Photo: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
And despite yet another game where special teams kick coverages look like crap, TJ Rushing provides a bright spot, running a punt back 90 yards for a TD. Remember, TJ was cut earlier this year (for the San Diego game) because of all the injuries to the o-line. Damn good thing no one claimed him, because TJ is playing very well both on special teams and on defense.
Anthony Gonzalez also continues to develop. The silver lining of Marvin Harrison's injury is it has forced Gonzo to step up. Manning feels more comfortable throwing the ball to Gonzo, and Gonzo seems more comfortable playing wide than playing in the slot receiver. When Marvin comes back, the Colts should seriously think about starting Reggie Wayne in the slot and have Gonzo out wide.
The Colts win sets an NFL record. They are the first team to win 12 or more wins in 5 straight years. Manning also passed Joe Montana for 8th all-time in pass attempts. The Colts also locked up the #2 seed and won the AFC South, the division they were supposed to lose this year to Jacksonville, or Tennessee, or Houston, or whoever.
I'll admit: I secretly wanted Indy to lose this game, and I REALLY wanted Pittsburgh to beat the Jags. Why? Because the next two games for the Colts mean absolutely NOTHING to them, and they mean everything for their opponents (Texans and Titans, respectively). This means, with the bye, the Colts will not play a meaningful game in almost a month.
Anyone else having flashbacks of 2005?
Look I love the Colts, especially this 07 variety. I'm not a cynic, not a pessimist. I just want my team READY to hit the Playoffs hard. That's why I hoped the Steelers would play us close until the end so we had to fight for that No. 2 seed. I don't mind the bye - it looks like Joe might have hit his "1-year veteran wall" - but I don't want two weeks of starters playing a quarter or two, and then resting, and then sitting in lounge chairs at practice with their Division Champion hats on, and then getting a bye week to prepare for the playoffs. The Colts perform better with less rest, check out the history books. I don't know what the league's general history is here, but this team plays a better underdog.
And neither should they.
For a Raider fan's POV, check out saint's take on the game at Silver and Black Pride. 12-2 and playing good, scrappy football. I hope they can keep it going, even though the next two game mean nothing. This is where we will really see if Dungy can keep them focused and sharp. Go Colts! AFC South Champs!