INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Four weeks ago, after the Colts choked away a very winnable game against a piss poor Cowboys team, some schmuck with a blog wrote this about the Colts prospects with four games to play:
Is the season over? Probably. This is a lost team. If the Colts do not make the post-season, Jim Irsay needs to consider making changes. And those changes should probably start in the front office.
Four weeks, and four straight wins later, the Colts are not just heading back to the post-season for the ninth straight year (tying the before-mentioned Cowboys run from 1975-1983), they are also the champs of the AFC South for the seventh time since the division was created in 2002. Indy will enter the 2010 Season NFL Playoffs as the #3 seed due to Kansas City losing to Oakland earlier today.
For a club to go from 6-6 and out of the playoff picture to 10-6, division champs, and the #3 seed in the AFC playoffs is a tremendous achievement, especially considering the untold buckets of crap this club has had to deal with in 2010. From punters getting drunk and swimming in frozen canals to Manning throwing pick-sixes, there were times when I, like many other Colts fans, just wanted to throw up my arms and give up on 2010.
But, this team stuck together, and a coach who (rightly) was taking a lot of heat for several WTF decisions proved he could right a wobbly boat and get this club headed in the right direction. Jim Caldwell deserves much of the credit for taking a 6-6 team and winning four in a row. Since his 'challenge' to the Colts defense, the club has not allowed a 100 yard rusher in three weeks. That trend continued today when, as they'd done against Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden, the Colts shut down Chris Johnson.
20 carries. 39 yards. That's 1.95 a carry folks. That's how you play f*cking defense!
As a team, the Titans had 51 yards rushing. Meanwhile, also for the third straight week, the Colts ran for over 100 yards, averaging 4 yards a carry. It's truly no coincidence that, since the Colts re-learned how to run the ball and stop the run, that they are 4-0.
Can't say enough positive things about how this club handled this 'football adversity,' as Peyton Manning called it in his press conference. As Stampede Blue writer David 'nopunintended' Dietz told me the other day, he feels really good about this team. Right now, I do too.