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Recap Week Twelve: Colts 31-Falcons 13

Take a deep breath and breath a sigh of relief. As you exhale, think on this: The Colts have played 6 games in 32 days. Any normal NFL team would play roughly 4 games in 30 or so days. For some reason, the scheduling gods decided the Colts could do 6 games in 32 days, with one of those games against undefeated New England and another all the way out in San Diego, in the middle of a monsoon. This, along with a body bag's worth of injuries, has made the last 6 games one helluva gauntlet for any team to run through.

Again, 6 games in 32 games. You know what that is?

It's insane I tell you. Insane, like the guy in the orange shirt in this vid.

And yet, despite the injuries, the poor breaks, the missed FGs, and Russ Purnell's continued employment, this team should be 11-0. They are better than any team in football; including New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and GB.

I've come to that insanely homerific conclusion after watching this team go 4-2 during a bone grinding stretch, with their latest win over the Falcons on Thanksgiving. Here's the recap:

  • I hate penalties... unless they involve Antoine Bethea acting like a badass. Sure, the Joey Harrington horse collar clothesline was a penalty. Likely, Bethea will be fined. Fortunately, Harrington was fine afterwards and not injured.. However, both Bethea's hit on WR Laurent Robinson and his "tackle" of Harrington down field lit a spark on this team. After those plays (the first hit on Robinson resulted in a Kelvin Hayden INT), the Colts scored 24 unanswered points, burying the Atlanta Falcons after they started the game up 10-0 on the Colts. Much to the disappointment of Deadspin, Antoine Bethea and the defense made certain there were no silly upsets on Turkey Day (aside from maybe that upset stomach you got after eating your fourth helping of pumpkin pie).
  • The Colts defense continues to carry the club and FEAST on QBs.
    AP Photo/John Bazemore
  • It's amazing what semi-pro blocking and receiving can do for a QB. Peyton Manning had garbage to throw to against SD and KC. The result was 2 TDs and 7 INTs. But, with the return of WR Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark becoming conscious again, Manning dissects Atlanta for 272 yards and 3 TDs. His one INT was a forced throw, something he's done more since the injuries started. Last night, with some of his regular guys back, Peyton trusted his receivers more; something he didn't do the last three games.
  • Tony Ugoh must come back for the next game against the Jags. If not, I want him IRed. I'm tired of seeing Charlie Johnson get killed off the edge. If Ugoh can't go, then Michael Toudouze should play LT and Charlie Johnson RT. I'm sick of seeing Jake Scott play a position he doesn't know. Jake Scott is a guard; not a friggin' RT. No offense to Atlanta fans, but their defense is not very good. Yet, Manning was sacked 4 times and pressured on almost every throw. Charlie Johnson must not play LT again. He is going to get Manning killed. I want Ugoh back NOW! If not, I'll take Toudouze. No more Charlie at LT.
Despite the slow start and the long TD given up by rookie CB Dante Hughes, this defense continues to carry this team. When did you ever think you'd hear such a thing in the Manning era? Bob Sanders miked up was hilarious. He and Gary Brackett are the leaders of this defense, and with defensive line guru John Teerlick at the helm, this defense will pressure the QB without Dwight Freeney. Meanwhile, on offense, guys like Dallas Clark continue to get healthy, and rookie WR Anthony Gonzalez returns from a dislocated thumb and has his best game as a pro (6 catches, 105 yards, loads of YAC). Despite the injury, Gonzo is quietly having a very solid season for a rookie WR (21 catches, 312 yards, 14.9 ypc). He hasn't found the endzone, but he will soon.

As always, a win means a loss for a good blog writer (Dave the Falconer) and the fanbase he writes for. Falcons fans at The Falcoholic were very cool posting here, and we always appreciate their time on Stampede Blue.

So again, exhale. 9-2 after a brutal stretch of games. 9-2, and Marvin Harrison is expected back next week. 9-2, and this team is as battle tested as I've ever seen. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy your leftovers, and Go Colts!