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20 Dec 2005

Any Given Sunday: Chargers over Colts

by Ned Macey

When Indianapolis got to ten wins and began thinking about an undefeated season, the Chargers game loomed large for a number of reasons. Many people remembered last year's 34-31 overtime thriller, and a shootout reminiscent of the Colts' victory over the Bengals seemed a real possibility. Instead the Chargers defense dominated the Colts offense, and they left the RCA Dome with a 26-17 victory.

The Chargers match up particularly well on paper with the Colts. The Colts had struggled all season against opposing tight ends, and the Chargers featured Antonio Gates. The Colts, despite massive improvements, still occasionally struggle against the run, and LaDainian Tomlinson was coming to town. What people forgot in the analysis was that San Diego harassed Manning repeatedly a year ago, and that was before they developed a fearsome pass rush.

The Chargers' one glaring weakness a season ago was their inability to get to the passer. Last season their pass rush ranked second to last in our adjusted sack rate measurement. This year, with the addition of rookies Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo, they rank fourth. (Adjusted sack rate measures sacks per pass play, rather than total sacks, adjusted based on situation and opponent strength.)

One week after failing to get to the surprisingly elusive Gus Frerotte, the Chargers were all over Peyton Manning, literally from the first snap. Manning was sacked 12 times in his first 13 games, but he went down four times on Sunday. Credit for the pass rush is deservedly going to Merriman, one of a seemingly unlimited number of talented rookie linebackers in the league this year. While Merriman had an amazing game, the whole defense was involved in stopping the Colts.

The domination by the San Diego front seven was not limited to their four sacks. In fact, a week ago, Manning was sacked three times in Jacksonville and still able to shred the Jaguars secondary. On Sunday, the Chargers applied constant pressure up front and completely halted the Indianapolis rushing game. Edgerrin James was held to 25 yards on 13 carries, and if you remove his 13-yard run, he averaged one yard per carry on his other 12 runs.

The Colts' slow-developing run plays never got a chance to develop with defensive tackle Jamal Williams constantly pushing the Colts interior linemen into the backfield. An injury to tackle Ryan Diem brought inexperienced rookie Dylan Gandy into the line-up at guard. That certainly did not help, but by the time Diem was hurt in the first quarter, the Chargers already had two sacks.

On passing downs, pressure from the outside provided by Merriman forced Manning to step up in a pocket that had collapsed. The four sacks were important, but the constant pressure that prevented Manning from ever setting his feet was the key.

In the end, with the Colts down two but in field goal range, the Chargers broke through on consecutive plays. On the first, Manning took an intentional grounding penalty, and on the second he got sacked. Those two plays pushed them out of field goal range and set up Michael Turner's game-clinching run.

A week ago, the Chargers pass rush harried Frerotte, but he was able to move out of the pocket and make throws down the field. Peyton Manning may be the most effective passer in the NFL, but throwing on the run is not his strong suit. He did make several plays out of the pocket, but just as often his passes went wayward when the pressure came.

The Indianapolis offense is a timing and precision offense. The offensive line is only forced to hold blocks for a short period of time before Manning gets the ball out to one of his talented receivers. San Diego's pressure coupled with aggressive, physical man-to-man play by their cornerbacks completely upset the timing of the Colts offense. The much-maligned Chargers secondary is vulnerable if the pass rush fails to materialize -- the Colts did complete five passes over twenty yards -- but no receiver got behind the defense for a quick-strike touchdown.

Offensively, the Chargers showed a blueprint for how to attack the Colts early. Indianapolis is a better pass defense than a rush defense, so teams often construct game plans that attempt to “establish the run.� Much of the Colts' strength as a pass defense, however, is that they know it is coming after they get ahead in games. The best way to attack the Colts early, when they still are looking for the run, is to test their secondary.

The Chargers threw on nine of their first 11 offensive plays, the last one a 29-yard touchdown to Keenan McCardell on a blown coverage by the Colts. After the secondary was pushed back and the defensive line became concerned about getting to the passer, running lanes appeared. On their first drive of the second quarter, the Chargers ran on nine out of 17 plays and marched to the Colts 2-yard line before being held to a field goal.

After the first quarter, Brees managed only two completions that were longer than 11 yards while throwing two interceptions and fumbling. The San Diego passing game had already built them enough of a lead, and the running game was able to provide the rest.

San Diego's chances of winning out are severely limited by LaDainian Tomlinson's nagging injuries. He is just not the same back he was when fully healthy. He gained only 76 yards on 24 carries before leaving the game and allowing for Turner's heroics. Since single-handedly beating Washington in Week 12, Tomlinson has averaged only 3.4 yards per carry and has not scored a touchdown. Turner's emergence is a welcome one for the Chargers, who need the explosive running plays an injured Tomlinson is unable to give them.

What Tomlinson needs most is a few weeks off to get his legs back, but with one more loss effectively eliminating the Chargers from contention, a week off is not in the cards. For the Colts, while they by no means wanted to see their unbeaten streak come to an end, the one positive is a chance to limit Edgerrin James' carries down the stretch.

James has carried the offensive load for most of the season and is on pace for a career high in carries. That should worry Colts fans, because James tired noticeably down the stretch a year ago, a phenomenon repeating itself this year. Here is a table James' performance through the first eleven weeks of the season and after that point the last two seasons. The stats listed here include several advanced metrics that are explained fully here. "Suc" stands for success rate, which is explained here.

Edgerrin James Rushing Through Week 11 and After
Year Week DVOA Yards Carries Yds/Carry Suc
2004 1-11 17.1% 1081 220 4.9 60%
2004 12-17 -6.4% 470 114 4.1 52%
2005 1-11 17.4% 1116 247 4.5 65%
2005 12-15 13.2% 349 100 3.5 54%

Last year's totals do not include the playoffs, in which he totaled only 102 yards on 32 carries. While a major drop a year ago happened after Week 11, James really declined starting in Week 14: he didn't have another game that season in which he ran the ball at even replacement player level. At that point, he had carried the ball 261 times. He hit that total this year during the Tennessee game in Week 13, and in the two games since, he has again been below replacement level.

The Colts should heartily thank James for being almost as valuable as Manning in helping them get to a 13-0 start -- by letting him start resting his legs for the final three games they need to win.

Taking out an undefeated team on the road is certainly a marvelous win. But not only are the Chargers unlikely to make the playoffs even if they win out, they could easily fall as soon as this weekend. Their defense matches up well with the Colts, but on the season it is a below-average group. Even on Sunday in unseating the Colts, the offense struggled at times. As mentioned a week ago after they fell to Miami, a hampered Tomlinson makes what was once a dynamic offense only above average.

Indianapolis fell to 13-1, and suddenly everybody wants to talk about how vulnerable they are. The Patriots sport a similar active front to the Chargers, and with their recent play, a potential second-round match-up is very intriguing. But even factoring in Sunday's loss, the Colts remain the best team in the league. The Colts have played four of the five teams likely to join them in the AFC playoffs, and won all four games by an average of 12 points.

Nonetheless, the Chargers proved the Colts are not invincible. A disruptive front seven can cause serious problems for their offense, and if their offensive line does not get itself in order, the Colts will be seriously challenged throughout the playoffs. A rested James will bring diversity back to the offense and slow opponents' pass rushes. If that happens, the Colts who failed to join the 1972 Dolphins as an undefeated team will be able to join them and 38 other teams as Super Bowl champions.

Each Tuesday in Any Given Sunday, Ned Macey looks at the biggest upset of the previous weekend. The NFL sells itself on the idea that any team can win any given game, but we use these upsets as a tool to explore what trends and subtle aspects of each team are revealed in a single game.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 20 Dec 2005

45 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2005, 1:18pm by Jerrod Sieberg

Comments

1
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 2:48pm

Now that Ryan Diem is out, it brings up an interesting observation I've made but haven't taken the time to verify. I believe that last week's game against Tennessee marked the first time since Seattle's last loss, at Washington in week 4, that Seattle did not face an offensive line that was different from the previous week's lineup. The game against the Titans was also the first game in which Seattle failed to produce a sack. Given their surprising sack numbers all year long, it's fair to say it's helped them quite a bit.

2
by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 3:22pm

Did the Colts ever shift to more quickly developing running plays? Do they have any?

3
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 3:24pm

The Colts arn't designed to be able to run quick-developing run plays, it's the problem with a smaller line like they have. They're very good at deception, but ineffective at power-rushing.

4
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 4:23pm

In particular, lineman Ryan Lilja had a poor game. He got blown up by Merriman early (an awesome play by the rookie) and then missed several blocking assignments completely. The mental errors can be corrected, but the physical limitations (small, but agile) will still be there. It's possible that the line shakeup led to some confusion as well.

Jamal Williams was really a force. The Colts can usually run around the big guys on the stretch play, but he "slid" well several times. Is it possible that the Chargers' D benefits from the fast surface in the RCA Dome as much as the Colts' D does?

5
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 5:01pm

Well for one I think that the entire Indi team was tired not just Edge. I realize that he has carried the ball more times than he should have this year, but what about that O-Line having to block that many times. The trenches down there can just get rough from time to time. I also think that Peyton, future hall of famer that he is, just made some real bad decisions in his audible calling. We all know that he has a great football intelligence, from watching him play the past seven seasons (we won't count he rookie year, he got creamed).
perhaps they need to slow thier game down just a little bit, give that O-line more than a 20 second breather in-between plays and them maybe just maybe the WHOLE team would have something left in the tank at the end of the year.

6
by James (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 5:14pm

Six-teen and Oh, Sup-er Bowl Bound!

Ha-ha. Never make loser fan videos until after the season is over.

Anyone know if that video is still up?

7
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 5:15pm

You know, I thought that the Colts should switch to a "huddle" offense for their last three games, just to confuse future playoff opponents. I thought the idea was nutty, but if you're 13-1, might as well do something to make the last two games interesting.

8
by Tecmo Bo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 5:34pm

I'm sure Jim Sorgi will make them very interesting...

9
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 5:44pm

The Colts' problems with a weak O-line are not new and are well-known around the league. Pittsburgh, in the 2d half, just about shut down the Colts with an extreme dime personnel package (Pat Kirwan mentioned it in a column at NFL.com). They had only 2 down linemen, 3 LBs (one went down to a 3 point stance) and 6 DBs. And they used it not only in 3d and long, but every play. No huddle often stops substitutions and they put that tiny group out there on first down knowing they would likely line up on every play of the possession. And the Colts struggled to run, even against a personnel package that any other decent offense would have absolutely shredded.

I started watching the Colts regularly in 2003 (we are part of Titans home market and family has a number of Titans season tickets). I've seen about half their games the last 3 years. In 2003, Colts consistently got stuffed in short yardage when they ran std power plays. See games with Titans, Bills, Texans, Jags, and Pats. FO stats bear this out. 1st and goal at the one was an adventure. Pats stuffed them in famous stand. Bills stuffed four straight power plays at the one. Only 2d and 3d effort by Edge barely managed a TD on the 4th try.

Pass pro was often just about as bad as this past weekend -- see Dolphins game in 2003 (win despite Manning getting absolutely hammered on every play) or Houston in the last reg season game where they rushed 3 and dropped 8. Colts needed FG at end to win. Belichick used Texan scheme in playoffs and the 3 man rush just dominated the Colts's 6 blockers.

Last season, in 2004, having lost a starting guard to free agency, they were even weaker. Tom Moore, for the most part, stopped trying to run power plays altogether. Note how often they passed in goal line situations. When they did try a power play (see e.g. first drive 2d half of Denver playoff game) the line would get driven 3 yards back at the point of attack.

The Colt running game bread and butter evolved into relying on 2 plays -- the draw and the outside zone stretch. The draw needs no power. The stretch relies on Manning sprinting to the handoff wide to retain the play action threat. Linemen get no push. They just have to maintain contact and avoid getting driven back. Running seams develop as the defensive front sprints to the edge. All it takes is a trip, a stumble, or a seal and you break gap control. This weekend, Colts couldn't even get a stalemate. They got hammered backward.

In 2005, defenses adjusted. Even on the goal line, defenses will play amazingly loose fronts (unlike the packed in look that everyone does against other teams). They have chosen to defend pass first and dare the Colts to run, even at the goal line. They also have spread their defensive front and attacked upfield against the stretch. The Colts have used the space in the front to squeeze out some yardage, but they really, really struggle to get anything running inside unless they are running draw or the defense is focused on the pass. Other than that, Indy needs a tired defensive front if it is going to generate a running game.

In pass pro, they rarely have to hold up for very long. If they do, you can see the protection break down pretty badly.

Note -- one of the Charger sacks involved something I have never seen before. Merriman, using a simple bull rush, drove Lilja straight back to a spot at least 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and then grabbed Manning for the sack. I know it was at least 10 yards, but since Lilja was pushed completely out of the TV picture, I don't know how exactly far he back he finally ended up. I've never seen an offensive lineman physically dominated so completely

10
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 6:23pm

With the defense getting off the field much faster than last year, that actually means more work for the offense and especially the line. Interesting side effect.

And Jamal Williams was the MVP of the game IMO. Merriman et al. got all the credit, but it's when Manning has no hole behind Saturday to step up in that the offense starts having trouble.

11
by chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 7:09pm

I'm not so sure, Stan (#9). The Colts are no. 1 in line yards, or were as of 7 December. They also are no lower than 8th when line yards are broken down by tackle, end, etc. Certainly, they are a smaller line than some, but your criticism of them as "weak" seems off base. I think the more likely scenario is that they had a bad game, and judging the Colts OL based on last night's game would be nearly as wrongheaded as judging Tom Brady after the interception fest against the Chiefs. Drawing a lot of conclusions based on the Chargers game is a bit hasty.

12
by dave whorton (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 7:14pm

i'm tired of hearing that san diego has the blueprint to now beat the colts. i think the pats have had it the past couple of years. seems the 34 defense gives peyton the most problems.

13
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 7:42pm

I agree with much of what Stan said, particularly the power running part. The Colts have not been able to convert consistently on short yardage situations with running plays for a few years now.

I do think that Manning's pass protection is better than what Stan claims. I think that he overvalues the bad games that Indy's O-line has. They certainly do have some; virtually every Pats game (except this year), the 2004 Minny game, 2004 second Texans game, but I have seen more games where Manning has good protection than bad.

14
by Ned Macey :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 8:26pm

Colts fan Ned talking now, not objective writer Ned, so many of these "opinions" may have no basis in fact. But: the Chargers completely stole the Patriots blueprint, but teams have done that all season.

They were more effecetive because of Williams, and thier blitzes/pressure were better. Manning kills blitzes he can predict, but if you bring pressure from odd places, the Colts get very confused. The 3-4 helps this because you can bring anywhere from 3-5 guys without giving anything away pre-snap. Pittbsurgh was successful with this in the second half.

I also wonder if Saturday who is a bit undersized struggles when someone lines up directly in front of him.

15
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 8:47pm

Ned,

Last year in the first Pats game and in this year's Pats game Saturday looked awesome. I can still see him pushing Wilfork and Traylor around as if they were half his size.

But in the playoff game last year (and I'm quite sure in 2003) he was poor. What is his deal?

16
by JAT (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 8:58pm

I agree with Ned - #14. It's becoming common throughout sports to wildly over react to each game. The bottom line is that the Chargers were the better team in this game, and their D front 7 dominated the Colts OL, but it is also the bottom line that one team HAD to win this game and the other didn't. People shouldn't overlook that fact when trying to extrapolate from this game to what might happen in the playoffs.

17
by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 9:16pm

one of a seemingly unlimited number of talented rookie linebackers in the league this year

Ummmm, other than Merriman, who else? Channing Crowder? I was under the impression that this had been a bad draft for LB talent.

I'm a Pats fan. This past offseason, the Pats knew they were losing Roman Phifer and Tedy Bruschi, and Willie McGinest and Ted Johnson were both aging (and they did end up losing Johnson to retirement), so it was expected that they would be shopping for talented LB's in the draft, but they ended up settling for two underperforming veterans. The popular explanation around New England was that "this was a bad year for linebackers in the draft". So did that turn out to be wrong? Were there a bunch of talented LB's that the Pats missed somehow? Or were there talented LB's, but no talented inside LB's, which is what the Pats really needed? Or is Ned just exxaggerating how many talented rookie LB's there have been this year?

18
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 9:30pm

There have been a few linebackers. Thurman (CIN), D Ware (DAL), Merriman, Crowder (MIA), Johnson (KC). doesnt strike me as being a bad lineup.

19
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 9:30pm

oh an Tatupu from seattle

20
by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 9:36pm

I dont care what people say about the Colts losing to the Chargers. They are still the best team in the NFL. That game on sunday was no big deal to the Colts. Everyone is suprised how the Chargers beat the Colts, the Colts had nothing to play for and that's why they played horrible. The Chargers think they can beat anyone, they are horrible in defense and are okay in offense. I just don't see the big deal is about the Chargers beating the Colts.

21
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 9:45pm

Yes, there is clearly a blueprint for beating the Colts. Phil Simms sums it up well in the article I've linked, and I'll add a few more:

1) Have the Colts rest a starting DT (Simon) and the DE with the most sacks (Mathis) due to injury.

2) Get the Colts to have an offensive tackle injured and have them shift a guard to tackle and bring in a rookie guard at the 8-minute mark of the first quarter.

3) Have a starting DT (Triplett) get injured in the first quarter, and sit out most of the game, coming back only when it seems they might lose.

Get my point? So, the Colts had a bad day. Everyone's had a bad day this year. I'm not sure it's a 3-4 thing, as many suggest, nor is the sky falling, the new CL movie notwithstanding.

Was losing a "blessing in disguise"? No, because even though the Colts will now rest anyone with a hangnail, that doesn't guarantee them a SB win.

So, was it the end of the world, with a clear blueprint for everyone to follow? No, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Everyone's lost a game or more this year.

22
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:20pm

Ned Macey says that last season the Chargers were second to last in adjusted sack rate, but the table he links to says they were #16. He also says that they are 4th this season, but the table he links to says they are #12.

Am I egregiously misreading the tables? They are ranked in order of adjusted sack rate, right?

23
by sd-mike (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:33pm

#20, if they had nothing to play for why was Manning in the entire game? They wanted that win. Badly. And even though the Super Chargers didn't play their best (Brees tried giving the win to you but you wouldn't take it!), we took apart your offense. And we would love to get the chance to do it again.

24
by Ryan H (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:48pm

I would imagine the Chargers *would* like another shot at the Colts, as it would mean they pulled off the unlikely feat of making the playoffs from here.

25
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:49pm

22: Stats in blue on the right side of the table list teams by adjusted sack rate

26
by asg (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 12:42am

Oho, I didn't see the team names in blue, I was just looking at the adjusted sack rate and then the leftmost cell for the team, assuming that the blue meant that the whole table was sorted that way. Woops.

27
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 12:49am

There is no joy in tha' NAP.

About Ned's Jeff Saturday comment, wouldn't larger lineman have more of a problem with someone lined up directly in front of them? I would think that larger guys wouldn't be able to get their hands up in time.

28
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 1:16am

The Chargers beating the Colts shouldn't have been much of a surprise as the Chargers played the Colts very tough last year -- probably had them beat --but a kick return for TD and defensive lapses near the end sent the game into overtime and the Chargers were already mentally beaten. I think people overlook the schedule factor as it's hard to tell if the Colts are that great a team with the schedule that they play. So much of football comes down to scheduling, has anyone ever looked at the teams the 1972 Dolphins played? Here's the number of wins for each team that they played: 8,1,7,7,4,4,5,4,3,7,4,3,8,5. That's how you go undefeated.

29
by Mikey (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 2:12am

The Chargers played a superb game and I take nothing away from them. However, the limited use of Edge James was a gigantic factor in this game. Only 13 carries and, to my recollection, never set up for a screen or shuttle (which would have been logical enough calls given SD's ferocious pressure).

Maybe Edge's tank really is running dangerously low. Or maybe, and this is closer to what I believe, Dungy found a workable middle ground between giving his stars a rest and going all out to win. And it almost worked.

Again, magnificent effort by the Chargers. Merriman was unreal and Jammer is not getting enough credit for what I think was as good a game as a d-back has played all year. All I'm saying is that I fully expect to see James toting the ball a hell of a lot more in the post-season.

30
by Josh (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:21am

RE:18,19

Kirk Morrison of the Raiders hasnt looked too bad either

31
by stan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:39am

Amazing. Walk thru example after example after example of the Colts getting physically manhandled upfront over a 3 year period and get cautioned not to read too much into one game.

The idea that the 3-4 confuses Manning is really, really silly. Every time the Colts sputter it is the same thing -- their offensive line gets physically dominated. They regularly handle the most complex blitz packages in the league. What they can't handle are big, strong defensive linemen who can pass rush. Most 4-3 defenses have speed rushing DEs and space eater tackles. Colts handle the speed and the space eaters aren't great pass rushers. The 3-4 is effective against them when the defensive front has versatile players who have pass rushing ability are are also good run stuffers. But those types would be effective no matter what alignment they are in.

I can't believe that anyone who has watched them play much can fail to see this. This isn't the kind of stuff that requires knowledge of techniques, checks, conversions, etc. that might be unfamiliar to the average fan.

This is as simple as football gets -- the big guys in one color shirt kick the crap out of the big guys in the other color shirt. It is real easy to see on TV. Just look for the guys getting knocked backward on their asses.

After the Pats win in the AFC title game in Jan 2004, Rodney Harrison said their game plan was the simplest of the season. Every dumbass on the planet wanted to write about Manning being confused, ad nauseum. But Harrison admitted the obvious. Their defensive front dominated with a 3 man pass rush and the other 8 manhandled the receivers. No one got open. Real simple.

And I don't care what stats you pull out from games where they don't get physically dominated. The Colts have figured out how to exploit defenses as long as the offensive line can keep from getting dominated. If you give them one slight mismatch anywhere in the secondary, they can put up 30 to 40 points. And as the defense adjusts and tries to help out, they will exploit the new vulnerabilities that open up. They can appear to be awesome even when the offensive line is just barely surviving. Look at the tapes if you don't believe me. Ask defensive line coaches that play against them.

32
by stan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:50am

The loss to SD doesn't mean the sky is falling. The Colts had chances to win despite the failures of the O-line and the defense getting gashed. They have won more games than any team in the NFL since 1999 despite these same problems. In fact, usually with a defense that was much, much worse.

SD simply demonstrated what everyone who has been paying attention already knew. But not everyone has the studs upfront defensively to do what the Chargers did. Not everyone has an offense as good.

33
by JTS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:32am

coleman, thurman, ware, merriman ....4 potential all pros at linebacker position in the '05 draft. Seems like a good year to me.

34
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:36am

One thing I noticed about the takedowns of Manning (sacks and otherwised) is that oftentimes, the rusher had been brought down by the O-lineman, but they reached an arm out and grabbed Manning's feet/leg out from under him. It's kind of hard to defend against that.

35
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 1:30pm

Listen,
in my original comment (#5), I was not trying to open a can of worms about the colts O-Line. for those of you that have been reading FO for a while you will remember that I said to my detriment this year, that I am a Green Bay fan. Look at what happened to us this year after we lost 2 of our O-lIne Pro Bowlers to free agency and then can't get the talent to replace them. all I am saying is that Running ability of a FB or HB is 50 % his skill and 50 % the skill of the O-line. if the line can't open holes up the middle or adequatley shift on a strech/toss play then you get what happened on Sunday for the Colts. So i say give Edge some rest and see what they can do about that bangend up O-line to get them Playoff and hopefully superbowl ready

36
by stan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:27pm

Jerrod,

The Colts don't run any more plays than anyone else or run them any quicker. They use all the time on the play clock. In fact, since they rarely huddle, they simply stay at the line, which means they don't even jog back and forth from the huddle to the line.

Don't confuse their no-huddle with a two minute offense which hurries up to get off plays as quickly as possible.

37
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:01pm

Oswlek(#15):
I'm not sure what the difference is, but from watching the games I would personally say Saturday is more important to their offense than Manning. He had a bad game last Sunday, they lost. He missed all 5 preseason games, they lost all 5. Coincidence?

38
by Sebastian C. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 11:41am

@Stan
You're right it's no "two minute offense" but a no-huddle. But in my eyes it's even worse for the condition of the whole team in general and especially the O-Line. Ever tried to stay in a three-point-stance for about 30-40 seconds not being allowed to move one bit? It's the same as having your H-Back run too many times over the course of a year. The bye-week and being able to rest the starters for the remainder of the season is huge for them!

39
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 3:07pm

It's not the Chargers game and the loss that should have Colts fans worried. It's that Peyton Manning ALWAYS chokes in the playoffs. Look at his playoff record, 2-16 with a QB rating of 48.9. Meanwhile compare that with Tom Brady, we all know the stats, 42-0 record in the playoffs. 'Nuff said.

40
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 3:27pm

Doug

42-0 in the palyoffs? that would mean that he has played in at least 9 post seasons with 9 super bowl rings. Wow I did no know that he had that many.

Stan
I know that I played LE in High School and in College i got my butt worn down when we went to our 2 min drill. But having that extra time when in the huddle can make alot of difference that is all I am saying. I know that Edge is not a power back like Jerome in Pittsburgh, and I also know that Peyton uses that extra time at the line to scan the defense and get a very good read of what is coming at him. I understand all of this. but if edge is on a pace to run the ball over 400 times (a first in his career) think about how tired that O-Line is going to be.

PS
all of my prayers are going out to Tony Dungee and his family, This is a tragic day for them and I hope that his family realizes how many people support them

41
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 3:41pm

40: That would also assume that Peyton been in the league at least 16 seasons (making him 40+) to accrue a 2-16 record. We can only assume that Doug is either trying to be funny or is just really bad at math.

42
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 4:44pm

Hey B
I hope it is trying to be funny

43
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 4:45pm

Hey B
I hope it is Dan's way of trying to be funny

44
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 4:46pm

Who is Dan?

45
by Jerrod Sieberg (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 1:18pm

Woops

I meant doug in commment 39

Do the math
????????