Charlie has taken up the Rob Morris mantle of being the resident bunching bag for Colts fans. We always have to have one player we love to criticize. It is just how we are, and Charlie Johnson is now that player. We are quick to forget that without Charlie, Indy would not have beaten the Bears in Super Bowl 41. He stepped in for an injured Ryan Diem (Diem injured? I'm shocked) and stoned Bears DE Alex Brown the entire game. The Colts also rushed for close to 200 yards that game.
And yet, we still love to bash Charlie.
This past Sunday, Tony Ugoh got hurt and Charlie had to step in at LT. the last time he did that, Rosevelt Colvin nearly took Peyton Manning's head off. This time around, despite what Colts fans think, Charlie did a good job.
Now before you freak out and dismiss me, hear me out. Charlie stepped into the LT spot because Tony Ugoh got hurt and his primary back-up, Dan Federkeil, was busy playing guard. Charlie started the game at the other guard spot guard. Steve Justice was more comfortable playing Charlie's guard spot than Dan's. Thus, Charlie gets moved to LT, where he has to go one-on-one with Jared Allen; arguably the best all-around DE in football. First play in, Allen blows by Charlie and nearly kills Manning. We all throw our arms up in the air and sign. Here we go. "Same old Charlie."
But, throughout the course of the game, Charlie got better. Sure, Jared Allen was able to get some pressure. He's Jared Allen. Great DEs are going to get pressure. We've seen Dwight Freeney maul great offensive tackles like Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden. Allen is the same. So, for a patchwork LT like Charlie to hold up as well as he did against a great player like Allen is worthy of our praise. He even got some praise from Coach Dungy. Factor in that the Colts were totally one dimensional in the game, throwing the ball 42 times. This means Allen could pin his ears back and zero in on #18. But, for the game, Allen had 1 sack (which occurred when Tony Ugoh whiffed on a block) and 3 tackles. Part of that is Peyton's uber-human-like ability to sidestep pressure and get rid of the football.
But some of it was also the solid play of Charlie Johnson, Indy's favorite fan punching bag.