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2011 Indianapolis Colts and the Lost Season: Life Without Peyton Manning

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2011 Indianapolis Colts and the Lost Season:  Life Without Peyton Manning
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
Jim Caldwell became the Colt's official head coach after Tony Dungy called it quits. His team is off to a disastrous 0-2 start and faces a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense today.

For those of you that know me you know that I am an avid Indianapolis Colts' fan, but also one to speak the brutal truth. Two years ago I began screaming when Jim Caldwell was named head coach. I dubbed it "PDE" (Post-Dungy Era). I gained notoriety for being completely insane as the Colts' rolled to a 13-0 start. Game 14 was when the spiral began.

Last year, though mildly successful, was plagued with mental mistakes and bad coaching decisions.  So much so that just two months ago, much to the dismay of my fellow Colts' fans, I began talking of a 9-7 season.  Rest assured it was considered blasphemy. As news of Manning's injury broke, albeit severely downplayed, I began talk of 8-8 and 7-9 seasons. Again, no one listened. There was much talk about the "system" and how Collins would step in and keep the machine rolling. I was repeatedly told, "Believe in Blue!"

Now, they've seen what I saw. There is no "machine." It's a flawed system that began with Dungy. Despite being considered a defensive genius, his defenses repeatedly struggled, and frequently ranked last in stopping the run. Now, under Caldwell's watch, that same porous defense is aging and can no longer relay on the youthful burst of speed that was once which the premise of the entire scheme was built.

So, now,we see that the catalyst of the offense, the offensive magician himself, Peyton Manning is no longer behind center to make superstars out of common players and consistently outscore opponents. In 2010, the Colts' ranked 23rd in points allowed and fourth in points scored. It's not Kerry Collins fault. Just as I've maintained for two years, Curtis Painter is not necessarily a bad quarterback. It's that Manning is just that good. Now that he's gone, the house of cards has come down.

There will be no miracle comeback, no last minute push to the playoffs nor any "rebuilding" next year. It's over. If Manning returns, he may not even be the same player he was before his injuries.  God forbid if he doesn't. This tactical plan has run its course. It's time to clean house. If we don't we will suffer many more gut wrenching defeats such as Houston in Week 1 and the devastation that is looming overhead at the hands of the mighty Steelers today.

Prediction: Steelers: A lot, Colts: Very little

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