The Indianapolis Colts are now 2-1 after heading into San Francisco 49ers territory and beating them by a comfortable margin. It was quite an incredible game and one that momentum can be built upon for the rest of the season.
The Colts beat one of the most talented teams in the league and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Their schedule is about to get very tough and a win like this gives Indy confidence that they can play with the best of them. This is extremely important for them with the Seahawks and Broncos coming up in the next few weeks. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; it is important to take a look back at the win against the 49ers.
I’ve been critical of the staff, but the coaches weren’t as inept as they had been the past few weeks. In fact, I would say they all had a pretty great day game-planning and getting their players to execute.
Let’s start with the defense. The day didn’t start out great, which is understandable with key injuries to LaRon Landry, Pat Angerer and Ricky Jean-Francois (in-game injury), while Antoine Bethea apparently was playing hurt. But after the first few drives I was extremely impressed. The defense was well-coached, disciplined and extremely active around the ball. And they held the 49ers’ offense to only 7 points, which was scored in the first quarter.
Individually I was very impressed by training camp and preseason phenom Delano Howell. Howell stepped in for Landry and seemed to be in on every play. He almost made it seem like Landry was out there on the field wearing the number 26. Credit where credit is due and Howell deserves all the praise he is getting.
Speaking of credit where credit is due, I have to give offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton props for stepping up this week and responding to the critics, such as myself, he accumulated after last week’s loss. Now, don’t get me wrong, he still has plenty of room for improvement, but his offense ran for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the league. It’s hard to complain when his team wins 27-7.
But that’s not to say I won’t, even a little. Yes, Hamilton did a good job with his offense and helped them score 27 points. However, his offense was still frustrating to watch. He was predictably running on almost every first down, and rarely, if ever, did he call a play action pass out of that goal line formation he loves to run.
Also, why is he constantly throwing screens to Reggie Wayne? Wayne goes down when someone is anywhere near his vicinity and you want him to essentially run the ball? I understand why you would do it once, in order to get him involved in the offense, but Hamilton called this play repeatedly. Hamilton had several other occasions where his offense was frustrating to watch, but overall he called a great game and this offense looked like the one Chuck Pagano has been calling for since he got here.
The Colts looked fantastic and all the credit has to go to Head Coach Pagano. There were people who were starting to wonder if he was the coach of the future in Indianapolis, and this proves he has the ability to coach with the best of them, as 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. This is clearly Pagano’s signature victory of his career so far and Colts’ fans hope that there will be many more, even this season.
Last week I said going into San Francisco 1-1 wasn’t a good thing, and this week I am saying being 2-1 going into Jacksonville is a great thing. Go Colts! Build the monster.