Please welcome back the return of The Devil's Take!
It's the start of a new year of professional football in the Circle City! 30 years of the Colts in Indianapolis, it's hard to believe it. I can remember as a very young kid my first game here in Indy and I've been hooked on football ever since. This weekend's game saw the Colts win their first season opener since 2009, despite playing less than up to par.
Before I get too involved in the Colts, I just want to say HOLY CRAP to that game Peyton Manning had out in Denver!
7 touchdowns, 462 yards passing, and he still could of thrown for at least 2 more. The man is simply the greatest QB to ever play the game. We were so very lucky to not only be a witness to this man play in a Colts uniform, but it still hurts to see him in any uniform not a Colts.
So, about them Colts......
- A win is a win is a win, except when it ain't. The Colts came into this game as a heavily favored team and it looked like down to the last 90 seconds of the game, they were going to come away with a loss. Despite 2 turnovers and a missed FG, the Raiders played the Colts wire to wire and had a chance to win it until turnover #2 with under a minute to go.
- The offense and special teams both looked fairly good. The Colts kept the Raiders contained for the most part in terms of fielding punts and returning kickoffs. The offense was balanced and had no turnovers.
- The Colts had almost 130 yards rushing in the game, averaging about 4.9 yards per carry. That's a very good sign of the Colts offense working in the right direction. Many will say the Raiders defense is crap, but they played very solid against us.
- The defense looked very vanilla, and very bad. You can check out Brad Well's article here on that very subject. You can't make a nobody QB who's making only his 2nd NFL start look like the second coming of Michael Vick. You simply CANNOT do that. The Colts have too much talent on the defensive side of the ball to simply say they got beat. They weren't even in the right position most of the game.
So, as you can see, on any given Sunday, you still have to show up and play the game. The Colts were outgained by almost 100 yards and held the ball almost 6 minutes less than the Raiders. Normally, I wouldn't say losing the time of possession game matters if you score TDs and they score FGs. Miami Dolphins game a few years ago anyone?
However, the Raiders started what amounted to a rookie QB and his athletic ability to run absolutely torched this defense. The schemes and play calling of whomever (Manusky/Pagano) was calling the defense, was simply bad. I spent several years playing defense as a football player, but that doesn't make me an expert. However, seeing the calls again and again, knowing what's coming, and the team not adjusting? That makes me able to say it's bad play calling.
The Colts have Wilson, Kaepernick, Alex Smith, and Dalton on the schedule, all of whom will be watching this game tape. They'll be salivating in anticipation of playing our defense. Not to mention we have Peyton "I just threw 7 TDs in my sleep" Manning on deck as well.
The Ravens defense isn't great, but they are about as good as our defense is collectively. Some better players at different positions for both teams, but still about even at the end of the day. That being said.....it's all fixable.
- Defensive line - held up very well between the tackles in terms of allowing rushing yards. However, the play calling of the defense routinely left Raiders QB Pryor with the ability to run at will. I had hoped the Colts would shake some stuff at half time, but it wasn't meant to be. There has got to be more emphasis placed on containment and spying the QB. The Colts routinely failed to set the edge on almost every play. Rushing 6 on 3rd and 9 with a mobile QB is just asking to get burned, especially when even a 5 year old child can see the blitz coming.
- Secondary - actually played pretty well. Can't really complain about their play. Landry/Bethea worked well in tandem, both laying the lumber on a couple of hits.
- Linebackers - mixed reaction to their play. Had some good calls, had some bad ones, but all in all, still a work in progress. Freeman continued his solid play, but I think Angerer being back on the field will help.
Last year, I called for Manusky's firing about mid to late season. I was scoffed at and ridiculed for it. I still stand by my statement now.
This defense, primarily the defensive line, was routinely out of place. At times, it was not even accounting for people. It is probably too soon in the season to call for someone being fired, but Manusky is the guy in charge of the defense. He's the one that's had the play calling in his hands. I'd love to give the benefit of the doubt, but his product on the field isn't helping him any.
I need to look at the video again, but I'm pretty positive the referees missed an intentional grounding on that final drive by the Raiders. Pryor never left the tackle box, and as he was being sacked, essentially threw the ball into the ground. There wasn't an eligible receiver in the area to my recollection. I'm just confused as to why this wasn't called. It was a big deal.
Before I wrap this up, I'd like to give a big shout out to all the Raiders fans out there. You should be proud of your team. They played their asses off and gave the Colts more than they expected. Pryor has the tools to be the real deal for you. All you need is a WR or two that can command respect in the secondary.
Hope you enjoyed the article and please as always speak your mind!
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