If you take away Brian Leonard's 41-yard run on 4th-and-one coming out of a fake punt formation, the Bengals averaged less than three yards per carry. So, imagine if the Colts had done their job and stopped the fake. Imagine if Jim Caldwell had done what just about everyone in Lucas Oil Stadium was screaming for him to do: Take a timeout and get his personnel set to stop the fake.
Last night, during Bill Polian's weekly radio show, the Colts president discussed this play. In Polian fashion, he defended Caldwell, saying that instead of the coach screwing up, it was the players who did.
In his weekly chat with readers Monday night, Phil Wilson of the Indianapolis Star doesn't buy Polian's excuse:
I heard Bill Polian's explanation on that tonight. I'm not saying I buy it, but he said the Colts expected and prepared for the fake, they had the right personnel on the field, but it wasn't lined up properly at the end and left a gap unprotected. Leonard ran through that gap. I guess that's the only explanation he could give. He's not going to say, we screwed up, we should have called a timeout, and show up his coach. I don't know. I'm not sure I buy it.
I'm in Phil's camp. Not sure I think Bill is being on-the-level with us.
Caldwell should have called a timeout, gotten his people set, and then given them a better chance to stop the play.
This is the second time this season where people have openly questioned Jim Caldwell's use of timeouts in critical game situations. The first time was the Week Four loss at Jacksonville, where Caldwell calling timeout gave the Jaguars extra time to make a play down the field and kick a game-winning field goal.