Ok, we're all pretty pissed off. Our team opened our $720 million dollar stadium with a dud, losing to a team our team hosed in the Super Bowl two years ago. Chicago fans reportedly came into our building and acted like jerks. Obviously, not all Bears fans are jackholes, but on the whole Chicago fans who come to Indy to watch games act like that ugly, rich girl in Willy Wonka. We're at a pretty low point right now, and it is only Week One.
We've been low before. Much lower. But, that's what comunities like this are about. We don't need Around the Horn's or Tony Kornheiser's validation to prove to us our team is good. We know are team is great. We know we've got the best team in the AFC, especially now that Tom Brady is unfortunately done for 2008 (I still thought Indy was better than New England with Brady, but I'm a dumb homer anyway). We blog and discuss here because we enjoy chatting with like-minded Colts fans. It's who we are. It's what we do.
We love our team no matter what.
And, even when things are bad right now, there are still some positives.Some of them significant. And since we have dwelled so much on why the team lost, it is now time to focus on what was done right. Granted, it isn't much. But it is something.
- Special teams played outstanding, especially given the opponent. The strength of the Bears is not their defense. It is their special teams, and Indy's improved special teams unit did a good job controlling Devin Hester. Adam Vinatieri's kickoffs were outstanding, and the coverage units (in particular Melvin Bullitt, who schooled Hester to start the second half) were spot on. Blocking on returns was sketchy, especially with some of the dumb penalties. But, Courtney Roby has burst, and he will break one or two this year. And though shaky at first, Hunter Smith did a nice job angling punts in the second half. All in all, this was a good day for Colts special teams. Let us hope it continues to improve.
- Peyton Manning will get better. I've ranted about how his surgery was handled, but that isn't on Peyton. He hasn't played football since January, and he went out there and threw 49 attempts, completing 61% of them. He looked fatigued, disjointed, and confused. Yet, he nearly threw for 300 yards, 1 TD, and no turnovers. Had his receivers caught the damn ball, this would have been one of his finest games. The more he plays and practices, the stronger he will get and the more command he will take of the offense.
- Despite not running the ball, pass protection for Manning was pretty good, especially considering the amount of blitzing Chicago was doing. The RBs picked things up very well (Addai especially), and the three interior linemen did a decent job holding up. It was not "great," but it was good. The more they play together, the better it will get. And then, Saturday, Lilja, and Pollak wil return, and we should expect a big boost to the line.
So, while it was painful to watch the game Sunday night, there were some good things to take from it. Now, the team has to improve, and in a big hurry. 0-2 is staring them in the face, and that prospect is completely unacceptable.