AP Photo/Michael Conroy
With the way Indy is playing, having won three in a row after an injury-riddled November, it's likely they will secure the #2 seed going into the playoffs. New England is unlikely to lose 3 of the next 4, and Pittsburgh will likely lose one more game between now and the playoffs. Sunday's win pretty much wraps up the AFC South, but not completely.
The fallout from the Colts beating the Jags (again) is many in the sports writing universe are now taking notice of the defending Super Bowl champs. Hey, look: The defending champs are 10-2, and beating good teams. This past Sunday, Jacksonville was supposed to clean Indy's clock and assert themselves as an elite team.
For the Colts defense, this was by far their worst game of the season. Bad tackling, sloppy play, and poor pursuit angles were all characteristics of last year's regular season defense. Sunday, the Colts regressed to that form. I had initially thought it had something to do with SAM backer Tyjuan Hagler, but I was wrong. Hagler and WILL LBer Freddie Keiaho actually played very well. It was an unusually bad game for Sanders and Bethea. Antoine got an INT, but far too many times he missed tackles and looked out of place. The same is true for Kelvin and Marlin. The whole secondary was looking for "the big hit" rather than playing football. Maybe they got too caught up in their press clippings. Maybe they didn't eat their Wheaties. I don't know.
What I do know is I never want to see last Sunday's defensive performance EVER AGAIN.
If the defense plays that way against Pittsburgh or New England or anybody else, it could get ugly. Over 400 yards of offense allowed and lots of easy scores. QB pressure was decent, but not quite there. Garrard made some tough throws facing good pressure. Give him credit. Also, if Robert Mathis (7 sacks, 3 FF, no Dwight Freeney on the other side) doesn't get a Pro Bowl nod, I might take hostages. Mathis is a complete and utter stud, and I am amazed at how he's stepped up his game since Dwight went down.