INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to pass while under pressure from Dwight Freeney #93 and Robert Mathis #98 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
So, now that the craziness of Jim Irsay and his comments at the Super Bowl breakfast are behind us this morning, we can now go back to obsessing over the near-win-that-was-actually-a-loss last night over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As I repeat to the point where people are starting to think I have Alzheimer's, we are realists around here. The season is over. 0-3 teams do not make the playoffs. In roughly fifteen years, only three teams have started 0-3 reached the postseason: 1992 San Diego Chargers, the 1995 Detroit Lions, and the 1998 Buffalo Bills.
So, please, erase the thought of (cue Jim Mora's high-pitched squawk) 'playoffs!' from your mind. The Colts, as a team, knew that an 0-3 start pretty much killed their playoffs chances, which was likely why they played balls-to-the-wall last night.
Of course, had they played like that the first two weeks, they might not be 0-3 now. Here are the notes:
- Pat Angerer should be the new starting MIKE for the Colts defense. He's clearly better than Gary Brackett right now. I don't care that Brackett is a 'team captain.' He is an inferior player to Angerer at this point. Since the season is over, only makes sense to let the kid keep playing. Brackett should be a goner at the end of the year anyway.
- Bill Polian told Bob Lamey in a post-game interview that Kavell Conner, Pat Angerer, and Philip Wheeler played as well at the LB position as any group that has ever played in Indianapolis during Bill's tenure. I agree with Bill. These should be Indy's starting backers for the rest of 2011. All three were beasts against the run last night.
- Conner still struggles in coverage. Ben Roethlisberger picked on his 'zone' all night.
- Impressive to see Jeff Saturday pretty much dominate Casey Hampton all night. Hampton is the best NT in football, when healthy.
- My goodness, this secondary is terrible. David Caldwell is this year's Aaron Francisco. How, in a base Tampa-2 look, does Mike Wallace get THAT wide open on the 81-yard TD?
- Joe Lefeged is better than David Caldwell. Why didn't Lefeged start?
- Nice to see a better effort from the offensive line. Yeah, Anthony Castonzo whiffed on the block that got Curtis Painter killed (sack, fumble, TD Steelers), but overall both Painter and Kerry Collins had time to throw the ball, and the Colts running game looked good.
- Is it a coincidence that the run defense looked better with Brackett and Fili Moala on the sidelines? No.
- Antonio Johnson was a beast last night. No one on the Steelers line could move him. That said, the Steelers offensive line is worse than the Colts. A lot worse.
- Nice to see Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis essentially take over the game in the second quarter.
- Special teams = fart noise.
We'll write about the play of the quarterbacks later. Right now, while the secondary and the special teams for this team are woeful, it was nice to see this team's defensive front seven and the offensive line step up and play much better than they did in Weeks One and Two.
Thoughts? Ideas? Additional observations?