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Recap Week Five: Colts 31-Texans 27 (Cardiac Edition)

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This from Jake The Snake demands repeating:

Just in case you weren't sure, what you saw today was exceedingly rare.  The Colts became only the second team in NFL history to come back from a 17 point deficit or greater with 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter to go on to win the game.  The other team to pull off the feat?  The Indianapolis Colts, of course (Random fact: the second comeback came on the eve of the 5th anniversary of the first comeback).

Fives year to the day of one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history (between the Colts and the Buccaneers), the Colts engineer yet another improbable comeback, on the road.

Oh, and happy birthday, Coach Dungy. Sincerely, Sage Rosenfels.

Before we get into the particulars of the game, you all remember the 1995 Colts, right? The "Cardiac" Colts? They would usually start a game like garbage, play most of the game like garbage, but then (in the fourth quarter) Jimmy Harbaugh and his Colts mates would come to life and eek out an improbable win, usually with about 2 seconds left in the game.

These Colts, right now, remind me of that team.

You will recall that the defense that year started out like crap, giving up tons of points to Cincinnati, the Jets, and Miami. Yet, the Colts were able to scratch, claw, and fight their way to wins. This team is very similar. There is no quit in them. No give up. No surrender. None. They simply will not stop until the gun sounds, until time runs out and the men in zebra shirts tell them "gave over." We can dissect and dismantle any number of problems this team has.

Heart and guts are one of those problems.

The obvious key to the game was turnovers committed in the last 4 minutes by back-up QB Sage Rosenfels, who started in place of Matt Schaub because Schuab had a stomach virus. Again, rotten luck and crappy circumstance doom the Texans. Contrast this with the Jaguars, who really should be 0-5 if not for HORRIBLE officiating that has benefited them for three straight games. They should not have converted on the final drive against the Colts because of a bad call, and they should not have converted in OT against the Texans because of a bad call. Hell, last night, the Jags had numerous bad calls against the Steelers go their way. The only difference is they lost. Tennessee should have lost yesterday as well. The roughing the passer call on Kerry Collins during their game-winning TD drive was laughable. That ref should be FIRED. Not given some demerit points. Not suspended. Not taken off the list of potential refs to work playoffs games. F. I. R.E.D. My point is it is these kinds of plays (and calls) that are determining wins and loses.

It is a fine line between winning and losing, and the Texans are not your typical 0-4 team.

I have to say, this is the most maddening season I have ever experienced thus far. If it isn't terrible officiating it is Miami's wishbone T formation beating up AFC favorite San Diego. Consider that the teams everyone had contending in the AFC (New England, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and San Diego) have a combined record of 9-9, with the win number inflated by NE's 3-1 start sans Tom Brady (and without Brady that team has zero chance to win a Super Bowl). Meanwhile, the supposedly "good" teams like Buffalo got destroyed by the friggin Cardinals. The Titans should be 4-1, and their defensive captain is fighting with his DBs during a game. Seattle looks atrocious. Dallas has no defense. And, the Packers have lost 3 straight games; the most recent loss at home to the Falcons. Yes, the Falcons.

Does this make any sense to you? I thought not.

With the way the first quarter of the season has started, I am the happiest fan of a 2-2 team I can be. 2-2 feels like 4-0 right now for me. This season is out of control. No one looks good, save the World Champs. They are the only complete team right now, and they are dominating people without their key players, like Plaxico Burress (who is a dumbass) or Osi Umenyiora (who is out for the year).

Back to the Colts, I hope you all can appreciate just how special yesterday's win was. From Advanced NFL (via a shake n bake story):

The Colts win probability before the Rosenfels fumble was .03, 3%. 3 out a 100 times will a team win in that situation. Amazing.

Special players make special plays on special days. As easy as it is to lay the blame at Sage Rosenfels feet, the facts are that Marlin Jackson, Robert Mathis, Melvin Bullitt, Eric Foster, Reggie Wayne, and Peyton Manning all had to make special plays to create the turnovers and TDs late in the game to win. Wayne's catch is one of the greatest of his brilliant career. Manning's TD to Tom Santi on 4th and 7 was as gutty and ballsy as it gets. Mathis stripping Rosenfel's arm of the ball is why he is one of the most under-rated DEs in football. And all Gary Brackett does is make special plays. 

Yes, there are problems. Allowing 156 yards on 32 carries (4.9 average) is bad. Prior to Rosenfels' meltdown, he was carving up the Colts secondary. Peyton is having trouble hitting the deep ball. Marvin and Reggie were KILLING Houston's secondary all game, but Peyton couldn't get it there. On one play, he and Marvin got into a heated discussion, but the fault wasn't Marvin's. He was open all game, and Peyton isn't able to get the ball to him.

We can focus on all these negative things, but the bottom line is our team gutted out yet another cardiac win. That should tell you something about their character. In this season of uncertainty, this team is as resolute as it gets.

Go Colts!