Pierre Garçon has a lot on his mind right now. You would too if you had friends and family in your home country dealing with a devastating earthquake.
If Pierre goes out and lays an egg against the Ravens on Saturday night, I know I won't blame him, and I know most of you won't either. Facing a defense with Baltimore's pedigree in your first playoff game as a starter is challenging enough without worrying about the well-being of people you care about at home.
Yet, if Pierre can block out all of this week's distractions, he could be the X-facton in a Colts' Super Bowl run. Though he is a receiver, Pierre reminds me a lot of former Colt running back Dominic Rhodes. Consider what they have in common:
- Neither one attended a Division 1 school.
- On a team that relies on skill and savvy to beat opponents, both players bring a physical element to the table.
- Both players have a "boom or bust" tendency. Whether its making a big play for the Colts or creating an opportunity for their opponent, they will do something to affect the game's outcome.
As we all remember, during the Colts' Super Bowl run, Rhodes was all boom. He came up with big performances in each playoff game along the way to the Lombardi trophy. Perhaps his best performance came against the Ravens when he iced the game by converting on two third down runs and coming up with 8 yards on 2nd and 13 to turn what would have been a Third and Long into a much more manageable play, which the Colts converted when the Peyton Manning hit Dallas Clark and sucked the air out of M&T Bank stadium.
Though he won't be gaining extra yards inside the hashmarks, the opportunities Pierre creates by extending plays after he catches the ball could be the difference between winning and losing. His physicality gives the team a swagger that they haven't had without Rhodes. You could tell something was different about the team in 2006, and I believe a big part of that the confidence Rhodes gave the team when it got time to be physical.
Blocking out the events of the last week will be easier said than done. Pierre has a lot on his plate right now, but if he can focus on setting the same type of example that Dominic Rhodes did during the Colts' Super Bowl run, Indianapolis could find themselves back in Miami celebrating another Super Bowl title.