This past Sunday handed the Colts their first regular season loss in the past year and a half, snapping a 23-game winning streak. This loss ended any hopes of going for a perfect record of 19-0.
As a diehard Colts fan I must say I am extremely disappointed. The decision by Jim Caldwell was most definitely not the right choice. I have the utmost respect for Jim Caldwell but this decision did not seem to make much sense at all.
Resting Colts starters not only ended the pursuit of perfect but it ended what would have been a possible 25-game winning streak going into the playoffs, which would have been a great deal of momentum. This was also a degrading loss not only for the fans, but also for the players.
It was in a sense throwing in the flag. We pretty much called it quits after 35 minutes of football. The Colts had a 15-10 lead with about 10 minutes left remaining in the third quarter, benched their starters, and were outscored 19-0 for the rest of the game.
This is the philosophy I think Caldwell should have approached: Play every game like it's the Super Bowl, whether it has all the meaning in the world or no meaning at all. Because when you bench starters like that it gets them off rhythm.
You can't just play two games like they're nothing and expect your team to come out the first playoff game and play like animals. It just doesn't work like that.
You cannot play scared, you can't play like your going to get hurt. Especially when you have as many young players as the Colts have, I have noticed over the last couple games that the Colts' young receivers such as Garçon and Collie haven't been completely perfect on their routes.
An example accrued in the Denver game were Manning threw three interceptions, I noticed on one of the three interceptions that Collie took a route to deep the DB jumped the route and it resulted in an interception. You can not have that in the playoffs.
Also I have seen quite a few dropped or bobbled passes that ended up interceptions by these young receivers, also something you can not have in the playoffs. But if you play these young receivers in the last couple games and get them the ball as much as possible the slimmer the chances are of this happening.
Manning, Clark, Wayne, and Addai will most likely be able to bounce back from not playing because they are veterans. But all of the young players like Lacey, Bullit, Wheeler, Garçon, Collie, and Brown aren't going to bounce back so easily.
You are also telling the players that this game doesn't matter, they go through all this practice, all this preparation, the previous 14 games just to be told they can't pursue something they deserve, perfection. You could tell by the look on all of their faces that they were upset.
You could tell they all wanted to go in there and win it. Also whenever Peyton knows he is done for the day he puts on his Colts baseball cap, but even when Painter went in Manning kept his helmet on. He wanted to play and being told that you can't is very upsetting.
Also the thing that confuses me is why would you play your starters the whole entire game vs Jacksonville and only play them a half against the Jets? Both of those games had in a sense no meaning at all and he chose to play his starters for one of them but not the other.
This doesn't make any sense.
They say that they rest their starters because they don't want them to get injured during a meaningless game, but the Jaguars game was just as meaningless as the Jets game and the starters were not rested.
I mean in all honesty I see the point of resting your already injured players but resting completely healthy guys that need all the playing time they can get before the playoffs is rather stupid in my opinion.
But I mean you can look at the bright side, you saw what happened to the whole Colts team without Manning, not only did the offense seem out of sync but also the defense. So I guess it is a somewhat smart decision to bench Peyton so no injury could occur.
But I'm telling you what, as a Colts fan I really hope we play all of our starters from beginning to end for the Bills game. And God forbid any of our starters getting hurt.