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Colts opener Liveblog (or something close to it).


It has been a long day here in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  My girlfriend and I have been moving into a new apartment, and that sort of stress puts a strain on any relationship.  Not only that, but I can be an asshole, and that doesn't always help.  Still, I made it back to the new apartment in time to sit down and watch the game, and maybe liveblog it, come on in to see if I am successful.

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It is 7 p.m. local in the Nokomis neighborhood of southern Minneapolis.  I am excited to be in a new place since the last one was way too small and in a rougher, louder neighborhood.  Not only that, but we are now farther south which means that, step by step, I am getting closer to home.

The Menu: 
Well, I wanted to get a rib eye and fix it up with fried potatoes, green beens, broccoli and some corn on the cob, unfortunately the moving screwed that all up.  As the Fates would have it, the menu turned into a Doubel Whopper with cheese, fries, onion rings, chicken fries and a Coke.  Sigh.

Early thoughts:  After watching a little of the games today and seeing some of the highlights, I believe this.  In the Jets/Phins game there was absolutely no blocking going on.  None.  It wasn't even an issue of guys getting mixed up on stunts and hooks or anything, they just couldn't block the guy in front of him.  Those two teams may have been exciting against each other, but they are meat against the stiffer AFC competition. 

- TV analysts come in two categories: competent and dumbdick. 

- It is really easy for somebody (people on TV) to say that the NFC East is the toughest division, but I don't think it is.  I think it is the AFC South.  I saw the GIants beat up on a weak Skins team, that doesn't seem to have its feet on the ground or be able to get on the same page.  Philly beat up on one of the weakest, if not THE weakest team in the league in the Rams. 

- Only Dallas impressed me.  They were playing a competent (if a touch disappointing in the firts half) Cleveland team.  I really liked the way Dallas looked.  I like a an I form team that sends its receivers into a hard post route off of playaction.  That is a great route/action combo.  It is the kind of theoretical thing that makes sense in on the chalkboard and in the game.  If the run has been working strongside you go playaction that side, make the linebackers come up, and hit that post behind them.  Love it.  Boys make it look good.  I also like how hard the roleplayers seem to be trying.  I think in one game they look like a better team than they were last year.  Jack has concerns about the middle linebackers and the secondary ( I have been worried about the secondary for a while) but I think theya re strong enough in the rest of the spots (particularly offensive line) to make a playoff run if Romo can make his decisions in the pocket just a touch quicker.

-  Footage of the Madden Cruiser at the Speedway was a nice touch of home for the prodigal son

- Here at the opening drive I am looking for them to run hard up the middle   They wont but I still want them to

- With three new linemen they still run the old read and react colts offense.  That is amazing.  The balls.  A testament to Howard Mudd's ability to coach guys on the O Line

- Gonzo drops a ball that hits him right in the hands on third down.  Tragic.  He has to focus better.  He dropped a strike in the end zone against New England that ended up being the difference in the game.  Must do better. 
- Dont kick to Hester.  DAMMIT

- US US US.  Crap false start

- Third and long, Colts must perform here.  YES.  With the double team coming from the tailback, Freeney still came off the line like you stole his weed and nearly got there.  A difference maker.  Excellent performance ont eh aprt of the D

-  MARVIN  Listen to the crowd. 

- Colts have yet to run a true stretch play.  I wonder if that is a result of the new guys on the line.  Stretch is hard to block because it has a lot of irregular assignments.

- How can they say that guy got there at the same time as the Ball?  He was on Clark's back before the camera got there.  Wait, they called htat roughing on Urlacher?  That is bad call.  Urlacher was not around his head at all.

- Michaels just said that they aren't running the stretch because of the knee on manning.  That sounds reasonable, but it ruins the playaction.

- At the commercial I am still a bit trepidatious about the line.  When they blitzed the center of the line two guys came through clean.  Dont like that.  Wonder what would happen if they just blitzed Urlacher or zone dogged the middle.  Trouble?  The thing about blitzing Manning is that he WILL stand in if he thinks he can hit the route.  He is tougher than people give him credit for.

- Charlie Johnson is getting owned by Tommie Harris on the run plays.  This is a very good front the Bears have.  Perhaps not good enough to really take over the game against a Manning-type player, but good enough to beat their opposing counterparts on a line in just about every game they play except for a Coyboys or a New England team.  Very tough.

- Colts become undisciplined at goal line.  Not like us.  A stalled drive but somewhat to be expected.  The Colts LOOK like a good team that is shaking the rust off. 

- As Jack has noticed and texted me about, the field at Lucas Oil is a palletized field turf system and not natural grass.  That came about only recently.  The field was originally slated to be natural grass as a palletized system so that it could be removed.  When that came about he and I talked a bit about what turf has become.  Yes, I agree that football is a game for grass, but I have to admit that it is a tough decision with the quality of the new turf.  I hear a lot of guys talk about how stable the field turf is under the foot nowadays, and I can't ignore it.  I have heard a lot of young guys talk about how stiff it feels under your shoe yet how soft it is to land on.  I have only been on the stuff they have at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, but I must admit that it was pretty nice.  I think the stuff looks good on TV and I am told it is easier on the body.  Those things are probably why the Colts went with it.  If you think it should have been grass, your objection is noted and understood.

- A horrible wreck of ea defensive breakdown!  Do you remember what I said about getting the center onto Gary Brackett?  It made that play.  Brackett was so deep that he was sealed off.  The hole was so big that Forte was able to set up Bethea for that great move.  Bethea let Forte get outside, which was horrible, and Sanders, who was moving up to the middle, had no real chance to get an angle.  Madden said he took a bad angle, but after seeing the replay I don't think Sanders took such a bad angle, he was just going someplace different and had to change his angle.

- These defences are both super fast

- With Dallas Clark out, the Colts are in 3 wide receivers (Dice?)  They are shifting the receivers around a lot.  Gonzo is moving around to the X and Y and Wayne is mostly int he slot.

- Al and John are making a good observation about Manning's weight.  Everybody and his brother are texting me saying that Manning looks younger, and I think that is what they are seeing.  I have spent some time on painkillers and they rob me of my appetite.  I wonder if it is the same with him or if it is the anitbiotics that are keeping him down.

- Orton doing a good job managing his offense.  They look relaxed with the lead.

- jack said something was going to happen when Forte and Sanders got together.  Something did.  Bob damn near cut him in half.  Sanders had been waiting all game to get a clear shot at a guy and when he did he didn't disappoint.  Forte will be back, though.  He is young and wants to keep his job.  Who wouldn't want to be the starting tailback for the Chicago Bears?  To walk (run) with names like Payton and Sayers must be a terrific thing.  Middle Linebacker is not the only position in Chicago to have history behind it.

- I was just sitting here thinking that the Colts are being too sparing in the use of Freeney and then he comes in and nearly forces an Interception.  Orton makes a big play to scoot up the field goal.  Gould is pretty accurate.  They will get this.  Yep.  10-6 Bears.    

- I have NO IDEA what Diem was doing getting caught that far inside but he just set up a safety.  This Bears front is tearing the COlts up.  First times I have seen the Colts get safetied in a long, long time.  Miserable performance on Diem's part.  Dungy challenging for shits and grins.  This was a Safety.  Bears 12-6

- THERE IT WAS!  Putting Hester in the slot forced the Colts to switch the conrner in to cover him and the outside backer (Keiaho in this case) to split out onto TE Olsen.  The height mismatch was taken advantage of by a great touch toss by Orton.  The effectiveness of a dynamic player on a defense.

First half thoughts:  Orton is doing a very good job getting his offense set up.  He is calling the audible and the blocking quickly and smoothly.  A better looking offense out of the Bears than we are used to seeing.  Colts Offensive Line Coach Howard Mudd is going to kill three people at halftime.  Two of them may be Ryan Diem.  Colts interior defensive line is not doing anything.  They have no presence.  I will probably write about it during the week.  I know they are green but DO something.  Chicago offensive linemen are coming free to block linebackers all the time.  No team will survive that.   Tom Moore will shake a dead chicken and Dungy will get everybody calmed downa dn the Colts will come out and do a little better.  The problem is that the Colts don't have a middle on offense or defense.  If they don't force the Bears to pass on first and second down this game to be over.  Bears are playing EXACTLY how they have to to win this game.

- THank GOD and Baby Jesus that the US Open Finals are on.  Any time I have to listen to Chris Collinsworth I feel like I have been sent to prison for a crime I didn't commit.

- You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.  Hester should have folded that stuff

- Madden just explained it, but I will again.  It is illegal contact because it happened before the ball was thrown.  Tillman missed his opportunity to chuck Marvin, so he tried to leverage him back with his elbow.  He keeps leveraging him on their way down the field, though, and gets the flag.  It looks innocuous but it is an easy call.   Marvin does a good  job maintaining the contact and forcing the call.

- Touchdown to Wayne was a good shot of Wayne working the safety out of the slot.  Makiing a clean cut and getting his shoulders turned to the ball.  Pretty typical Wayne, really.

- The BEars can still win this game because Orton and Forte are playing so well.  They are running the ball against the cover 2 and passing against the 8 man front.  It isn't pretty but it is smart and effective.  Pretty doesn't win.  Bears fans can be proud of this performance.  Its Bearific.

Mathis makes a great play.  Does it save the game?  Maybe.

- Marvin coughs it up, again.  Just like in the San Diego game.  It WAS a complete pass, so there is no reason to challenge it.  Oh wait, we are challenging it anyway.  This is horrible.  Marvin has got to get in the game.  I wonder, though, if he just has fumblitis, or if it is a result of that broken wrist from a year back.  In 35 years in the league and over 1,000 receptions he has only had 11 fumbles, history would say it was just a thing, but now it is an Thing.

- Going for it on 4th was oddly desperate.  I don't know who talked who into what, but at what point was the line blocking well enough to run that play?  It wasn't.  I hate to say this, but the Colts may have just given the game away.  What the Hell were they thinking.  The bears really hadn't driven in the 2nd half, so whay given them an opportunity from the 50?  Bad Bad Bad decision.

- Right now, I see the Colts going into their week 4 bye at 1-3.  They appear to be a team that cannot execute, cannot defend the middle of the field, and cannot make good game decisions.


- Okay, I have calmed down a little bit.  Look, the problems are an issue of dumb mistakes.  Marvin's fumble was a big mistake that the Bears happened to capitalize on, but that is the Bears game so you have to cut that shit out.  The blown 4th down play was a mistake you can't make when you are down to a team that is running on you.  These two mistakes led to 14 points the other way.  Its a 16 point game so...  These are mistakes not typical of the Colts, and it is plenty to get me upset. The throw in the dirt on 4th and 7 was just icing on the cake.

Final Thoughts
- The Colts got beat at the line on both sides of the ball, and in the NFL that is enough to lose you the game.  The Colts can sometimes overcome this, often they do, but they let their poor decision making compound the problem and the combination of the two was too much.  I expect them to practice hard and come out up here in Minneapolis looking good, but this team really has to forget this game and get back to business.  The offensive line must improve.

Anonymous said

I think the fake stuff looks horrible on TV. I want to see the worn spots on the field in Week 6 and I want to know that they have to paint the Colts helmet in the center of the field every week. It costs more money but if I ruled the world that's how it would be.

Forte runs hard and he's going to run hard until he either gets A) hurt or B) scared. This was a good draft pick by the Bears because their O-line is horrendous and it doesn't matter to Forte. He gets the ball and just runs hard.

For my fantasy football purposes I need the Colts to shut down the Bears, get at least one TO and have Dallas Clark catch at least 1 TD or....have Manning not throw any TD's. Those are my wishes, let's make them so.

Bruce Paine said

Talk about fantasy stuff somewhere else. There is the real thing on TV.

Fake stuff looks good on TV. It may not look as good as grass in the sunlight, but it is better during night games. Doesn't reflect the lights as much

Sorry, that was me before. The fake stuff looks fake on TV, don't try to talk yourself into it.

I'm not sure the Colts offense is playing with their real stuff yet. Yuck.

Bruce Paine said

No, Colts offense looks stagnant and out of timing. Where is the hitch route to Reggie? Why aren't they throwing the slant to marvin on first?

They have to stay out of the 7 and 12 step drops on first down, it hasn't done anything but cause trouble. They simply can't block for it.

Cobra said

There is big trouble in little China. Time to move back over to the Dome.

Bruce Paine said

Time to put the starters on the field fora possession or two in the preseason. The Bears aren't playing fantastic, just well. The Colts look... well, they look really poor. Going up against a strong runner next week and a Jacksonville dogfight the week after does not bode well for them. They really must improve, as a whole, to get back just to where they should be. I am starting to wonder if the middle of the offensive line can really do the job under this configuration. Manning has not been able to step up into the pocket all night. that is a big part of his game.

mcbias said

You're pretty good at these live-blogs, Paine.

Bruce Paine said

Room for improvement.

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