This picture pretty much sums up Week 3 for the Colts: Collie - All day, every play... the guy played like a turbo charged mime. He was the silent assassin for much of this game...
So how would I rate this weeks game? A solid B+. We had a lot of good decent things going on, and some really average things going on, but nothing worth getting all bent out of shape over. The Broncos came out with a lot of heart and were looking to ride the emotional wave to victory. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Broncos fans, hold your heads up high however. Your team did not let you down. Your coach? I'd be outside his house right about now with some pitchforks and some tar/feathers.
1.) Darth Manning - Just when you think the guy is having a ho hum day, he drops 300+ on you. Through 3 games, Manning is 3rd overall in yards, first in TD's (9TDs, 0 INT's) and is second overall in QB rating. He also has the 3rd best passer rating in the league, as I will not include Vince Young's result in the list. He's thrown the ball less than 44 times.... Manning threw it that many in this weeks game, and had almost as many completions as VY does through 3 games. Going into this year, the Colts received one of the leagues most difficult schedules, but through 3 games the Colts offense is still a top 3 because of Manning.
2.) GAME BALL - Austin Collie. If it wasn't Pierre Garcon in last year's AFCCG stepping up, it's been the Collie man doing it. The guy looks like the second coming of Brandon Stokely out there. Constantly catching the ball in his hands, and never looking back. Our 3rd WR leads the league in receptions and yards, and has caught 4 TD's in 3 games.
3.) Blair White - Welcome to the NFL my good man. You played great in a fill-in role for the Colts, and because of that, plan on staying on the roster the rest of the year. 3 catches, 27 yards, a TD, and he played within the system at all times. Very well done sir.
4.) Colts Defense - You catch a ton of flack through the year for the amount of yards you give up. Yet, when it came down to it, you held in the most critical area of the field. You also kept the great rushing attack of the Broncos to mediocre levels, which impacted their ability to kill the clock. I'm not happy about the yards you gave up, but overall it was a solid effort.
5.) Jeff Linkenbach. You sir, deserve a beer, and a toast. You played what is arguably the most critical line position for the Colts, and performed ABOVE expectations. Yes, you got beat a few times, but you didn't give up, and you certainly did not quit. Ultimately, the sack total for the Broncos was
one zero (kudos to coltsfoot85). Given the state of the line, and the positition you were put in, I could not have asked for a better outcome.
The 3 Blind Mice - I'm not at all forgiving for bad officiating. I think it's ridiculous, especially at the professional level. In the 2003 AFC Championship game, the Patriots were holding, hitting, or flat out pass interfering on the Colts WR's through much of the game. It was such an ordeal that it led to a huge emphasis on the calls being called. Many viewed this as the Colts getting a pass, but in truth, the missed calls by the referees were just that bad.
This leads to this years officiating. Through the first 3 weeks of the season, we've seen several bad calls by the officials. We've also seen some very great officiating. It's the constant good cop bad cop routine that drives me insane. Look, they're human, I expect them to miss one or two holding calls or something like that. However, that doesn't mean they get a pass on bad officiating in general.
The Broncos were the beneficiary of a few missed holding calls, one of which was on Lloyd's long TD catch. The reason I mention this is because some of us have been pretty critical of the Colts defense and the huge yards they gave up. However, when your D-Line is being held at the point of attack, in some cases having a defender dive at your knees (should have been a penalty), there's not much you can do to generate pressure. And yes, the Broncos are NOTORIOUS for cut blocks, so please, don't try to defend it. Fortunately, the Colts played well enough without it that it was a non factor, but other teams are seeing penalties alter the game.
Josh McDaniels - You sir, are the reason your team lost. In two critical times, you chose to go for all the marbles instead of kicking FG's. Instead of coming away with points, you allow a team to go the opposite way and score points and kill clock. I love the all or nothing attitude, because I appreciate teams who play it balls to the wall. Unfortunately, piss poor play calling and bad execution mean kick the FG. Instead of being down by 7, you were down by 10 to start the 3rd quarter. Yes, you scored on your opening drive, but that was the end of it. Kicking a FG would have meant a tie game and possibly altered the field of play....doesn't guarantee a win...but definitely changes the Colts game plans...and yours..
The Gonzo Project - has come to an end. After watching Collie with his coming out party, and the performance of Blair White, I don't see how the Colts can keep the guy. Yes, he's a talented WR and he's done well when he's healthy. Yet, he's being outperformed in virtually every aspect by guys drafted lower than him, or in one case, not even drafted. I would love nothing more than for Gonzo to prove me wrong, but packaging him and perhaps say a lower round pick for a quality starting OL, would be a good trade in my books. Remember, just because a guy doesn't cut it somewhere else, doesn't make him a bum. Ryan Lilja and Jeff Saturday were both cut by teams and look at what they did with the Colts.
Peyton Manning and the injury rumor - Whether BBS's report of Peyton's injury is a rumor or accurate, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the guy is taking more unnecessary shots than is warranted. Manning had offseason surgery, he took a beating in Week 1, and he's been asked to throw a lot in the first 3 weeks. So, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he aggravated the injury he had "fixed" or if he simply re-injured it. What I do know is that if it was truly as bad as it sounds, the guy would not be playing. The Colts would not risk a permanent disabling injury to Manning if it was truly that serious. While I believe he's probably banged up, I don't believe that he's seriously injured.
The Colts running game - While I agree with BBS in that the Colts running game against the Broncos was mediocre, I think it's a bit overblown. The Broncos have some of the best defensive backs in the league, and it goes without saying that they can play man coverage virtually much of the game. This results in most cases 7-8 guys in the box against a 5-6 man front. In most cases, the more guys win. Add in the factor that the Broncos defense is one of the better rush defenses (only giving up 3.7 ypg average thus far), it's not a huge issue. Work needed? Absolutely, but I think you have to focus on getting guys healthy. You also have to account for the loss of Pierre Garcon in the passing game and that allowed Denver to focus more on the run game.
Dwight Freeney - Pure speculation, but I think the guy was sick or gassed yesterday. He looked like a guy trying to work off a hang over to be honest. Playing at Denver can do that to people, and in the heat, it can impact people differently. Ultimately, I'm guessing it won't be a factor for next week.
Bye Weeks - Peter King had an interesting comment in his SI article. I am in complete agreement. In my opinion, the earliest bye week should be scheduled for Week 5. Even then, I am more of the opinion that you could simply go with a week 7/8 bye week for all teams. I'd rather see the entire league off for one week, than this play 3 games and go to a bye week garbage. It has irritated me for years because the Colts have always had like a week 4 bye, and they needed it at like week 9.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my take on things!