We try to put current events in their proper perspective as related to past achievements or future opportunities. It is remarkable what the Colts have accomplished this past decade. The Division Titles (Six ), 12-win seasons (Seven), and numerous individual records are simply amazing. However, with a win over Denver, the Colts have the longest regular season win-streak in NFL history. I'm guessing this is a record the players take some pride in, and one I will be glad to tell my grandchildren that I saw first- hand.
Whether or not this season ends with a Super Bowl victory, the Colts can be very proud of their accomplishments.
12 Days of Christmas: The Colts Week 14 Match-Up against the Broncos takes place 12 days before Christmas, thus a perfect time for Colts mascot Blue to orchestrate a highly entertaining pre-game skit, the 12 Days of Christmas. I was of course paying attention because my sister and brother-in-law who were key members of the cast, but props also to Blue for getting the media members laughing while eating their scrambled eggs and bacon prior to the start of the game.
Why Would Denver Defer? The Colts main objective every game is to get the lead, then unleash their pass rushing defense on an opponent trying to come from behind. While NFL Teams are given the option of deferring to the second half if they win the coin toss, most don't.
It didn't take long for a group of Denver writers to say that Denver won the coin toss and quickly lost the game. Peyton Manning and the Colts offense worked like a well-oiled machine on the opening drive of the game.
The Colts 13-play, 80-yard drive included passes to six different Colts receivers and ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie on third down. Colts 7 Broncos 0, and one really bad decision by the Denver coaches/captains after winning the toss. The highly anticipated Denver offensive drive to start the third quarter ended with a three and out and punt by Mitch Berger.
What about the Defense? Gone are the days when you can write an article praising the Colts and talk only about Peyton Manning and the offense. The Larry Coyer-led defense has been very special this season.
After the Colts first offensive drive, the defense did, what the defense does. They forced a Denver punt giving the ball promptly back to the Colts. Knowshon Moreno gained four yards on first down, four more on second (via the pass) then Correll Buckhalter was stuffed on third down by linebacker Gary Brackett.
I'm starting to think Brackett's absense was a big factor in last year's playoff loss to the Chargers. I'm not sure how the 7th-year linebacker is doing in the Pro Bowl balloting, but this would be a perfect year for the former Rutgers star to get the call. (Although with the game being played in Miami the week before the Super Bowl, I'm guessing Gary would rather be honored, but NOT play in the game)
Two can play that game: Late in the first quarter, Denver Quarterback Kyle Orton rushed his unit to the line quickly, ala Peyton Manning. The idea was very smart, as Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were both standing on the sidelines. The hurry-up tactic worked as you could tell Orton was NOT going to immediately run a play, simply prevent the Colts from substituting. That part of the plan worked, however, the Broncos should've worried more executing their play.
Eddie Royal was tackled by rookie defensive back Jacob Lacey one yard short of the first down. The Broncos decided to go for it on fourth down, and just like most teams who have challenged the Colts defense this season, Denver was stopped short of the first down. (Brackett again made the tackle)
I'm guessing the Broncos spent more time working on the hurry up to the line tactic this week than they did on their short yardage offense.
Peyton vs Orton: While Denver failed in its fourth-down conversion attempt late in the first quarter, the Colts were successful in theirs in the second quarter. Facing 4th and 4 from the 34-yard line (armed with a 14-0 lead) Peyton Manning lofted a perfect pass to Dallas Clark down the right sideline.
"We had them in a situation where we wanted to be aggressive. It was almost too far to kick a field goal and we certainly didn't want to punt it. So we kind of made a determination that this is an area where we may want to go for it," commented Coach Jim Caldwell.
While it is easier to attempt a 24 yard pass on fourth and short when you have a two-touchdown lead, it is also easier to convert from any distance when your quarterback is Peyton Manning. Over the course of the last 22 regular season games we've seen quite a few amazing plays by Peyton Manning, and this was just another example of how no matter what teams try to do on defense, sometimes the Colts offense just cannot be stopped.
How about some criticism?: The Indysportsnation.com powers-that-be would like for us to be critical of the home teams. I have no problem (especially in regards to professional athletes) calling out someone if their performance is lackluster. However, how can you criticize the Colts this year?
Sure, they haven't always been dominant, but even their "off" games are victories. When the Colts are "on" they are truly unstoppable.