8:14 PM PREGAME
This game is bigger than last week. Last week, the Colts were playing a huge game for the division. This game is huge for their playoff chances overall. Big difference. It’s huge because the Patriots are arguably their biggest rival, and a win in this game will get the players' spirits back up and drive them to the second-half success they desperately need.
If they go and lose this game to that Pats, sans Tom Brady, at home, they will be taking a 3-5 record and three straight losses into upcoming games against Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Tennessee. Not a good thing.
If you remember from last week, I blasted PR Pierre Garcon’s ridiculous decisions on when to field punts. Now Marvin Harrison is back there returning punts, his first one going for a net total of one yard. This should be an interesting development. I’m not so sure I like it. A brittle, 165 pound Marvin against guys running at him full speed from 50 yards away? This could end ugly.
Peyton’s seven of eight so far. If he can keep this up, all the perceived “problems” this team has been facing will go away. Injured players, ineffectiveness, and lack of cohesion, all gone. Peyton Manning is the equalizer, and it all starts and ends on his right arm.
He’s still one of the few guys in the league you can say this about; no matter if you think he’s lost a step. All this talk about Tom Brady being more valuable is silly. Look at the facts. Without Brady, the Pats have gone from a possible 7-0 to 5-2. With just an injured Manning, the Colts have gone to 3-4. It’s not even a discussion.
TD pass to Anthony Gonzalez. That’s exactly what the doctor ordered, jump on top with their old methodical passing game. That’s what they’re good at and what they need. I like what I see so far.
Well, the Wildcat has made its way to New England. What a rise that formation has gotten on a few big plays. Before we know it, every team will be running a fake punt after some fat punter runs one for 40 yards.
The Colts hold New England to a field goal. That’s what the D needs to do; bend but not break. This is a recipe for success.
Manning just threw a bullet pass that Marvin almost pulled in. I don’t want to hear anymore that Manning is still messed up and isn’t all there; he is making the throws; he just needs to get the chemistry back. That’s the key.
I was just reminded that the Patriots also have a Jarvis Green, along with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. That is great. They have to be the only two Jarvises in sports, and they have basically the same whole name. The 1,009th reason I love sports.
Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Manning and Co. have 1:27 to work some magic.
Ooh O.J. (I mean Jerod) Mayo almost picked off another one of those dreadful tipped passes. Manning then threw a deep pass to Harrison near the sideline, and now all hell is breaking loose. The clock was inadvertently stopped when Marvin didn’t really get out of bounds, but Manning went to quick spike the ball anyway, and did it before his line could get set, leading to a penalty and a ten second run off to end the half. That was no fun. 7-6 Colts at halftime.
Well, what do we know? The Colts' passing offense looks pretty good, with Manning passing at a 14-18, 143-and-one clip. The real problem is with the running game. Joseph Addai has nine carries for a big 19 yards, against an old Pats D he destroyed last year. He needs to start playing effectively if the Colts are going to get some bites off the play action they so desperately need. The D looks fine, by the way. I expect big things in the second half.
I’m watching the early game highlights right now, and I think the most beautiful pass today was from Chief receiver Mark Bradley. I hear the Raiders are interested. (Yeah, that was low. I’m not above it.) But seriously, what’s up JaMarcus Russell? This guy is a No. 1 pick.
I heard some talk this week that he couldn’t let ’08 top pick Matt Ryan outplay him today, and not only did Ryan play better, he absolutely smoked him. I’m absolutely convinced that the Raiders are the NFL’s worst franchise from top to bottom, not the Lions or Bengals or Chiefs. Back to the Colts and the second half.
I know that people hate it when well paid guys like Randy Moss or Terrell Owens complain, and honestly, I don’t like it either, but Moss wasn’t thrown to once in the first half. Just imagine if Adrian Peterson only got three carries in a half, or Peyton Manning only threw five passes. People would be in an uproar. I would want the ball, too, at least a little bit.
You remember when you were never thrown to in grade school games and you were furious? Just imagine now if in your career you didn’t get work or assignment or important tasks or whatever you would think would be coming to you. That’s something you’re actually good at. You would genuinely wonder what the problem was.
That’s what these guys are mad about. I’m supposed to be good at this, why am I not getting work? Do my coaches hate me? How do they think of me? Do they want me around? Am I an important part of the team? If a coach really wants a guy to get the ball, he’ll figure out a way to get him the ball.
BJGE runs one in. Crap. Well, no two-point conversion. 12-7 Pats.
Touchdown Jesus! (No, just Gonzo again.) They get the two to Reggie Wayne, too. Even though the running game has been atrocious, I’m giddy about the passing game. To quote those ubiquitous burger commercials, I’m lovin’ it.
Jabar Gaffney literally just kicked a pass that went through his hands. Luck seems to be a Colt tonight.
This game is really moving along. Just into the fourth, the Pats are driving into scoring range but are looking at a fourth and short around the five yard line. Belly takes a timeout before they can run a play and then kicks a field goal. It’s tied, but now New England is out of timeouts.
Al Michaels utters the most misleading stat in quite a while, saying Adam Vinatieri hasn’t made a 50 yarder in five and a half years (It was out of seven kicks, settle down) before Vinny bangs one right through the middle, leading Michaels to call it “Vintage Vinatieri.” Reason No. 124,443 I hate announcing. 18-15 Colts with eight minutes remaining; let’s hope they can hold on.
Reason No. 1,010 I love sports: An announcer can call Wes Welker a “football player” and I know exactly what he means and don’t think he’s a complete moron. Also the 124,444th reason I hate announcing.
Reason No. 244 I love Bob Sanders: He’s the Chuck Norris of football players. Great interception. Colts have the ball and the lead with four minutes left. I’m content.
There’s nine seconds left and Michaels just tried to make an NHL reference. Ouch.
Well, there we go. We needed that. It wasn’t pretty, but Peyton looked good and the D played great. That’s the recipe right there.
And we got it all done before 11.