Its been quite some time since I did one of these. Due to a combination of wanting to get away from the distraction of "The Decision", excitement after each playoff game, and school and work, It has been very difficult for me to write one of these. Well I finally found the time. Here are my thoughts of the playoffs.
1.) I think some of the big plays that were given up by the defense through the air was due to the quality run offenses they have faced. On the bomb Mark Sanchez threw to Braylon Edwards, you can tell the whole defense was keying run. There was no safety over the top of Lacey and he himself immediately jumped the play action. The wildcat throw from Brad Smith was also a direct result of the defense reading run first. Because the Dolphins and other teams that ran the wildcat only ran on the Colts. They were not prepared or expecting throws out of that formation. In the second half the D buckled down, played disciplined and shut out the Jets. That is how you avoid the big play.
2.) Not to jump ahead to next year (since we still have one BIG game to go), but I think this Colts receiving corp is going to scare the crap out of teams next season. Assuming Gonzo comes back 100% healthy or at least something within the vicinity of 95%-100%, this group of receivers are going to create match up problems all over the field. Already Collie and Garcon are tearing it up. With Gonzo back and his ability to play both inside and outside, the formations and matchups are limitless. You cant double all of them and no team has 5 Darrelle Revis'. Now if only Hank Baskett can get in the mix
3.) I think the running game is starting to come around. The Jets are known for having a pretty stout defense against the run, but the Colts were able to move the ball pretty well against them yesterday. In fact, Joseph Addai averaged 5 yards-a-carry. 5 YARDS PER POP! That and the Colts were able to collect 100+ yards total. If this carries on to the Superbowl (and hopefully beyond that into the future seasons), the Colts already awesome offense will become even better. Hard to fathom, I know, but if the run is this effective, the big plays will be coming in bunches.
4.) I think the key for the defense against the Saints will be to stay with the mantra of the Tampa 2; Bend but dont break. The defense needs to be stiff in the redzone and not allow the big play. Like they did with almost all the top backs this year, they have to make sure there runs dont get more than 10-13 yards maximum. Keep everything in front of them and then just fly to the QB if/when the Colts get ahead. It was very effective in '07 when the Colts played the Saints in the opener. It should work the same against what is essentially the same offense. Sure they have gotten better and more experienced, but at the same time, they have the usuall suspects. This is easier said than done, and im sure Coyer will throw in a few of his own wrinkles, but essentially, they got to stick to a similar game plan.
5.) I think the key for the offense against the Saints will be to strike fast, pass protect and ball security. Whenever Polian drafts and offensive skill player, the one thing he makes sure about that player is that they dont fumble. Good thing too, because after watching the Vikings yesterday, it shows that turnovers kill you. Too many times, I saw the ball was exposed from players trying to reach for extra yards or loosely handling the football. I hope this is a point of emphasis on the players when they begin practice on Wednesday(?) Im not too worried about pass protection being an issue, but im simply pointing this out due to the number of hits Favre took. Cant have those happen to Peyton. As for striking fast, I think this is key for both the offense and the defense. You want the Saints to be in catchup mode so they can abandon the run, negating their ability to mix it up with the run and the pass. Make no mistake about it, these Saints can score through the air in a hurry, but as we know, thats what the Colts want you to do so Mathis and Freeney (who I hope is ok after that gimpy walk off in the end *knock on wood") can rush the passer and let our talented secondary drop in coverage.
Thats my five for you guys.