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More thoughts on Carolina game, and making fun of Peter King

Antoine Bethea and Bob Sanders = Pain for Panther RB Deshaun Foster
Photo: AP
Yes, yes, yes, we'll get to the damn Patriots. I want to wrap up the Carolina game because, from this fan's perspective, that was a damn impressive win and a strong indicator of just how mentally tough this team is.
  • Tony Ugoh did not play, yet the rushing offense still ranked up 132 yards and 2 TDs against a Carolina team that was, I believe, top 10 against the run. The Colts did the bulk of the their running in the second half, in particular the fourth quarter (more on what I mean by this later). The difference between Ugoh and no-Ugoh was Manning was hit a lot. On one hit, he needed smelling salts to figure out if his name was "Peyton Manning" or "Batman." Charlie Johnson, a RT playing LT in Ugoh's place, is a fine o-lineman, but he clearly is not comfortable playing LT. Ugoh is, and his absence the last two weeks has shown me that he is not just a great run blocker, but that he is also a very good pass blocker. If not for Adrian Peterson, Ugoh is Rookie of the Year so far in my book.
  • Tyjuan Hagler is better at WILL than at SAM. He didn't play bad at SAM against the Jags, but Rocky Boiman made some great plays at SAM against Carolina, knifing into the backfield and making tackles. Hagler, meanwhile, was making plays at WILL he was not making when he played SAM against the Jaguars. I'm still not so certain Boiman should have been benched.
  • Kenton Keith can't catch. Too many easy dropped passes for my taste. That's one thing Dom was money with: Catching out of the backfield. Kenton is a helluva runner though, I don't care what Jabba the Sportswriter says.
  • Gary Brackett is, quietly, having his best season. He's much more comfortable now in his third year starting at MLB. And you can tell the team responds to him as a leader. He's not a rah-rah kind of guy. He just says what needs to be said, and then goes out there and plays his tail off. He's short. He has trouble shedding blocks. He is not Brian Urlacher. But, Gary is a good player and very unappreciated as a MLBer.
  • David Carr is totally lost. He just can't play this game anymore. His teammates are already yelling at him. He isn't playing through pain. He seems like a good guy, but he can't compete at this level.
  • You will notice, in the fourth quarter, the Colts took out their starters and played their backups. The backups prevented a Carolina TD. When was the last time you saw that? Every time the backups get put in when the Colts are up big, the other team scores some garbage TD. Drove me nuts! Now, the backups are stopping people, and getting valuable playing time. That's why you play your backups in the fourth quarter of a game already decided.
  • The reason the Colts can play the BSBD is as much to do with Antoine Bethea as it does with Bob Sanders. Bethea is, without question, the player that's made the biggest leap from year one to year two. He's playing like a Pro Bowler, and he and Sanders might be the best safety tandem in the league. Both are excellent against both the run and pass, and both cover their zones extremely well. Obviously, the game against New England will test their abilities even more.
Ok, Carolina is now in the books. It's now time to make fun of Peter King, aka Jabba the Sportswriter:
...if the Colts win [Sunday], I could see the Patriots come to Indianapolis on Jan. 20 and win the AFC title game. I can't see the Colts winning at New England on Jan. 20.
Gee, thanks Pete. I guess kicking New England's ass the last two years in Foxboro means nothing, and winning that AFCCG last year in the Dome was a "fluke." No matter how many times the Colts kick the Patriots asses, morons like Peter King are still going to side with them, for whatever reason.