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Recap Week Fourteen: Jaguars 44-Colts 17

BigBlueShoe throws the Colts defense under the bus

It is really, really hard to write this because, as a fan, you put so much love and support behind a team, you defend its flaws and trumpet its greatness, you pour yourself so completely into every win and every loss that most often each victory is as distorted as each defeat. I, personally, have always tried to keep an even keel. When the Colts win, I'm not calling them "America's Team" or annointing them the champions. And when they lose, I'm not calling for Tony Dungy's head, or advocating benching Peyton Manning for Jim Sorgi.

However, after witnessing a loss like the 44-17 Thai-boxing-style beatdown at the hands of the Jaguars, it is very hard not to keep the keel straight and steady. Right now, I feel like the Titanic rubbing my side against a giant mountain of ice. I want like climb up to the roof of my apartment complex and scream my head off at the sky. The only comfort, and it is cold comfort at that, I take from Week 14 is it seems every good team got their butts kicked. Dallas, New England, and the NY Jets were all soundly dominated by their opponents as well. Dallas, especially, got whipped at home and Tony "Jesus in cleats" Romo played terribly. The Seahawks lost to the friggin' Cardinals. If you're a Bears fan tonight, start praying. But it was not the surreal weirdness of Week 14 that has me in a funk this Monday morning.

It's the realization that this Colts team, as it is, will not win a championship this season.

I stated last week that I wanted the defense to show me something. They were embarrassed against the Titans, giving up over 230 yards rushing. After watching the game yesterday, I'd have been HAPPY if the Colts only allowed only 230 against the Jags. Despite a week which featured the GM openly challenge the defense, they responded with, quite possibly, one of the worst defensive performances I have ever seen. College games don't even feature contests where one team runs for over 340 yards. It has gotten to the point where teams don't even bother to throw.

Heck, why even have the QB! Just direct snap it to the friggin' back and it's a guaranteed 5 yards!

I know injuries are one of the reasons. MasterRWayne said it best in an email he sent me this morning:

Last year you, rightly, asserted that the middle of the defense was bulwarked with Simon, Brackett and Sanders all playing. This allowed being very physical and containing the run and thereby holding teams on the pass and generating big plays via sacks and interceptions and that method worked almost flawlessly for us last year. This year though we have been plagued by injuries. In yesterdays game we lost [Antoine] Bethea and Marlin Jackson in the first quarter. We were down to our fourth and fifth string safeties playing. We also lost Raheem Brock later in the game. The Jags didn't do anything fancy as they just ran the ball right into the middle of our defense every time. Gilbert Gardner was so bad that he was benched for Boiman in the third quarter. We are basically so good at pass rush and coverage that teams won't even try to throw on us. Del Rio also went for it on 4th and 10 in the first quarter and we held them and briefly took a 10-7 lead. It was downhill for them on out.

The issue is that this team simply cannot win a super bowl with this many injuries to key players on the defense. We might just have to wait until next year for things to work out. That said I am just tired of the defense holding this team back year after year with the only exception being last year as well.

After watching tape, it is pretty clear that this team has exhausted all of its depth. With Bethea AND Jackson out, Matt Giordano and Dexter Reid were the safeties.

These two guys STINK.

Gene Hackman calls for the benching of Gilbert Gardner
As special teams players, they are quite good. But as starting caliber safeties, they were an embarrassment. The same goes for Gilbert Gardner. He's horrible. I never want to see him play a snap on defense again. Even if his replacement, Rocky Boiman, gets hurt, I STILL DON'T WANT GARDNER PLAYING. It's like that scene in Hoosiers when Gene Hackman only puts 4 guys on the court because he has no faith in the 5th guy. "My team's on the court," he says. That's how I feel about Gardner. He has no confidence and is completely lost out there, and I'd rather have an undermanned unit out on the field than have Gardner play another snap.

And, yet again, we lose ANOTHER defensive tackle. Raheem Brock was hurt and didn't play most of the game. Who knows what his status is, and right now I don't care. Oh, and Bob Sanders didn't play... again. It's time to IR Bob. He hasn't played back-to-back games since Week 1 and Week 2. This means he needs to get shut down. If he can't play week to week, something is seriously wrong. Shut him down.

All these injuries aside, it still does not excuse the HORRENDOUS TACKLING this team displayed Sunday. Even though guys like Giordano stink, he was still in position to make tackles to stuff runs. But, for some reason, he couldn't do it. The same holds true for Cato June, who missed so many tackles I wondered if he needed glasses to play. And, at some point in the third quarter, I saw Cato June quit.

This confirms for me that the Colts should NOT re-sign this guy. I don't care if the score is 50-0 with 5 minutes left. Sports builds character, but it also reveals it. I think Cato quit, and I will never look at Cato the same way again.

I have to give credit to posters like Playoff Pride, who warned of the defense regressing to this. It was my sincere hope that the Colts would get healthier as the playoffs got closer. Instead, they've only gotten more injured, and I don't know what it is. Regardless, a team cannot win a Super Bowl with these kinds of injuries and this kind of play. This game may very well destroy the Colts psyche. You must be healthy and hot going into January, and the Colts are neither.

Will they make the playoffs? Maybe. Even that is in doubt now. If they do indeed miss the playoffs, Tony Dungy should be fired. I love Dungy and think he is a top 5 coach, but if the team misses the post-season it means they have essentially quit on him. If that happens, dump Dungy and do not re-sign guys like June and Freeney (who is having an awful year). Rebuild if need be, because as a fan I'm sick of it. This defense, as it is now, is worse than the 2001 defense. And unless something drastic happens, this club will make the playoffs and lose... again.

I am not giving up. I will still blog, and I still support Dungy and Polian. However, I don't think this is a Super Bowl team. If I'm wrong, I'll be happily and joyfully wrong, but I don't think I am. And from the one person I want to gain guidance from I get nothing but the same old same old. Dungy, in his post game press conference, stated there will be no changes, that execution and "the little things" are to blame.

At what point do you give up on the idiots that continue to miss the "little things" and go with the guys that at least offer the potential to win?