Well, some here were hoping (almost praying) for the Colts to come out against an opponent and flex their muscles. Today, you got it. This is the Colts team we knew was there. This was the team we knew could come out and impose their will on an opponent. Some will demean the win, saying that the opponent was just the Bengals. Well, the Bengals tied the Eagles and almost beat the Giants in OT in the Meadowlands. So, they can play, but today the Colts had their number.
Defensively, the Colts put the clamps on Cincy's offense. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney combined for 4 sacks (1 forced fumble), and Kelvin Hayden had two INTs, returning one for an 85 yard TD. Yeah, it was a good idea not to IR him after the first Houston game, wouldn't you say? Oh, and Bob Sanders did play, and had 8 tackles.
BEWARE THE BOB EFFECT!
On offense, Peyton Manning continues to remind people he is the 2008 NFL MVP, throwing for 270 yards and 3 TDs with no turnovers. And the one, the only Gijon Robinson caught 6 balls for 69 yards!
All in all, this was a dominant, and it was nice to see our team finally come out of their shell a bit. The bummer is this has to happen to Kirkendall's team. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy my guys beat his, but Kirkendall hasn't had much good news to blog about this year, and I hate seeing him down. Despite the score, Cincy's D is improved. They held Indy to only 57 yards rushing (2.8 a play). So, there are building blocks to improve, and they'll get there. Check out Cincy Jungle for a Bengals fan take on the game.
Despite the great win (Indy's 6th in a row), it looks like the Tennessee Titans will beat the Cleveland Browns. This means that unless the Titans screw up and utterly choke this game away, they have locked up the AFC South. This will be the first time since 2003 that a team other than the Colts has won the division. That is five straight years winning the division. The Titans totally deserve to win it, and we congratulate them.
For Indy, winning their 9th game this season means that for seven straight years, the Colts have had at least nine wins a year. That is remarkable, especially in the salary cap era. Since Peyton Manning and Bill Polian have come to Indy, the colts have won nine or more games in nine of eleven seasons. I believe the only other team with a resume like that is the Patriots.
So, while our team might not have won the division this year, they're still pretty damn good. And if you sleep on them, they'll burn you. Go Colts!