14-0 and 5 to go. Since they played all their starters yesterday, perhaps the Colts might try to do what only the '72 Dolphins have accomplished; become undefeated Superbowl Champs. Of course, that is only an extra incentive. The only thing that matters is bringing back another Lombardi Trophy when this season is all said and done. Lets go to the five.
1.) I think the defensive struggles were a result of a short week. We all know about the injuries and who wasn't there (namely Jerraud Powers) and who was limited (Mathis, Freeney), but to me this was more fatigue than anything. The Colts missed tackles they normally make,. the injury list was a mile long, and they just came off of a physical battle with the Denver Broncos who have a pretty good running game themselves. So while we were all frustrated, I dont think we should stress to much about the defense. They settled down in the second half and when they really needed to make a play, they did. I expect to see a much better performance when January (and hopefully February) come around.
2.). I think the Colts handled Freeney and Mathis' snaps beautifully. When I heard that they were going to be active tonight, I was worried that they were going to receive the majority of the snaps. Thank god they didnt. I cannot stress enough the importance of those two on our defense. We have seen life without them in 2007 and we saw that again last night for 3 quarters. Its a cold, damp, dark place that none of us ever want to go back to. Rest may not be for everyone, but for these guys, we want them to be as close to or at 100%
3) As I stated earlier, I think the time for Gonzo is now. For that matter, lets throw in Adam Vinatieri. I know someone in the earlier fanpost I posted said (paraphrasing here), "whats the deal with IR being so popular? Its not like there are any big name players or anything". While that may be true, the Colts can at least get players to use on special teams or use them to rest some of the defensive starters. You at least want to get production from the guys you have on your team and Gonzo and Vinny aren't providing any by sitting on the bench.
4.) I think Donald Brown needs to get some work in these last two weeks. Though injured like Vinny and Gonzo, I dont feel like he needs to be out there as much to get back into the flow. As a running back, your most primary objective is to gain yards by simply taking a hand off and running. In the Colts system, you will also have to block and catch, but I think Brown only struggles with blocking. He should be fine given that he is mostly a change up back. I just would like to give him a few snaps to get any gitters out of the way.
5.) I think there is a common misconception in the media. In my best Andy Rooney impersonation, "have you ever noticed the media is saying that parity no longer exists in the league? I have." They claim that because the Saints and the Colts are undefeatted, that parity is dead. I dont think so. Yes there are certain factors that grant both the Saints and Colts immunity from losing to some of the NFL's lesser teams, but when you look around at other teams, you notice that the Bengals are at the top of the AFC North, the Patriots are struggling to maintain a lead in the AFC East, and the Steelers have fallen off the map. Parity does exist. Its the reason why teams like the Cardnals and Seahawks can make it to the Superbowl. Its the reason why the Broncos can win despite whole sale changes. Its the reason why this league is so great.