Preseason 2008: Bills 20-Colts 7

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Get. Healthy. Now.
Photo: AJ Mast, AP

As we said prior to the game, the only thing worth watching last night was the stadium. And my, did it look beautiful on TV. Seeing them open the roof before the game and then close the roof during the game was definitely cool. The open windows, the expanded seats, and the general look and feel of things makes this new stadium seem truly special.

I wish I could say the Colts play matched the occasion, but the fact of the matter is the Colts just did not care about this game. Ed Johnson, Raheem Brock, Philip Wheeler, Roy Hall, Marcus Howard, Ryan Lilja, Curtis Johnson, Mike Pollak, Robert Mathis, T.J. Rushing, Freddie Keiaho, Peyton Manning, and Jim Sorgi did not suit up. Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders saw very limited action (15-20 plays). Sorry, but when you sit that many critical guys, its impossible to gauge how good or bad your team is, especially if they are going up against a team like Buffalo, who is using the pre-season to gain confidence. Sorgi missing the game summed it up perfectly. The guy hurt himself stepping off the bus.

Honestly.

So, when I see Tony Dungy step up to the podium afterward and talk about how the play was sloppy, I laugh. I don't know what to say to that. When you trot out guys like Ben Ishola, Jordan Senn, Joe Bradley, Victor Worsley, and Kyle Shotwell, you are going to get sloppy play. There's a reason these guys are third teamers in pre-friggin-season. When you match them up against experienced, first unit players like Marshawn Lynch, Paul Posluszny, and Marcus Stroud, then yeah... the play it going to be bad. And all the talk about "game-planning" the game was a farce as well. The Colts ran the ball a total (a TOTAL!) of 12 times. If that was the game plan, whoever planned it should get fired! Since I doubt such a thing was planned, I have to guess that Tom Moore just didn't give a crap when it came to calling the plays. And when you toss Jared Lorenzen out there to run the first string offense, that also tells me you just don't care. Unless Sorgi broke his leg stepping off the bus, he should have played. No excuses. He's a friggin backup.

So, to all you who paid good money to watch a decent preseason game, sorry. The Colts fleeced you. Only one team thought this game was important: Buffalo. The Colts wanted to get it over and done with.

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The open roof looked beautiful.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Despite the Colts generally sucking in the game, there were some noticeable bright spots. Per usual, bamrock has his post-game evaluation, and per usual it is pretty good. Here's mine:

Eric Foster: He's really showcasing some things, getting good penetration into the offensive line, pressuring the QB. He drew a few double teams, and was part of a very good run defense that held Buffalo, a team that ran the ball 42 times, to 2.7 yards a carry.

Tim Jennings: He just won the nickel corner spot with last night's play. The Bills threw to Jennings, and Jennings responded by playing excellent coverage and good tackling. He also laid some nice hits on some people. Jennings has really blossomed in preseason. Both he and Dante Hughes really battled each other, and the Colts have a much better secondary because if it.

Mike Hart: Love this kid. Catching passes out of the backfield, blocking on special teams, and generally acting like a stud. He continues to show a strong burst when running, and he has great technique.

Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney: God it was good to see them again! Bob got to lay some hits on people, and Dwight made a noticeable impact on the pass rush. He killed Buffalo's left tackle every single time he rushed J.P. Losman, and was held on three plays (but no flag).

Tony Ugoh: Tony did a fine job controlling Aaron Schobel, one of the better pass rushers in football.

The Run Defense: Again, Buffalo came into the game wanting to gain confidence in their running game. I don't think they got it. The title of Buffalo Rumblings recap is Buffalo's Offense Impressive in Victory over Indy. I guess if you had to live through last season's inept offense, anything positive looks "impressive." The reality is Buffalo's offense looked dull. The starters managed 10 points against the Colts second and third stringers. The Colts were attacked 42 times by the run, and yielded roughly 2.7 yards each time. That's outstanding for Indy, especially considering most of the starting Colts defense was in street clothes. The Bills offense, in general, looked rather crappy. They managed only 5.2 yards per pass, with much of the first string offense playing Indy's second and third stringers. They did complete 55% of their third downs, but if you are a first string offense going up against scrubs, you should convert 55% of your first downs.

Clint Session: He can hit. He can cause havoc. He can make things happen. He did that last night. He's still too undersized to play SAM backer. Dungy is making a mistake playing him there.

Colin "Not the crappy actor" Ferrell: I think bamrock did the best job summing up Ferrell's play:

For a man his size, about 300 lbs., he is pretty quick.  He was quicker tonight than I remember Pitcock ever being.  Either way, he made some nice plays against the run and even found ways to penetrate and disrupt runners and the quarterback in the backfield.

Devin Aromashodu: Devin, for my money, just beat out Roy Hall for the #4 WR spot. Hall has been hurt most of preseason. This is beginning to become a pattern for Hall, who was hurt most of last season, and players who are hurt are useless. Aromashodu is making the most of his playing time. His 4.4 speed was in display, blowing past Buffalo defenders on the way to a 94 yard TD catch and run.

Special Teams: This area was the one I was cringing over. With so many players hurt, this unit would be cannibalized more so than usual. Buffalo has a very strong ST unit, both returning and covering kicks. Not a good set of circumstances if you're the Colts. However, the shock of all shocks this preseason has been the play of the Colts special teams, and last night they continued to play well. Courtney Roby returned kicks very well, and the coverage units were spot on. Buffalo had 2 punts returned for 3 yards and 2 kickoffs for 44 yards. Indy returned 4 punts for 22 yards and 5 kicks for 162 yards. I also think this Crossett kid was a nice find. Teams needing a punter or a kicker should look at him. He averaged 38 yards a punt (net), and kicked one 57 yards.

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After tattooing him on a special teams play, the Colts Darrell Reid
had a discussion with Bills player Darian Barnes. After the discussion,
Barnes told his trainers on the sideline that his name was "Batman."
Photo: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

I could get into the negatives, but I'd be here all day. Quinn Gray and Jared Lorenzen were awful, Kenton Keith did nothing, and (in general) the offensive side played very underwhelming. The o-line gave the QBs enough time, but for some reason they just couldn't throw the ball accurately. How do you miss Dallas Clark? He's a giant out there. And if you can't throw accurately to Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne (who run precise routes), then start looking for employment in Canada, cause you suck. The TV coverage by NFL Network was a joke as well, taking an already dull game and making it torturous. I might even write a whole article about how bad they were.

All in all, this was a useless game, and the Colts made that plain as day before they kicked the ball off. They clearly have no interest in preseason, but they also don't want to start the actual season. If Polian had his way, the Colts would just practice between now and Kickoff Weekend.

Be sure to check out Buffalo Rumblings for their recap. I think Buffalo's offense looked pretty "meh," but their defense looks very physical and fast. I thought that last year, before everyone got hurt.

The season (mercifully) starts in two weeks, folks.

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