Breakdown of The Colts' 31-10 Victory over The Cardinals

Krishna DhaniCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the game at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Although the score was a bit lopsided, an amazing game took place last night as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals 31-10.


Both teams came into the game wanting a win, and both did their best to secure that W, fighting over the ball in Cardinal’s Stadium the entire game, but it was only the Colts who came away from the game victorious, while the Arizona franchise was left disappointed in the result of their efforts.


The first score of the game came when there were two minutes and forty-six seconds left on the clock in the first quarter; when the Cardinals took the lead, 3-0, on a field goal by Arizona’s kicker, Neil Rackers.


Payton Manning and the Colts wasted no time, though, in letting the Cardinals fans know they shouldn’t believe their team had gained a great deal. In the second quarter alone, Manning threw for three touchdowns, the first to Reggie Wayne with 9:04 left on the clock, the second to Dallas Clark with 5:49 remaining, and the last to Pierre Garcon, an absolutely amazing 53-yard strike with just less than two minutes left in the half.


The Cardinals failed to respond with a score of their own in that second quarter, and both teams entered the half time with the score 21-3. You can imagine the Cardinals coach, Ken Whisenhunt, ripped into his players during that halftime, attempting to motivate them to make a game of it.


It apparently worked, for a while, as the Cardinals came out of the break and quickly scored a touchdown of their own, with Kurt Warner connecting on a ten-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin in the first few minutes of the second half to draw Arizona closer to the Colts at 21-10.


The score remained 21-10 throughout most of the third quarter, too, as both teams battled for position and supremacy. However, it was the Colts who finally won that battle, as Manning once again showed why he’s one of the greatest QBs in NFL history, tossing his fourth touchdown of the game to Joseph Addai with 2:26 left on the clock in the quarter to make the score 28-10.


Entering the fourth quarter I’m sure the Cardinals still held out feint hope of coming back, but with 11:31 left in the game, AdamVinatieri put what amounted to a dagger into the coffin the Colts had built for the Arizona franchise that day, kicking a 26-yard field goal to cement the score at 31-10.


Sadly, for the Cardinals, they weren’t able to mount a comeback, and suffered another loss to take them to a record of 1-2. The Colts, on the other hand, showed why they’re one of the premier teams in the league, winning again to take their record to an unblemished 3-0.


Following is an analysis of both teams:


Colts Passing:


Peyton Manning went 24 of 35 for 379 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception, garnering a QB rating of 130.5.


In my opinion, Manning did pretty good.


Colts Rushing:


Joseph Addai ran the ball thirteen times for 63 yards, with no touchdowns; his longest rush being for 13 yards. Donald Brown pitched it with 14 carries for an additional 40 yards, with no touchdowns; getting his longest scamper on a 23-yard run.


Overall the Colts rushed the ball for a total of 126 yards. While Manning was incredible through the air, the Indianapolis rushing attack seemed pedestrian in comparison.


Colts Recieving:


Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark each had seven receptions, Wayne catching his for a total of 126 yards, with Clark adding another 62 yards to the duos total. Donald Brown also helped the receiving game, galloping 72 yards after catching one of Payton Manning’s bullets.


Overall the Colts receiving was outstanding, as Manning spread the ball among six receivers.


Cardinals Passing:


Kurt Warner did pretty well, going 30 of 52 for 332 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was those interceptions that hurt his overall game and made it nearly impossible for the Cardinals to effectively mount a comeback. Matt Leinart, playing only minimally, connected on both of his passes for a total of seven yards.


Overall the Cardinals passing attack did well, but their rushing game simply put too much pressure on them to pass all night. More balance is needed for Ken Whisenhunt’s team to succeed.


Cardinals Rushing:


Tim Hightower ran the ball nine times for a measly 22 yards, and the Cardinals had a total of just 24 net yards rushing for the night. A lot of this can be attributed to the Colts defense, who plugged the gaps with regularity, but Arizona simply looked unable to move the ball on the ground at times.


Overall the Cardinals rushing attack looked anemic at best. If they don’t get a semblance of a running game soon they could be looking at not making the playoffs, and possibly a losing season a year after making it to the Super Bowl.


Cardinals Recieving:


The Cardinals had no problems spreading the ball around, with Warner connecting with nine separate receivers. Steve Breaston and Larry Fitzgerald each hauled in seven passes from Kurt, with Anquan Boldin catching 6 of his own. Breaston finished the game with 94 receiving yards, while Fitzgerald and Boldin had 76 and 83 yards respectively for the game.


Overall the receiving corps of the Cardinals shined. However, as noted above, without a rushing attack to take the pressure off them in key moments of the game their opponents can easily make it tough for Arizona to compete.


When all is said and done this was a wonderful game. It’s just too bad one team has to be a loser. Yet, that’s the nature of the game, and of sports in general.


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