Welcome to Devil's Week 5 edition of the Colts. Today's game was ugly. I could actually label it with a few different adjectives but that would not be appropriate for some potential readers eyes. The Colts faced off with the only undefeated team left in the NFL this season, the Kansas City Chiefs (3-0). The best passing offense versus one of the stingiest defenses in the entire league. How would it play out?
With all the uncertainty and injuries coming into this game, I really did not have high expectations for this game. The Colts were coming off a bad loss, and I knew they would be looking to make amends on defense. The Colts offense has rarely ever been shutdown, so I knew they would be okay. I thought the Colts would win this game, but I was expecting a different outcome than the one we got.
Colts grade for Week 5: B-
The offense never was in sync, due in large part to the constant push of the Kansas City defensive line. Tamba Hali made Ryan Diem look like a turnstyle. I got dizzy just watching. Lots of wierd throws from Manning and despite the ugly throws, a lot of potential passes that hit receivers in the hands. Some were truly uncatchable, but some could have been caught.
The defense looked average today. Yes, they kept the vaunted running game under 150 yards rushing, but the Colts always seemed to give up a big play after getting a good stop. The only super positive I can give about the defense was that they kept the Chiefs scoreless in the redzone.
Special teams was also average, as the return game was blah. To be fair, the kid had a week to get acquainted and the Chiefs ST's are some of the league's best...... I just didn't see any explosiveness like we saw with Devin Moore. Keep an eye on this, as this may be a problem down the road.
Kansas City defense. You guys played fantastic today against arguably the best QB in football. It helps of course that you have a defensive coordinator who to this day is the only guy I've ever seen hand Manning a defense that he struggles against. 4 of Manning's worst games as a pro come against a Crennel led defense. Add in the constant pressure, the Colts were never in a position to really put this game away. Had your offense produced on a few of their drives, you would have won this game. Consolation prizes don't mean much, but if I could afford it, I'd buy all of you a beer.
- Bad coaching calls - For the second game against the AFC West, we have a head coach make a bunch of bone headed decisions. First, you start off with a failed on-side kick. I'll give you a pass on that, but it was still a foolish move. Secondly, you drive the length of the field on your first drive and get stalled inside the 15 yard line. You kick the FG here. Instead, you go for it and give the Colts the ball. Ultimately, I think this decision hurt the Chiefs at the end of the game. If you had kicked that FG, the game play calling alters the rest of the way. Bad decision making by the coach on a few key plays ultimately killed this offense. Just my opinion, but with the way your defense is playing, you take the points against the Colts every time.
Beating a dead horse - You can read my previous week's posts on the Colts game to see it, but the officiating is in dire need of some improvement. In this game, I can count 3 particular plays that were either bad calls or no calls. In the 3rd quarter, you had a pass interference call go against KC where a.) the ball was not catchable and b.) the defender did not interfere with him. If anything, it's a 5 yard penalty, not a pass interference call. There was a no-call on the Bowe dropped TD pass. In the replays you can clearly see him shove Powers off coverage which allows Bowe to even make an attempt on catching this ball. That should have been offensive pass int. There was also a horse collar tackle on Dallas Clark by the Chiefs that went uncalled on a late 4th quarter drive. All I ask for is a consistent officiating. I know they will miss one occasionally, but these were painfully obvious calls in which two of them took place near officials.
- Dropped Passes - Many of you have repeatedly took potshots at Pierre Garcon about his dropping passes. Guess what folks? He's not the only one. I've mentioned this in several of my posts recently, both in my articles and other fanposts. The Colts lead the league in dropped passes, and Garcon hasn't contributed to that in 3 weeks. In fact, Garcon had only 2 passes thrown his way that were missed that could have been caught. On one, he ran the wrong route (Wayne also did this in the game) and on another he made a valiant effort on a bad throw by Manning. To be perfectly honest, I think it's high time people took a step back and started throwing some heated remarks at Wayne and Clark and Addai for their drops. The Colts had 12 dropped passes as of the 1st quarter when Addai dropped the easy catch.
- The Colts Offensive line - Please guys, some consistency would be nice. You look great on one play, and get blown out badly a few plays in a row. The only positive I can give you guys today was the fact the running game looked decent. Yes, there were some questionable play calling, but the running backs had plenty of room to run on a number of plays. Let's continue to improve this, because the play action passing looked great today despite the stellar play of the Chiefs defense. It's the single part of our offense that has not been being respected.
- Mike Hart - What a performance by you. You were considered to most likely not even play, and you come in for relief on Joseph Addai and just ground out some very impressive runs. While you didn't have a whole lot of time to make things happen, you were still running over guys. That TD run is definitely highlight reel material. 11 rushes for 50 yards and a TD. I'll take that effort every week. In fact, if not for the kneel downs by Manning, the Colts would have had 100 yards rushing for the day. As it is, the RBs accounted for 144 yards of offense (rushing/receiving).
***BONUS*** - Gary Brackett, I loved watching you get emotional on the field today. I hate losing. I hate watching you guys play like crap. It was very refreshing to see a Colts player get physically pissed off on the field and I need to see more of that. I need to see that frustration and that brutal effort to maul someone on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, the defense got better as the game went, but early on, I know I wasn't the only one ready to start throwing things.
I saw Blair White playing special teams today, even making a tackle or two. WTF is he doing playing special teams!?!?!?? As banged up as we've been on WR's, that is a moronic decision by the organization. I could understand this if Gonzo was healthy and was ready to play, but I doubt we will even see much of Gonzo for a few more weeks if at all. Look, there are plenty of roster "fillers" that can play ST's. I just cannot help but question the decision to play your #4 WR on ST's when you've signed a few additional players in the last few days with lots of ST's experience.
Glad to see the Colts re-sign Tyjuan Hagler. The guy has always played very well for the Colts, and it's nice to see that he was re-signed.
Aaron Francisco was the game's starting safety in place of injured Melvin Bullitt. This was not a surprise. While I think King would be a better overall athlete, Francisco has the experience and the longest playing time with the Colts. He knows the scheme, he knows the team, and while he is not a huge playmaker, he's reliable. He played very well today in run support. He's not the greatest player, but in a pinch, I'd rather he took the start. As the season progresses, I would be surprised that he continues to be the starter. Expect the Colts to force feed some reps to King in practice and over the bye week.
Adam Vinatieri - to steal a line from Randy Moss, straight cash homey... Despite not having the leg you once did, you have repeatedly bailed the Colts out with timely FG's.... here's to hoping we can get this train rolling once more.
Kelvin Hayden - Get your running shoes, because if I was your coach you'd spend the entire week running laps at practice. That boneheaded penalty was atrocious. Get your head out of your ass and play the game like we know you can.
After I posted this, I started reading a few other fanshots and got a bit annoyed by some of the remarks I was reading. The Colts schedule this year to start the year has been against teams that are at least in recent history, heavily run based offenses. The fact that the Colts have struggled a bit is a no brainer. However, a few things that are overlooked here are that all of the teams we have faced are all around .500 or better. We have not been playing the Rams, the Lions, the Buccaneers type schedules that it seems we usually get in the early part of the year. Add in to that all 5 of the teams we have faced know us quite well, it's remarkable that we are 3-2. We should be 4-1, but that's a lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda.
The Colts schedule changes to teams who will struggle facing our offense after our bye week, and we could easily go on a tear down the stretch. Remember, whether we finish as a 1st seed or a 6th seed, we are in the playoffs.
I especially want to thank all the Chiefs fans who have come over and offered some very nice heated and informative posts here at Stampede Blue. Joel, your group is very cool and your team is still the team to watch out for in the AFC West. Hopefully, we'll see you guys again come playoff time.
***The 3 times the Chiefs have started out 3-0 or better, they have lost to the Colts during the course of the year, be it regular season or playoffs. (1996, 2004, and 2010). ***