Monday, October 8, 2012

Colts Observations, Week 5

That seems...unlikely. The Colts didn't stand a chance in this game. That's what I thought. That's what just about everyone thought. When the score was 21-3 at halftime, the question wasn't whether the Colts would lose but rather how bad would it be.

Reggie! Freaking! Wayne! I don't care if Reggie Wayne gets fined for wearing orange gloves. I don't care if he wears an orange jersey next week. Wayne was simply phenomenal. When it was all said and done, he had 13 catches for 212 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He added a great one-handed catch and caught the ball seemingly at will. That may have been the best game of his career.

Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde. The first half was tough to watch. Defensively, the Colts got no pressure on Aaron Rodgers and their defensive backs couldn't cover. Offensively, they didn't have a lot going on either; Luck took a lot of hits. That 21-3 score at halftime looked daunting. Then, Jerraud Powers intercepted Rodgers and everything changed. The defensive coverage tightened and the rush was in Rodgers' face. Luck and the offense moved the ball and, more importantly, scored. Indy outscored Green Bay 27-6 in the second half. Astounding.

Efficient and effective. The running game still won't strike fear into anyone's heart, but the Colts were effective in the second half. Donald Brown showed a burst and some elusiveness on some big carries. It was just enough to make the running game a factor and open up the play action game.

Just another 300-yard game. Luck threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, adding another one on the ground. His most impressive throw was a third-and-12 strike to Reggie Wayne that Luck delivered while Green Bay defenders were hanging all over him.

Makeshift line, makeshift performance. After letting Luck take a beating in the first half, the Colts shored up their protection (mostly) in the second half, giving Luck a clean pocket and clearing room for Donald Brown.

You knew it wouldn't be easy. Even after the Colts scored a late touchdown, all the Packers needed was a field goal to tie it. Armed with a couple timeouts and a kicker with good range, Aaron Rodgers got the team in position. Mason Crosby's kick was Vanderjagtian.

Uncharacteristic mistakes. Let's make this clear: the Colts beat the Packers. The Packers didn't give the game away. However, Green Bay made tons of mistakes including stupid penalties and dropped passes. Even on the final drive, they had to use a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty instead of running a play that may have resulted in an easier field goal.

Vinatieri swings and misses. For the third game this season, Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal. At least the miss was from 53 yards instead of 36 or 37. Still, I'm getting to the point where I'm holding my breath each time he comes out to kick.

Not just a passer. Andrew Luck can move. He's got good speed for his size, and he uses this to good effect to scramble. During that last drive, he had two big runs that resulted in first downs. The kid has a good sense of how the game flows and knows when to bail. The quarterback draw was a thing of beauty.

Chuckstrong. The team clearly loves its coach...and it showed. From Luck pounding on the "Chuckstrong" banner in the end zone to the emotional tenor of the team before and after the game, there is no doubt the players won this one for their coach.

Getting the tight ends involved. The numbers don't pop off the stat sheet, but Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener caught nine passes for 79 yards. It seemed to me that Luck looked to his tight ends more this week than in previous games.

Sacks machine. The Colts harassed Aaron Rodgers in the second half, sacking him five times. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis each had one, Cory Redding added two, and Moise Fokou came away with one. The Colts made life miserable for Rodgers in the second half after being unable to touch him in the first one.

Reggie Wayne is the 58 percent. That's the percentage of passing yards that went to Reggie Wayne. Again, #87 was absolutely phenomenal. There was no bigger move for the Colts than bringing Wayne back with a new contract.

He's tough, man. The Packers battered Luck early and often in this game. He even took a huge hit that certainly rattled him a bit (although you'd never know it). He bounced back from mistakes and hits to lead the Colts to a comeback victory. We saw this even in the preseason, where the Steelers hit Luck and forced him to make bad plays. He picked himself right back up.