8:30 PM PREGAME
Well, this is a huge game. For both teams, no doubt, but mostly the Titans. Think about it. Yeah, the Colts are struggling, but they won the Super Bowl two years ago. If they don’t go far this year, it isn’t the end of the world.
Tennessee has looked real good, but then again, they haven’t played anybody with a record better than 4-3. This game reminds me of the game you see all the time with the up-and-coming team that still has some stuff to prove, and they can do it against the traditional power who seems to have lost a step, only to get humiliated, showing the status quo is still in effect.
Tennessee has the real pressure, not the Colts.
I know the Colts' D is supposed to be real fast to the ball, which means you need smaller players, but this small? My god, I think McLovin is bigger than some of the D-tackles. I heard a rumor that if Albert Haynesworth goes to the Pro Bowl, he can opt out of his contract, and the Colts have been talking about trying to get a big physical force in the middle of that line. Could be interesting...
(Not so quick tangent: The Chargers' blues are good, but I got to say, these Titans blues aren’t bad either. Wish the Colts could get a cool third jersey. Seriously, every team has one except the Colts. Don’t believe me? Go to NFL.com’s shop and look at all the teams' jerseys. Even New England has a grey one. Get one like that, for crying out loud. Colts fans would buy those up faster than iPhones with Peyton Manning’s face on the back.)
Titans field goal. At least Chris Johnson didn’t break one. Yet.
Ok, Chris Johnson got stuffed behind the line once, barely got back to the line of scrimmage once, Kevin Mawae held, and then Kerry Collins completed a pass for like two yards. How in the sweet name of crap was it 4th-and-9? Did I miss something?
A nice little 20-yard pass down the seam to Dallas Clark is followed by a few uneventful plays and then a 10-yard TD pass to Clark. Beauty in its purest form.
Mike Heimerdinger. That’s a funny name.
Rob Bironas 44 yarder makes it 7-6 with basically a full quarter left before halftime.
A tipped Peyton Manning pass is intercepted. That makes about 12 of those this year.
Wow. Chris Johnson just clearly lost the football, and the refs and Colts coaching staff missed it. Then Clint Session just dropped a pick that Ron Jaworski noted “would’ve went to the house.” This never ends well.
Rob Bironas just missed a field goal, and I’m actually kind of mad about it because those three points could’ve helped me a lot in a fantasy football league. If that last sentence didn’t clue you in, fantasy sports are taking over. I’m happy to admit it, too.
I got to tell you, Melvin Bullitt looks really good. I don’t miss Bob Sanders that much. Well I do, just a little less.
Note to Tony Dungy: Find a new punt returner. Pierre Garcon just cost you 20 yards of field position because he was afraid of the ball. That’s another one of the things about this team I have never understood.
They saw Devin Hester burn them in the Super Bowl. Why wouldn’t they try and find their own “guy?" Can’t they ever find a returner that’s borderline competent? Put Anthony Gonzalez back there. He’s the third receiver, so he doesn’t get a huge workload, plus he’s kind of fast. He’s got to be better than what they have right now.
There’s two picks dropped by the Colts now. I can’t wait for when they actually catch one of them.
7-6 Colts at halftime. What have we learned so far? Not a lot. The Colts' defense is maddening. That’s about it. They can look real good, like being able to stuff the run so far against the stud Johnson and being able to make LenDale White look like an overweight fullback/left guard, but they also can make Fred Taylor look like a first ballot Hall of Famer.
The Colts' offensive line looks the best it has in a while, but so far Peyton Manning hasn’t been able to take advantage of that. Let see if they can get over the hump in the second half.
As a Michigan fan (leave it alone, I’ve already been humiliated enough), I wish Mike Hart wouldn’t have gotten injured this year. I had a feeling he could have been a minor breakout/sleeper.
Another Peyton Manning to Dallas Clark TD down the middle of the field over a linebacker. They should patent that play and get royalties from everyone that runs it, they do it so well.
Titans score with a one yarder by LenDale White, then they complete a two-point conversion. It’s all tied up at 14 now. Good Monday night game.
Marlin Jackson is a safety in a cornerback’s body. No other corner can strip like the one he just ripped on Alge Crumpler. 14-14 at the end of three.
Another Bironas field goal makes it 17-14. This is usually the drive where Peyton Manning moves down the field effortlessly while the other team thinks they have momentum. My best guess is that this drive results in a field goal, taking this game right down to the wire.
Another deep Manning pass falls short. All game the balls have gotten tipped right before they get to the receiver or, for some reason, Manning has missed left. This one was a miss left. They need to connect on one of these and get those Titans' safeties respect back. They just seem due to connect on a 40-yard bomb that silences the crowd.
Colts miss on a fourth and medium instead of trying a 51 yarder. It would have been nice to get some points on the drive, but the defense has played pretty well this game, and there are 11 minutes left, so this by no means is a game breaker. The D needs to step up and get the ball back quick with the Titans having only about 60 yards to go.
Now that drive was a game breaker. The Titans sucked up six or seven minutes and got a TD. 24-14. Peyton Manning needs to step up now and show why he is a Hall of Famer.
Remember what I said before about tipped passes? Well, the same guy just caught another one. Peyton has nine picks this year, almost none of those have been his fault. Chris Johnson just scored, it's 31-14 now. This brings me to another one of my issues with the Colts.
Do you ever see Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson miss balls right to them? The Colts need a big receiver. Even Dallas Clark (who, by the way, missed that pass) isn’t that big compared to other tight ends.
These little receivers the Colts love get pushed around and are affected when the ball and the hit arrive at the same time, allowing for tipped balls. This is two weeks in a row now where tipped passes have absolutely KILLED the Colts. It seriously can’t happen anymore.
What a hole the Colts have dug themselves. They can forget about the division now, that race is pretty much locked up. To quote Jim Mora, before they even start thinking about the “PLAYOFFS?!”, they need to get their stuff together. These losses haven’t been tough-luck losses, they have been absolutely outplayed in all those games, save maybe Jacksonville.
The defense isn’t the problem, we know what they are. Mediocre to above average without Bob Sanders, great with him. The offense is the problem and is what is deviating from past Colts teams.
The broadcast showed a stat that the Colts have been one, two, or three in scoring offense the last five years or so, around 26-30 points a game. The Colts are averaging around 21 a game this year, 20th in the league. That about a touchdown loss. That can’t stand if they want any success. It starts and ends with Peyton Manning. If he can get back into a rhythm, the Colts will still be formidable. Until that happens, they are going to struggle mightily.