So much for the pundits saying the Colts were going to miss Edgerrin James. The Colts won't run the ball, they said. Manning will suck because he can't play-fake the defense. The Colts will be exposed for the frauds they are. James was the REAL MVP of the Colts.
Where are these folks now? Oh yeah, they're employed at ESPN, Pro Football Talk, and CNNSI.
Here's the cold, hard football facts of the situation at hand: Last year, Edgerrin James ran for 414 yards and 1 TD in the first four games of the season. He was running against teams dropping 8 into coverage, trying to stop Manning from throwing. This season, after 4 games, the combo of Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai have rushed for 403 yards and 4 TDs. They've done this against teams blitzing the crap out of the Colts, not dropping 8 or 9 into coverage. Meanwhile, in the Arizona desert, Edge has rushed for a whopping 272 yards and 2 TDs in 4 games. Oh, and Arizona is 1-3 while Indy is 4-0.
Yep, the Colts really miss Edge all right.
Now, I'm not knocking Edge at all. I love watching the guy play, and it really sucks that he can't do anything to help that pathetic franchise in Arizona. I'm a little amused that he is upset the Cardinals suck. If Edge actually thought that team was going to be good, then I have to question his intelligence. Edge wanted money and he got it. The price: playing for a bad team for a long time.
Meanwhile, back in Indy, the Colts are 4-0, and are winning improbable games they have no business winning. Here's the recap:
- Once again, I look like a genius (trust me, looks are deceiving). In the game preview, I stated that turnovers and special teams would decide this game. The Jets had 3 turnovers on Sunday. The Colts had zero. Guess who won. The first quarter was vintage Dungy Colts: Jets QB Chad Pennington drops back; he's sacked by Robert Mathis; Pennington fumbles; Colts recover. Colts offense starts at the Jets 26 yard line. Manning directs it right into the endzone, capped by a Dom Rhodes TD run. Later in the game, on fourth down near the goal-line, Pennington throws the first red zone INT of his entire career. Both turnovers were killers for the Jets. What kept NY in the game? Special teams.
Now, we all saw the 103 yard kickoff for a TD on ESPN, and based on that I'm sure you thought the Jets won the ST battle. They also converted an on-side kick, which yours truly called moments before it happened (more on that later). Despite the kickoff return for a TD and the converted onside kick, the Jets also made some dumb mistakes on ST that cost them. Example: after Manning got the second TD in the fourth quarter, Colts kicker Martin Gramatica kicked a squib kick to the Jets. The ball bounced over the head of Justin Miller AFTER he touched it. It rolled into the endzone. Miller picked it up and wanted to down it. However, since he'd touched it outside the endzone, he had to bring it out! He was tackled at the 1 yard line. The Jets then had to go 99 yards in less than a minute. In short: ball game, Colts win. As great as Miller looked on the TD, he looked equally stupid on the next kickoff.
- Both teams wanted to run, but the Colts ended up looking better. They racked up 160 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs. The Jets got some yards, but only averaged 3.5 a carry. Both Dom and Joe looked amazing, especially Addai. Addai was the one running for key first downs in the fourth quarter during both TD drives. I've heard some Colts fans on a few message boards moan that Indy should have moved heaven and earth on draft day to get Laurence Maroney. While Maroney has looked great for NE, Addai has looked equally good for the Colts.
Maroney: 294 rushing yards, 4.9 ypc, 3 TDS; 6 receptions, 76 yards, 0 TDs
Addai: 207 rushing yards, 4.5 ypc, 1 TD, 11 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD
Um, why do the Colts need Maroney again? Considering both guys split carries with another back, looks about even to me.
- What's with these penalties? I know some were bad calls (once again, TERRIBLE officiating), but some were just plain dumb. Dungy was visibly upset after the game, and it was a game HE WON. They worst was when the refs charged Indy a timeout when no Colts player, nor anyone on the Indy sideline, called for one! If you watched it, I thought Dungy going to deck head official Jerry Austin. I've never seen him that pissed. It was a huge mistake, but typical NFL officiating, rather than admit a mistake they just keep going as if nothing happened. Austin and his crew should get fined for their bad officiating Sunday, and the league really needs to investigate its refs. This is now two weeks in a row where bad officiating helped decided a game. It got so bad, NY fans were throwing bottles at the refs. Yes, I know it's New York, but even drunk fans don't throw stuff like that unless they've got a really good reason.
I'll blog more about this win later today and some more tomorrow. I'll close this recap with this little nugget: I'm sitting in the Meadowlands before the Jets' second quarter kickoff, and I thought to myself: They will fake it here. It was the perfect time. The score was 7-7, and the Jets had taken the momentum. Giving the ball back to the Colts offense could shift that momentum. I took out my small, black Moleskin notebook (yes, I'm a dork and I take notebooks to games), and I wrote in it: they'll fake it. Moments later, Jets kicker Mike Nugget kicks a perfect ten yard onside kick. Jets recover the ball. Place goes nuts. I should have shown it to someone before it happened. Oh well.
Colts won. I'm happy anyway.