Welcome to the Devil's Take!!!!!! Today, our beloved Colts rallied in a spectacular fashion to beat the vaunted Green Bay Packers. Talk about a complete 180 in terms of how I felt from the beginning to the end. This game really felt like the 2006 AFC Championship, down big early, and just grinding it out for the win. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of this team. Sure, we had some bumps today, but we also laid down some serious lumber in return.
You seriously can't be a Colts fan right now and not be pleased with today's performance. The Colts after learning of a serious illness impacting their coach, came out and looked a bit out of it. Still, they battled tough and kept the grind going. They remembered that this game is 60 minutes, not 15, not 30, but 60 minutes. Today, the tortoise beat the hare.
I've already seen a few people saying the Colts did not win this game, didn't deserve to win it. That's just plain crap. Backups at the center and both guard positions, 2 starting CB's out, and then injuries to Moala in the game. This is a game we should have lost by 30 on paper!!!! This is why they play game. It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
- Andrew Luck had his 3rd - 300 yard game in his first 4 games, tying a NFL record held by Cam Newton. In 4 games, Luck has 1208 yards, an average of 302 ypg. That's freaking amazing, considering he's faced 3 of the top defenses in the NFL in 4 weeks. Oh yeah, we beat the team that destroyed the Bears that destroyed us. Rather hilarious.
- Reggie Wayne has had a career revival. He's off to the absolute BEST start of his NFL career, including his years with Manning at QB. Through 4 games he has 506 yards on 36 receptions for an average of 14.1 ypc. Oh, and by tonight, he'll be leading the NFL in total yards by a WR.
- Donald Brown - What can I say? The kid can run the ball in the NFL when someone actually throws a block. He doesn't have to be a grinder, he just has to get the ball going forwards. Nice to see Arians making the change to getting him outside more. 17 rushes for 84 yards at almost 5 ypc. Even if you take away his 14 yard run, it's still 16 rushes for 70 yards at almost 4.4 ypc. Brown already has more yards in one game then all the other RBs on the roster have combined.
- I want to know why Edgerrin James number is being worn by anybody for the Colts. That to me is simply an offense that can not be allowed. The guy is the best RB in the history of the team, and you let a nobody wear it? Not even just wear it, but the fact it was even available is mind blowing. Rectify it Colts, and do it yesterday.
The Colts have played up and down all season, and today was by far the best game I've seen them play all season. This wasn't a full 60 minutes of effort, but it was a better overall effort than any previous game. Yes, they won against the Vikings, but the Vikings self destruction clearly was the factor in that game. The Packers, while making some mistakes, clearly had the Colts on the ropes early. In fact, the turning point in this game was the Colts missed FG late in the 2nd quarter. Sure, the Colts missed the FG, but they were finally getting into a rhythm offensively. They were able to move the ball productively. This would carry over into the 3rd quarter where the defense would get the party started.
Speaking of the defense, what a crazy turn around in this game? In the first half, the Colts couldn't protect Luck and the Packers sacked him 4 times. In the second half, the Packers got zero. Ironically, the reverse would be true of the Packers. The Colts couldn't even so much as touch Rodgers in the first half, only to sack him 5 times in the second half. The defense is slowly getting there, and once they are healthy again, this is a team effort that truly could be dangerous moving forwards.
Officiating in the league has gotten better since the original refs are back, but the truth is that in this game, there were a few blown/bad calls that had direct impacts early on. There are 4 in the Colts/Packers game in particular, that stand out.
- The missed neutral zone infraction on the Colts first series. It's clearly visible in both the replays and at the time of the play that the Packers were lined up offsides. Yet, the Colts are called for a penalty. This was a bad call by the refs, and at BARE minimum should have been an offsetting penalty and a redo for the Colts. Colts lose the ball instead.
- The hit on Andrew Luck by Nick Perry. Bad call by the refs. It was a clean hit, a by the books hit him in the chest hit. Unfortunately, the NFL is a bit trigger happy on protecting people. I played defense and this was not a penalty.
- On the Colts FG score in the first half, the refs missed a blatant pass interference call on Woodson in the endzone. This should have been a 1st down and Goal at the one yard line. It would have drastically altered the game at this point. Unfortunately, the zebras missed it, and the Colts would settle for a FG.
- The pass interference call on the Packers late in the game, was marginable at best, and honestly, should have been a no call. Sure, you can call Shields for an armbar, but you can clearly see Avery is locked on to him in the replays. Maybe call it a gimme from the refs for the missed one earlier in the game, but it was a bad call either way.
I don't know about any of you, but I was very happy to see the Colts get a win on this game. The team, the community, and the sheer outpouring of concern for Coach Pagano, just really needed this. Hopefully, the Colts can take from this a renewed sense of pride, and look forward to the Jets next week.
As a sidebar, I want to send a quick shout out to Bruce Arians. Today, the Colts looked much better offensively than they have all year. Sure, there is still work to be done, but man oh man did it look 10 times better. The problem was never really the amount of runs or passes, it was about trying to force a square peg into a round hole. You can't line up a finesse team and try to pound the rock in a Power formation. It don't work. Today, we saw almost none of that. Most of the break downs on offense today were pretty much due to a very nasty defensive effort by the Packers. The few that weren't, are just simply getting beat. If he continues to call games like this, the Colts could seriously be a contender this year, not just years down the road.
By the way, congrats on the Colts for matching their 2011 season win record. Everything from here is all about making other teams pay for laughing....