The Indianapolis Colts did it again. Is it the same story two weeks later? Not quite. This Colts team proved that they can, not only stick with the big boys and beat them, but do it in almost any fashion. And the Colts 34-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks proved just that this weekend.
It was quite the awful start for the Colts. As it seemed almost impossible for their offense to gain an inch against this physical Seahawks defense. Not to mention the terrible special teams that was displayed early on in the game as well. Pat McAfee started off the game with a bad 30 something yard punt. And to top it off he had his punt blocked which (luckily) resulted in a safety.
Though the defense was doing its best to keep Indianapolis in the game, things were looking bleak with a 12-0 Seattle lead. And the faces of Colts players on the sideline were displaying just that, misery. That is when the coaching staff decided to bring their team into a huddle and remind them that they’re a Chuck Pagano team, a team that doesn’t stop fighting. And that was the beginning of a huge momentum shift for the Colts, Chuckstrong game part II.
It started out with Andrew Luck and the Colts finally achieving their first 1st down of the game with a little over a minute left in the first quarter. The first down was followed by a beautiful bomb to T.Y. Hilton from Luck for 73 yards and a score. And so it began.
T.Y. Hilton finished with 5 receptions 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. He caught another beautiful long pass from Luck later in the game for his second touchdown. He also made a huge play on third down, making a diving catch of a ball that was thrown well behind him. Hilton said Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner lit a fire under his butt when he made an insult about Hilton’s size. Oops.
And boy did this defense play well. Sure they gave up more than 200 yards rushing and 400 yards of total offense. But, this unit was the only reason the Colts were in the game and they certainly stepped up when it mattered. For instance, Jerrell Freeman made an open field tackle of Russell Wilson on a crucial 3rd down in the 4th quarter. A one-on-one matchup against one of the shiftiest quarterbacks in the league is hard to win, but Freeman did just that.
And of course that Darius Butler interception at the end of the game was what sealed the victory for the Colts. Not to mention Robert Mathis notched the 100th sack of his career this week and now has 9.5 sacks on the season (which is the most in NFL history through the first 5 games of the season); he’s on pace for approximately 30.5 sacks on the season. Yup, you read that right, 30.5. I applaud the defense for stepping up for yet another week.
Someone I was expecting to applaud was offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but then he made some bone-headed decisions at the
end of the game. He was calling a beautiful game, I especially loved that fake screen pass, wheel route thrown in the direction of both Darrius Heyward-Bey and Reggie Wayne (which Wayne caught), before the very last offensive drive of the game for the Colts (excluding the kneel down).
You got to be kidding me, 6 minutes left in the game with one of the best quarterbacks in the league and you run, run, run? Luckily Trent Richardson was able to break some tackles and make an impressive run for the 1st down on a crucial 3rd down, which killed some clock. But if he hadn’t, it could’ve been a disastrous 3 and out for the Colts, which would have been caused by Hamilton’s play calling.
And it still was almost disastrous, as Hamilton decided to run the ball three more times! And this time they weren’t able to pull out the first down and gave the ball back to the Seahawks with 2 minutes left.
Playing conservative is what gets you killed in this league! You have Andrew freaking Luck, whose every bone is made of clutch marrow, and you decide to run the ball to kill a tiny bit of clock? Hell, it could have hurt the Colts in the end, as it gave the Seahawks enough time to drive down the field while also making it so the Colts wouldn’t get the ball back to answer it.
Luckily, the defense came up big, but this is something to remember and something that needs to be fixed immediately. Because come playoff time there is no next week, it’s now or never, and these kinds of play calls get you killed in the NFL.
Nonetheless, it was a huge victory for the Indianapolis Colts and they are starting to prove themselves to be contenders. They have to be the second best team in the AFC at the moment, after the Peyton Manning-lead Denver Broncos, as no one else has matched their consistency and productivity; at least not against as good of teams as the Colts have faced.
Now it’s on to the San Diego Chargers on Monday night football, and then, the Manning homecoming game on Sunday night football. If the first five weeks is an indicator, It’s going to be a helluva season. Go Colts!