Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That's the Way the Ball Bounces

I was really dreading this morning after the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Tennessee Flaming Thumbtacks last night on Monday Night Football. I was not in the mood to deal with Bob Kravitz and the local sports talk media on the demise of the Colts. It was a frustrating game to watch and gives Tennessee a near insurmountable 4-game lead with 9 games to play.

The most frustrating part to me is the way the ball has bounced for Indy this year. Last night was a microcosm of how things just are not going the Colts' way. In the second quarter alone:

  • Peyton Manning threw an unwise pass to Reggie Wayne that was tipped. The ball deflects directly to Chris Hope for the interception. A few feet in either direction and it probably drops harmlessly.
  • Chris Johnson fumbled the ball and the Colts recovered it. The officials evidently felt that the ground caused the fumble and Tennessee kept the ball. Replays showed that the ball came out before he was tackled. Jeff Fisher wisely ran a quick play before Tony Dungy could call for a replay.
  • Immediately after that, Clint Session had a easy interception and could have run it back a ways, but he dropped the pass because he started upfield before he fully had the ball.
  • Pierre Garcon stupidly chose not to field a punt around the Colts' 25 and ball bounces all the way back to the Colts' 6-yard line.

Then later in the game:

  • Marlin Jackson caused a fumble and the ball rolled harmlessly out of bounds.
  • Anthony Gonzalez catches a third-down pass about a yard short of the first down and is immediately tackled. Receivers need to know where that first down marker is and make sure they are past it!
  • The Colts screw up two fourth-down plays. On fourth-and-1, the Colts hand off to Dominic Rhodes who if stuffed for a one yard loss. The Colts do not have the O-line that can "power" their way for one yard when they absolutely need it. Then later on a fourth-and-3, Peyton locks on Marvin and former Colt Nick "If you had fucking cut back outside we would have gone to another Super Bowl" Harper breaks up the pass. Gonzo was wide open for the first down this time.

Back in 2006 when the Colts were on the their way to the Super Bowl, it seemed that they caught more of the breaks that year. Offensive linemen recovering fumbles in the end zone, defensive backs catching interceptions, bad passes falling harmlessly to the ground. Granted, the Colts have caught some breaks due to bad play calling and bad decisions by Minnesota and Houston. Otherwise, the Colts could be much worse off than they are. Yet, even at 3-4, we still have a very good shot at a wild card birth.

As I have quoted before, "Better lucky than good," but the Colts have not been good very often let alone lucky. I will not say that the Colts' season is on the brink. Even if they lose versus New England next week, the Colts have shown they CAN play like their former selves and would still have chance to garner a playoff spot in the AFC. The big question is WILL they turn it on play like Super Bowl champions or flat like roadkill?

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