The Indianapolis Colts took to the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis for the first time in nearly a month and did something they have not done since the first two weeks of the season, they won a close game. My initial thought right after the Colts 18-14 victory over the San Fransisco 49ers yesterday was “she ain’t pretty but she sure can dance.” And that’s OK, because in the NFL a win is a win.
Indianapolis was able to win yesterday’s contest not for the work they did on offense, but becasue of what they did on the defensive side of the ball. After giving up an early 64-yard running touchdown to the 49ers running back Frank Gore, the Colts defense clamped down and only allowed another 49-yards rushing the rest of the game.
When the Indianapolis Colts took the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter thanks to a little left over Halloween trickery, the Blue Horseshoe’s defense really took over and dominated San Fran’s offense. Behind big sacks from both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, the 49er’s sputtered and could not move the ball into scoring position.
Peyton Manning had an un-Peyton-like (yes, this is a new word) performance yesterday for the Colts which saw him missing receivers both long and short. I wonder if he looked in a mirror on the sidelines and gave himself one of his piercing stares he so often gives teammates when they miss an assignment? Sunday was the first game all season in which Peyton did not have at least one touchdown pass.
It was good to see that the Indianapolis Colts can win even when #18 is not firing on all cylinders, these are the games that help teams go deep in the playoffs. By no stretch of the imagination was Peyton Manning bad yesterday, he just was not brilliant. A Manning off day is still a pretty good day.
For example, when I have an off day at the office– I rite and sPel like dis–when Peyton has an off day he goes 31 for 48, 347 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs. Not to bad at all.
Sunday’s close game was not all a result of the Colts play, San Fransisco played well themselves. Rookie receiver Micheal Crabtree looked good in only his third NFL game with 6 receptions for 81-yards, and 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caught his 4 touchdown in the past two games.
49ers signal caller Alex Smith, who made his first start in two years, had a decent game on Sunday. However,people need to realize that decent should not be good enough when a franchise invests 49.5 million dollars over six years in a player. I bet San Fransisco could have shaken the dust off of Vinny Testaverde and gotten the same19 for 32 , 198 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT for a much smaller price tag.
One final note for the 49ers. Many columnists and analysts are saying that yesterday’s 18-14 defeat was a moral victory for the gold miners. Really? This is professional football, not a 12 year old’s Pop Warner team. If your favorite franchise is settling for moral victories than it is going to be, or already has been, a long decade. The bottom line is this: San Fransisco’s record is now 3 wins and 4 losses, not 3 wins, 3 losses and 1 moral victory.
It is time for funcityfinder.com to give you some of the highlights and lowlights from the Indianapolis Colts Week 8 action.
WHAT WE LOVED…
- Jim Caldwell became the first coach since the 1970 merger to start his head coaching career with a 7-0 mark. Not enough is being said about this fact.
- Reggie Wayne had a career day yesterday by pulling in 12 receptions for 147 yards and the deciding touchdown. The 12 catches for Reggie is the most in a single game for the receiver. With his latest fingertip grab for 6 points, Wayne has now caught at least one touchdown in his last five games.
- On the other end of that converted TD connection was Indianapolis Colts running back Joseph Addai. Addai, who was an All-American quarterback during his high school career, made a difficult play look pretty easy. The lefty looked confident while throwing on the run for the 22-yard TD that proved to be the game winner. This was not only the first touchdown throw of Addai’s career, but it also marked the first time someone not named Peyton threw for a Colts touchdown since Ken Dilger put up six for Indy in 2001.
- Peyton Manning’s highlight of the game had to be the final offensive drive of the first half. With only 33 seconds left in the frame, Manning drove the Colts down the field into field goal territory to cut the halftime deficit to 14-9. You have to love seeing these drives. Few things give an Indianapolis sports fan more joy than the thought that as long as Manning has 30 seconds and a couple of timeouts left, he will give you a chance to score.
- Kudos to the recent addition Matt Stover. The sure footed kicker kept the Colts in the game all day with 4 field goals and the only points for the Boys in Blue until the fourth quarter.
- The Colts defense turned in another solid performance yesterday. Even with Frank Gore’s 64-yard run, Indy gave up less than 300 total yards to the 49ers and forced two turnovers. A big part of the Colts win yesterday was the defense’s ability to get the 49ers offense off the field so often. The Colts only allowed 2 third down conversions on 10 tries. They also shut out San Fran for the entire second half to help preserve the victory.
- Both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney had huge sacks in the fourth quarter that stalled San Fransisco drives. Mathis now has six sacks on the season, while Freeney upped his total to eight.
- Bob Sanders made his presence known during yesterday’s game with an interception and 26-yard return which set up the second of Stover’s four field goals.
- While improving their record to 7-0, the Indianapolis Colts are the last undefeated team in the AFC for the fourth time in six seasons. While this is a great stat, Hoosiers all over the state of Indiana know all to well that it is not how you start a season but how you finish it that counts.
WHAT WE COULD LIVE WITHOUT…
- As said before, in the NFL a win is a win. However, this latest victory did not showcase the Colts at their best. Going back to two weeks ago when the Colts defeated the St. Louis Rams, the blue Horseshoes have not looked fantastic. While it is hard to argue that a 42-6 drubbing of the Rams is not a great win, if you think back to that game the Colts were not as efficient as they had been before their Week 6 bye. Also, they beat the Rams who won its franchise’s first game in over a year this past Sunday when they beat the Detroit Lions 17-10. The Lions are the only team in the NFL to have a worse record over the last two seasons than the Rams.
- The Colts have a bevy of starters or significant backups ailing. adding to that list now is running back Donald Brown, who did not dress for Sunday’s game due to a sprained shoulder. Kelvin Hayden, who was playing in just his second game after sitting out three weeks due to injury, hurt his knee in the third quarter and did not return to action. Also, linebacker Tyjuan Hagler injured his elbow during the fourth quarter of play and did not return. These latest two injuries just adds to the Colts already long list of inactives.
- After only being sacked twice during the first six games of the season, the Colts quarterback found himself under 49ers flesh three times on Sunday. While most quarterbacks have had single games this season with five or more sacks, you never want to see your franchise player at the bottom of a pileup.
- After watching Peyton struggle a bit on Sunday, the Circle City was reminded that the man is human. Again, “The MANning” did not have a bad game, it was just not a good game.
- In the first half of Sunday’s game Peyton Manning became the 4th player in NFL history to have 4,000 completions.
- As mentioned before, Reggie Wayne set a personal record with 12 catches in a single game. Reggie is looking Pro Bowl bound.
- Jim Caldwell became the first coach since 1970 to start off his career 7-0. Josh McDaniels, the rookie head coach of the Denver Broncos, was going stride for stride with Caldwell this season until yesterday when the Broncos lost their first game this season to Baltimore 30-7.
- With his fourth quarter sack of Alex Smith, Dwight Freeney tied the Indianapolis Colts franchise record of at least one sack in eight consecutive games. The man who Freeney is now tied with is none other than fellow sack specialist Robert Mathis.
- With this latest win the Indianapolis Colts extend the franchise’s longest regular season win streak to 16 games. This is the fifth longest streak in NFL history.
This is where the plot thickens my friends. The Indianapolis Colts will host the Houston Texans this coming Sunday in downtown Indy. Not only is this game important due to the fact that the Texans(5-2) are the only team in the AFC South that are still in contention with the Colts for the divisional title, but the Texans will be the first team Indianapolis will face with a winning record. The Colts 7-0 record is great but it has not come at the hands of the hardest teams.
This Week 9 match up will be the first of four straight tough games for the Colts. After the 1:00p.m. kick off against Houston this weekend in Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts take on big-time rival New England at home, travel to Baltimore for a hard hitting affair with the Ravens and end with their second game against the Texans in a month. We will know a lot more about the Colts in four weeks and it all starts this weekend.
Be sure to check back on Friday when we will have a full preview to the Colts -vs- Texans game.
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