Welcome to Devil's Take - Week 6 edition. It only took 43 years, but the Colts have finally won in Washington D.C. by defeating the Redskins 27-24. This was a game that at times was sloppy, and at times, very efficient. The Colts with a record of 4-2, enter their bye week at a perfect time, allowing for key players to rest up from injury. So on to the recap:
Joseph Addai is a beast. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool. The guy plays hurt as often as his injuries allow him to. He toasted the Redskins defense for 128 yards on the ground with 1 TD. Unfortunately, he took a very nasty, but clean shot early in the 4th quarter. Best guess is a concussion, but it could have simply aggravated his neck/shoulder injury sustained in last weeks game against Kansas City. To any Colts players or people associated with the organization reading this, send our well wishes to Addai for a speedy recovery.
Colts grade for Week 6: B
I initially was tempted to rate this lower because of the missed tackles, miscues, and turnovers. However, in thinking about it, I was really surprised by the grit of our team. The score doesn't show it, but the defense played solidly. The obvious difference here is the turnovers and missed scoring opportunities.
Special teams looked atrocious all game. The Offense looked good through most of the game. The offensive line ran the ball well, and the pass blocking was decent for most of the evening.
Joseph Addai. The Punisher was a question mark coming into this game, and obviously he wound up leaving the game due to injury late. Despite this, the guy was constantly moving forward all night running the ball. He racked up 128 yards on 17 rushes with 1 TD on a 7.5 ypc average. Even if you remove his 46 yard run in the 3rd quarter, he had a 5.1 ypc average for the night. Addai became the first Colts RB to rush for 100+ yards since the 2008 season, and only the 2nd 100 yard game since the 2007 season.
Jerraud Powers. It's not everyday we get to discuss a defensive back being a potential game MVP lately for the Colts. This guy was all over the place tonight. 9 solo tackles, 2 assists, and 1 INT. Hell of a game man.
Say Goodbye Kenneth Moore - Your tenure as a Colt is officially over. If you are still with this team after Monday, I'd be shocked. You put the ball on the ground twice, your returns looked even worse than Chad Simpsons best returns. I said keep an eye on this in last week's edition, and sure enough, it happened.
- Special Teams - I do not know what the hell you guys were doing most of the game, but it certainly was not your damn job. Moore looked like crap, but you guys certainly made him look even worse. Mediocre blocking, almost nowhere to run, and the Redskins repeatedly had good field position on their returns. Maybe this is just a case of the injuries to the team finally taking a toll, but man you guys were atrocious.
- 170 yards rushing - Just sit back and read that. You have to go all the way back to the Colts 2007 season to see anything along those lines in rushing yards. Both RB's had a 3.9+ average in this game. I was very impressed by the run game all night.
Offensive Line - The media, the GM, and even us, the fans, have given you grief all year long. Tonight you guys came out and really played very well. Sure, there was a few breakdowns, but overall you guys performed up to expectations. Despite giving up 1 sack, there was holes for the running game all night. Addai had the longest run of his career and the best running game totals for a Colts RB in 2 years. The insertion of DeVan back into the lineup once again gave the line a huge boost, as most of the successful running all night came on the left side.
- Ryan Diem - Look man, we all love you. You've been a huge part of this teams success over the last few years. Despite that, the last two weeks you have gotten beat, and beat bad, by defenders. In Week 5, it was a lot of hits and a sack on Manning. This week, it was a sack/fumble on Manning. I think it's time the Colts look at bringing in Linkenbach for some playing time.
***BONUS*** - Pierre Garcon. It's time everybody stops hating on the guy. He played great last week. He played great in this game. He had 1 pass that was an absolute drop. He was targeted on 3 other passes that had almost no chance of even getting to him. In fact, only 1 even hit him in the hand, of which it looks like it jammed/dislocated/broke his finger. Despite all that, the guy makes a ridonkulous one-handed catch and manages to lead the team with 104 yards receiving and 1 TD. Look, the kid is raw, and still learning. However, he absolutely torched the best defenders the Redskins had on defense for a 57 yard pass by Manning.
The NFL's referees
Broken record. Beating a dead horse. Riding in circles. Whatever you want to call it, it is definitely that. All season long I have literally complained about the lack of calls being made. On several plays, multiple Colts defenders were being held. What do I mean by held? I mean by the offensive team players having their hands on the outside of the pads (shoulder/arm area) and pulling jerseys. That is holding per the NFL's official rule book:
Note: Pass blocking: Hand(s) thrust forward that slip outside the body of the defender will be legal if blocker immediately worked to bring them back inside. Hand(s) or arm(s) that encircle a defender—i.e., hook an opponent—are to be considered illegal and officials are to call a foul for holding. Blocker cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an opponent in a manner that restricts his movement as the play develops.
Essentially, it means keep your hands inside the defenders pad area (between the shoulders) and don't wrap them up. This was not the case on several plays. I can name at least a half dozen plays where the offensive line not only committed holding, but it broke the offense for a big play. Look, I hate writing about it. I know you hate reading about it. The bottom line here is that for all the crap that the Colts defense gets for their bad run defense, these missed calls are impacting THAT very defense.
After the season opening loss, I was so utterly disgusted as many of you were. I did nothing but yell and scream at my TV. I avoided reading the media, watching TV, even avoided this site at the time. Why? Because my team came out and played like crap. I can take a loss that we play well in, but that game, was worse for me than the SB. It's like we got back on the bus before the game even started.
What a difference a few weeks makes huh? The Colts are 4-2, heading to their bye week. It comes to us not a moment too soon either, as the Colts have several players who could use the down time to recover from injuries. The best part? We get to come back off our bye to face the Houston Texans. You don't think the Colts won't be looking for a little payback? I know they will be. The Texans have looked sloppy since their big win over the Colts, and I expect the Colts to come out full throttle at home in this one. Both teams will have 2 weeks to prep for this one, as the Texans are also on their bye week.
Offense: The Colts have got to start running their no huddle offense more. In every game they've used it on a regular basis, they have repeated success. Whether it ended with a TD or a FG, the Colts have been very successful at moving the ball at will. The Redskins, just like the Chiefs, have a great defense. However, in both games, they struggled to match up with the Colts 2 minute drill offense. Coaches, it's time to go to this as a standard on a regular basis. Force the issue.
Injuries: Obviously the injuries have impacted us. You saw Pat Angerer make his first NFL start tonight at LB. I thought he played well, despite it being obvious that he would be taken advantage of. 1 sack, 11 tackles, and a pass defended is a good start for the rookie out of Iowa. I know his starting tonight made several of you happy campers. Honestly, I'm glad the Colts rested Brackett. We can not afford to lose the guy long term, and despite Angerer's play tonight, you could see the difference Brackett would have brought to the defense.
Once this team comes back from it's bye, only Conner and Sanders should be guys who do not play going forward due to injury. Gonzo, Brackett, Brown, even Addai, should all be ready for the game at home against Houston.
One minor note: Some of you have made comments about the injuries on defense and offense. Don't forget that some of these guys are having to play double duty to account for losses of key guys. This opens up the potential for being more banged up/injured. Not an excuse, but just wanted to remind you...
Donovan McNabb: It's always been very hard for me to not root for this guy. How many players have repeatedly saved his team, repeatedly led them to the playoffs, and been as disrespected as this guy? He may not be the best QB in the league, but I absolutely love the guys heart. Imagine what this guy could have been if he was at the helm of the Colts offense, or even the Vikings offense. I just really respect the guy and mad props to his team tonight. They fought hard and despite the loss, earned my respect. This is a team that has all the makings of a serious playoff run and could be downright scary once they get that offense going.
Missed Tackles: This was ridiculous. I saw several defenders making contact 4-5 yards deep in the backfield and repeatedly failing to wrap up the player. To be somewhat fair, the backs for the Redskins probably outweighed all but 2 or 3 players on the Colts defense. That however, is still just an excuse. When you hit someone, damnit, hold on to them. If you can't bring them down, grab anything to hold on. This was almost as bad as the Texans game in terms of execution. I've said this all season long that the problem is execution mistakes. Several others have also stated this. You cannot make excuses for bad effort.
As always, comments and opinions are appreciated. GO HORSE!