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Recap Week Seven: Colts 42-Rams 6

This was not a case where the Colts went into someone's stadium and beat the snot out of a team that had quit on their season and forgotten how to win. As VanRam at Turf Show Times put it, this game seemed to highlight a big talent gap between the Colts and Rams. I have always liked Rams coach Steve Stagnuolo, and I think he will do a good job moving forward, teaching these Rams how to win again. But right now, they are searching. We Colts fans have been there as well, watching our team learn how not to commit penalties, turn the football over, blow coverages, etc. The Rams played with a lot of fight, but in the end the Colts simply overwhelmed them.

Surprisingly, the Rams are one of three NFL teams still without a win this late into the season. We're almost to the mid-point of the regular season (shocking, I know), and the Buccaneers, Titans, and Rams all are winless. Meanwhile, three more clubs (Lions, Chiefs, and Browns) all have only one win. That's six clubs with a combined record of 3-37.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, for the first time in NFL history, three teams will hit Week Eight with undefeated records. The Colts are one of those unbeaten teams, along with the Broncos and the Saints. If the Vikings Chester Taylor could hold onto a friggin screen pass, we'd have four unbeaten teams in November, which would have been even more amazing.

Like several of Indy's games this year, the Colts have re-discovered their formula which eluded them last year: Start fast, overwhelm the opponent, pin your ears back, and sack the hell out of the QB. Oh, and they re-learned how to run the ball as well, which made this blogger feel much better about this very special, very well-coached team.

This game was an opportunity for the Colts to finally display some kind of ground game. They were ranked 30th in the league running the ball despite an entire off-season of work aimed specifically at fixing it. The Colts took advantage of St. Louis' "talent gap" and showcased a lot "WOW!" plays on the ground:

  • Indy ran for 156 yards on 26 carries, averaging 6 yards a carry. That, my friends, is what you want to see! Joseph Addai ground out the tough yards while Donald Brown continues to get better and better each week. That 45 yard run by Brown was exactly the reason Indy drafted him. The hole he was given off the left side was so big a cruise ship could have sailed through, but this is the difference between Brown and someone else (like Addai). Other backs get maybe 20 yards on that run. Brown gets 45.
  • I don't care about Peyton Manning not throwing for 300 yards, breaking some NFL record no one cares about. I'll quote AP writer R.P. Fallstrom:
    It wouldn’t have been appropriate for Manning to try for the mark the way his unbeaten team was beating up on the woeful St. Louis Rams.
    I agree. Maybe the Patriots would have continued to just "run their offense" by going for it on meaningless 4th and 6 opportunities so their QB could get the record, but Indy doesn't do that.
  • Daniel Muir is a better DT than Ed Johnson, and I can see why Ed was cut. Muir had 7 tackles and a sack today replacing Johnson as the starting under tackle. Eric Foster also had himself a nice game with 3 tackles and a sack. WE ARE GETTING SACKS FROM THE DTS! OMG! Again, the Colts weren't getting this kind of production from Ed. In one game, Muir almost had as much production Ed had built up over the course of four games. Muir and Foster = better.
  • Fili Moala is still figuring it out. One tackle. He looked lost out there, but that's expected.
  • Austin Collie; another game, another TD. 24 catches, 264 yards, and already 4 TDs as a rookie receiver. Wow. He is a serious Rookie of the Year candidate.
  • Bob Sanders is in the same boat. He looked rusty, unsure, and tentative. Again, that too is expected. Bob hadn't played football since January. He's in pre-season mode. Sanders left the field after 25 plays because he was on a "pitch count," not because of injury.
  • Jacob Lacey just leap-frogged Tim Jennings on the depth chart.
  • Dallas Clark is on pace to shatter the NFL record for catches and yards for one season by a tight end. His catch in the endzone was text book on how to look cool catching a perfect throw, with two defenders hanging curtains on the back of his jersey. Clark is the best tight end in football now.
  • Once again, the defense holds another team out of the endzone.
  • Once again, Dwight Freeney got a sack. That's a streak of seven games with at least one sack. Very quietly, it seems, Dwight is having his best season as a Colts player.
  • Reggie Wayne aggravated his groin (yee-ouch!) during the game, but came back. He racked up 7 receptions for 83 yards and a TD. With 542 yards, 39 receptions, and 5 TDs, Reggie is establishing himself as one of the best receivers in football. No, he doesn't have Andre Johnson's size or Larry Fitzgerald's speed. Reggie is just damn good as playin' receiver.

I could be Mr. Frowny Face Poop Head and complain about that run defense giving up 155 rushing yards to a winless Rams team, but that would just be frowning that the serving platter for your Baked Alaska is sterling silver and not gold. Some fans and media idiots might complain that the departure of Ed Johnson caused a run defense "lull" this to happen.

Sorry, but no.

Daniel Muir , Eric Foster, and Antonio Johnson were outstanding Sunday. Fili Moala will come around. The DTs are fine. In the first half, the Rams were unable to run the ball with effectiveness while Indy built a two touchdown lead. In the second half, Indy came out playing two-deep safety, thinking the Rams were going to throw to get back in the game. St. Louis had tried a successful flea flicker earlier in the game, and likely had more tricks up their sleeve.

However, St. Louis responded to Indy's two-deep safety look by running at it. Why? I don't know. Down two TDs, and matching up against an offense like the Colts, running the ball is near close to conceding the game. You have to throw to win in this league.

So, by running the amazing Stephen Jackson at a two-deep safety look, the Rams padded some rushing stats and only scored 3 more points the entire game. The Colts run defense is fine. We've seen them stone the Titans (better rushing team than Rams) and the Seahawks. We've seen them contain Maurice Jones-Drew. We've seen them kill Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower of the Cardinals (something the Giants struggled with last night). Larry Coyer knows how to get these guys focused on the run, and with Bob Sanders slowly rounding into form, worrying about this is just not worth your energy or effort.

At 6-0, the Colts continue to show they are one of the elite in the AFC. They seem to improve each and every week, focusing on weaknesses and working to make them strengths. The running game was the one area where we had not seen any kind of dramatic improvement over last year. Now, that question is answered. The only thing now is how bad is Donald Brown's sprained shoulder, which he injured in the game. Brown says it is a re-occurring thing from college (oh boy) and that he is fine. We'll see.

Remember last year this time? Indy was coming off a thrashing by the Packers and we were all wondering "What the hell is going on?" Never take an undefeated start for granted, folks. Go Colts!

Colts vs Rams coverage

Turf Show Times