Let me get something straight: I am not saying that the referees are the reason the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, but it surely was a significant setback to their cause.
However, before we get to my rant about how the referees were scoring points themselves, there are some other topics to address first.
The defense is a huge, huge issue. How is it possible to get literally no pressure all game? And to combine that with the fact that the secondary can’t cover and the front 7 can’t tackle a pee wee ball carrier, is just plain bad.
Bjoern Werner hasn’t looked good since he returned from his injury a few weeks ago, but today he seemed to be playing somewhat inspired.
Yet, I didn’t notice him being on the field much throughout the game, and you have to play the guys that are giving you production. Granted, it wasn’t a huge deal, but something I noticed.
Furthermore, the blitzes that were dialed up were useless. Why send somebody who is 10 yards from the line of scrimmage in on a blitz? You’re simply taking a man out of coverage and giving the quarterback approximately the same amount of time in the pocket as he would have had with a four man rush anyways.
Oh wait, I can tell you why: Greg Manusky. He is a terrible defensive coordinator, and I’ve stated time and time again that he shouldn’t be a coordinator in this league and he most definitely cannot be on this coaching staff come next season.
But his players didn’t help him much either. LaRon Landry was consistently beat in coverage while also missing an easy opportunity at an interception. Vontae Davis, someone who was thought to be a potential shut down corner during the bye week, had a similar disappointing performance.
Oh, and Kelvin Sheppard? He made one of the most idiotic decisions of the day when he decided to taunt an opponent, changing a crucial 3rd and long into an automatic 1st down on a huge defensive drive.
To make matters worse, he wasn’t benched.
Coach Chuck Pagano should have pulled him from the game and chewed his ear off. But instead of teaching Sheppard a lesson, he let him stay in the game. Which didn’t really pay off either, as the Bengals marched down the field and put another 7 points on the board.
Honestly, there wasn’t a single player on defense who stood out in a good way. But, I would like to see more of linebacker Josh McNary: he has shown me some potential and I’d like to see what he can do with more snaps. Hell, why not put former rugby star Daniel Adongo in on a few obvious passing downs? The pass rush can’t get any worse than it already is.
Now, the offense: As you could guess the first half was pretty abysmal. And a big part of that was due to the play of Darrius Heyward-Bey. He is terrible and I’ve been saying he should be waived since the Houston Texans game. He had yet another ridiculous 3rd down drop. He just isn’t meant to be a football player in this league. Fill his roster spot with a receiver that can actually contribute to the offense, rather than be a detriment to it.
I do have to point out that I actually really liked what I saw from the rest of the offense, in the second half at least.
Trent Richardson looked very good. He was confident, decisive and looked more comfortable running the ball. He also needs to be much more involved in the passing offense. Look forward to watching him progress the last few weeks of the season.
Along the offensive line I really like Joe Reitz. Everybody forgot he was actually a pretty good offensive lineman in the past, he just had injury issues. Look for him to start the rest of the season.
LaVon Brazill played great, but how can I go an entire article without bringing up the guy I’ve been screaming about since the draft? Da’Rick Rogers had 6 catches, 107 yards and 2 touchdowns in his NFL debut. He honestly looked great on the field, he had a real presence and I am excited to see what he can do this season and beyond.
It’s starting to look like Andrew Luck may actually have some weapons on the outside come playoff time between Brazill, Rogers and T.Y. Hilton.
If offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton can be a little more creative and incorporate an up-tempo offense into his play-calling (which is asking a lot, I know) I can see this offense actually being a major plus in January.
Oh and the referee rant? Jeff Triplette should be out of a job. That call, no disrespect, was a simple lack of intellect. And the entire game seemed one-sided. After today and the debacle last week during the Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants game (Triplette was the referee for that also) he should be at home on Sunday’s watching the games from his couch.
All that being said, the Bengals deserved to win that game despite the officials’ shortcomings.
I am optimistic about the rest of the season, and we all know it’s all about finishing hot when it comes to the NFL. Look out for the Indianapolis Colts, everybody. Go Colts!
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