bob Sanders is not on the field. We have a “speedy” but undersized D-line. It can work great for passing offenses, but many run-based offenses just seem to run over us. The draw play kills us too many times every game and then still send Freeney and Mathis every time.

Not when Peyton Manning throws two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. On that play, the Colts had a case that Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis grabbed Marvin Harrison's jersey before making the pickoff. On the other interception, though, it was all on Manning, a bad decision and a bad throw.

Win this game?

Peyton has had eight games in the past four seasons where he has had two or more interceptions. Amazingly, the Colts have won four of those eight, including the 15-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens en route to the Super Bowl. I’m sure Kravitz had no way of looking up that information. Hell, the Colts nearly beat the Chargers last year after Peyton threw six interceptions in a game.

Not when the defense is giving up 8-of-14 third-down conversions, an obscene number against an offensively challenged team. With or without All-Pro safety Bob Sanders, that can't happen.

Win this game?

The Colts defense was lacking again with a 57% third-down conversion rate. But the Colts offense was 5 of 9 in third downs or 55%. That’s pretty close if you ask me. It’s not good when you allow a team to convert that many third downs, but since we were statistically that close, it is not inconceivable that we could not have won.

Not when the Colts offense had a chance to bleed the clock, or at least force Jacksonville to burn timeouts, with first-and-goal at the Jacksonville 2-yard line with 1:23 remaining. The Colts passed twice before giving it to Joseph Addai for a touchdown run.

I’ve had the luxury of hearing some comments from players on this that Kravitz may not have had…even though he has the ability to interview players or discuss with another Star writer who interviewed the players. I’m a huge, HUGE fan of running a quick run play up the middle immediately after a long pass play. Yet, when the Jaguars lined up with two linebackers in the middle, Peyton decided to check and run a passing play. Manning is trying to get the team into the end zone and hopefully eat some of the clock at the same time. What if the pass play on first down had resulted in a touchdown? Are you still going to blame Peyton for scoring too quickly?
Yes, the incomplete pass resulted in stopping the clock. I would have preferred to have run more time off the clock, but the ultimate goal is to score the touchdown. Our goal line offense has been piss-poor this year. I’m not going to fault Peyton for believing that a pass play has more chances for success that a running play at this point.

Manning and the offense did what they needed to do. They gave the Colts the lead and put the game in the hands of the defense.

They didn't deserve to win, but they deserve an explanation from the league. The phone lines between team president Bill Polian's office and the NFL will be burning up this afternoon.

In which the NFL will probably say your right. Tough shit, you still lose the game.

"What was your view of the late pass interference call on Freddy Keiaho?'' Polian was asked in the locker room..

"I can't comment on that, according to the league rules,'' he said, still shaking in anger. "I'll let the league know how I feel.''

And the non-calls involving Harrison and Mathis?

"I'll let the league know how I feel,'' he said.

You know he cannot comment unless he wants to dig into his pocketbook and pay a nice fine to Roger Goodell.

After the game, Keiaho was still trying to figure out what happened.

"I don't know. We were in a cover-3, I was just running to my drop and I never even saw him (receiver Reggie Williams),'' Keiaho said. "He just ran into me. I thought the game was over. I wasn't even trying to hit him. Then the flag came out late. I thought we were getting called for excessive celebration or something.''

The NFL rules on pass interference state that it is NOT defensive pass interference if the contact is incidental AND neither player is looking for the ball. I have looked at the replays (since I was on my way back from a Cubs game and could not watch the game) and neither Keiaho nor Reggie Williams seem to be looking for the ball. By the rule, that is not pass interference. Although it looks like it was supposed to be a timing route that Kieaho got in the way off.

He paused. "Still, a defense lives to be put in a position like we were, where we could win the game and close it out, and we didn't do it. It's as simple as that.''


The Colts weren't going to cry, but the refusal of officials to talk with Dungy left the Colts coach uncharacteristically livid.

"I'm not going to get into blaming the officials for games,'' Dungy said. "We've got to play better.''
Similar to the Broncos-Chargers game last week, a bad call may have cost a team the game. And just like last week, the defensive team still had chances to keep their opponent from scoring.
By now, we know better than to lay blame to the Colts' defensive scheme. What Dungy and his staff do on defense works. We saw that in 2006, when many of us were calling for changes in the team's defensive philosophy. Then they pulled themselves together and rode the defense to the Super Bowl.

It obviously helped to get Bob Sanders back for the playoffs in 2006. Yes, part of the Colts sub-par performances are due to injuries, retirements and rookies. Most of it is due to just poor performances. If you can’t block or tackle or catch, you are going to make it pretty tough to win games.

It is also not inconceivable that the Colts can still make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. More fantasy at this point, but still possible.

Here's the real question: Are they good enough to do the things they're supposed to do? Do they have the personnel? Clearly, they miss defensive lineman Ed Johnson, who smoked his way off the team. They even miss Quinn Pitcock, the defensive tackle who quit the game in the preseason.

The problem is, there's not much Polian can do about it. There are no Pro Bowl defensive tackles on the market.

No shit, Sherlock.

Now comes the bye week, which suddenly seems to be at precisely the right time. The Colts need to take stock, and understand they are this close to being 0-3. One call didn't beat them Sunday. Several calls didn't beat them Sunday. Jacksonville beat them. And pummeled them. And embarrassed them.

I don't think the Colts were "embarrassed" by the Jags. I’m sure the Colts know how close to 0-3 they are. I’m also sure the Colts know how close to 2-1 they could have been. Change a couple of plays in the Bears game and the Colts could have been 3-0, possibly.

No excuses.

Correct, Bob. There are no excuses for your shitty writing.

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Blogger Henn Mother said...


September 22, 2008 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

Obviously (see above post), I disagree on the pass interference call. It looked to me that Williams was making a play on the ball--even if he wasn't, the fact that he was moving towards the ball made it appear that he was.

And thank you for working the Steve Perry psyche out into a post...brilliant.

September 22, 2008 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

I did not get to watch any replays after getting home on Sunday night. I watched the replays on my computer at work, so small screen and fuzzy resolution versus an HD TV at home.

To me, it seems that Kieaho bumped Williams right as he was getting ready to turn. It is a judgement call on whether you feel Williams was "looking" for the ball. Obviously, he probably knew from the huddle he was the first receiver option for Gerrard. Seeing it on a big screen could show things differently.

However, that is the nice thing about opinions, we're all allowed to have them.

Maybe Kringlebert can give us his opinion?

September 23, 2008 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

I'd love to see Kringlebert's opinion. He is the "football guy."

Of course, if Keiaho could have just LOOKED AROUND, he'd have knocked the ball down and it would be a moot point.

September 23, 2008 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Lom Henn said...

The enemy may be on to the Steve Perry psyche out. After a rousing success the past several years, I think it's only 1 for 11 so far this season.

Perhaps we should try the Kevin Cronin psyche out.

September 24, 2008 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Kringlebert Fishtybuns said...

OK, since I'm "The Football Guy", I suppose I should put my two-cents worth in. I agree with Zinglebert's assessment that it was a jugement call at best. I read the rules and I can see that it could be interference. However, it's the delay that pissed me off. If you see it, call it! And don't wait until you've been under the Jacksonville Coach's lobby effort. That's right, I'm saying it. After the previous play, Smiling Jack and another coach were hammering the Side Judge about a "no call" on a CLEARLY non-catchable ball. Then there was a delay before that same ref through the flag on the next play? Yeah, a judgement (I believe) was influenced rather than determined was the right call. I call shenanigans!

Now, having said that, this would have all been a moot point if you could stop them from getting 6 yards when they only needed 5! How many fucking times did they get just enough for a first down? I'll tell you...TOO FUCKING MANY!!!!

September 26, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

Interesting that no one in the mainstream media seems to have picked up on the Del Rio lobbying effort.

That's why you, Kringlebert, are the FOOTBALL GUY.

And my hero.

September 30, 2008 at 11:56 AM  

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