Thursday, November 23, 2006

From all of us at TFT...

It's 2:30 in the morning...but it's Thanksgiving! Just wanted to wish all my fellow TFT contributors and readers a nice, warm, cuddly holiday full of friends, family, and most importantly, TURKEY!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Colts Observations, Week Eleven

First off, I'd like to weigh in on this Michigan-Ohio State rematch idea. I know some of the contributors here on TFT root for one team or the other, so this will go over well with some, and not with others.

I think a rematch is silly; we've really already seen this game played out. Ohio State beat Michigan, and although the score was close, was there ever any doubt Ohio State was going to lose that game? I watched it in its entirety, and came away impressed with Michigan's resilience. But never once did I actually think the Wolverines were going to win it, no matter how hard they fought. So, it's time to give another team a shot at OSU. Whether it's USC, Arkansas, Florida, or even (improbably) Notre Dame, there's no reason to see OSU and Michigan tussle for a second go-round, as long as we've got a worthy team in there. And, thanks to Cincinnati, we won't have to argue whether Rutgers belongs in the national championship game (like the Scarlet Knights ever had a prayer, anyway!).

Okay, with that off my chest, let's reconstruct (and deconstruct) this week's Colts game.

Undefeated undone. So, the Colts lost a game, and should immediately go into a panic since they're 9-1. That's a terrible, terrible record to have for a team, so obviously there's a lot that needs to be changed. Sarcasm aside, the Colts 9-0 mark was a little deceptive, with some really close games in there. The team ended up pulling those games out, though, and (this really does hurt) that's kind of how the team from Foxboro did it during its fantastic run.

Are you sure? Tony Dungy and Bill Polian insist the Colts don't have trouble with a 3-4 defense. However, remember the problems the same basic offensive line had with teams like San Diego and Pittsburgh? Now Dallas steps into the fray with its 3-4 scheme, and basically does the same thing. So, yeah, I think the Colts have a problem with the 3-4, especially since it's seldom seen these days.

So, um, who like watches the replays before the Colts challenge something? Man...the Colts don't haggle with the interception return (which the guy was clearly down by contact) but they do challenge whether Fasano fumbled later in the game. I understand that was desperation, but it really wasn't questionable. Someone fell asleep at the replay in the first case, and didn't watch the replay at all in the second.

So is the glass three-quarters full, or one-quarter empty? The defense actually played incredibly well during the first three quarters of the game. However, the D broke down in the fourth with some penalties, bad tackling, soft coverage, etc. I think the defensive unit is on the right track. I think the players got tired in the fourth, too, because the offense wasn't exactly doing a stellar job of staying on the field and giving them a rest.

Formation of change. Hey, the Colts gave some different looks on offense. The three-wide set is nothing new, but sticking Reggie Wayne in the slot was interesting. However, putting Aaron Moorehead in the game proved tragic. That goofy looking bastard couldn't catch anything. I hope it was nerves, and not maximum suckocity. I also saw a two tight end, twin formation as well.

And to which TO are you referring? This was supposed to be the TO Show. And it was, but I'm not talking about the Cowboys' volcanic wide receiver. No, no, no. This was TO City, baby, with the TO standing for "turnover." It started right at the beginning of the game, and pretty much continued throughout.

Enter: Foxboro Playoff Peyton! The arch-nemesis twin brother of efficiency and high pass rating reared his ugly head at Texas Stadium. Foxboro Playoff Peyton, who looked clueless against New England in the playoffs, actually suited up for the Colts. He was unfortunately accompanied by Dome Playoff Offensive Line, which couldn't keep pressure off the quarterback.

Cash-Money goes bankrupt. Anyone feel sympathy for Mike Vanderjagt? I didn't think so. But you have to admit that playoff loss to Pittsburgh last year and the "wide right" heard 'round the world killed the World's Most Accurate Kicker's psyche. He's a shell of the brilliant Canadian Buckeye and I went to see during our freshman year of college.

Drop, drop, drop...The Colts receivers again showed a propensity to drop the ball when tasked with a hard-hitting secondary. Marvin's fumble was inexcusable.

Set 'em up Joe. Addai, again, had a nice game. Keep the kid chugging, although Dominic Rhodes actually had a nice run or two. Okay...one nice run, and a decent reception.

Just run the darn play already!!! The Colts' longest play of the day from scrimmage was Marvin Harrison's 38-yard grab. The team couldn't capitalize on it, but I thought the play was a little questionable when I first saw it. While Peyton was making his line calls and such on the next play, I was screaming at the TV for him to get the play off before Dallas challenged. As the play clock rattled down to five, four, three, two, and one...the Colts snapped the ball, but not before the Cowboys challenged the play. It stood as a catch, but I can't help but think this was an absolute momentum killer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Colts Observations, Week Ten

This week's report is a little later than usual because I watched the game after DVRing it (in HD, thankfully). I was instead at the Cincinnati-Chargers game, an entertaining contest that left me disgusted as I left Paul Brown Stadium in my Bengals fleece. Yes, that's right: I root for the Bengals too. I'll pull for Cincy against 30 of the NFL's teams. There's only one club that trumps the Bengals. I'm sure you can guess which one that is.

Cincinnati wasted a great start, a career day for Chad Johnson, and my afternoon as well. The whole time, I was watching the scoreboard for the Colts game. Of course, once I saw the score, I kept wondering 1) how many turnovers the Colts had, 2) if a major player got hurt, and 3) how many rushing yards the Bills had. Thankfully, there were no big injuries, and really, the run defense did a decent job.

Live and Let Addai. The rook showed who the man is in Indy, and his name ain't Dominic. Rhodes may be the "starter," but more importantly, Joseph Addai is the "closer," as evidenced by his clock-eating runs at the end of the game.

Patience, you must learn patience. Okay, so the Colts don't need to learn patience all that much, but it's good to know they can pull back the throttle when they need to. They made a few mistakes, yes, but overall, they took what the defense gave them. And it wasn't as nearly as close as the scoreboard indicated.

Did I watch the same game? ESPN runs in the scroll that Lindell missed a "GW field goal" with some six minutes left in the game. Is it just me, or is that misleading? The way the Colts moved the ball (especially on that last drive) tells me that Buffalo needed a little more than a field goal to win the game. C'mon. Oh...and SportsCenter teased the game as if it were a down-to-the-wire thing. It was close, and it does qualify mildly as a scare, but it wasn't that close. I hate ESPN. Even if it's usually the best thing in the world.

Off the schneid. Congratulations, Dwight Freeney. You finally got your first full sack of the season. I know it was hard, and it seemed to take forever, but you got it. Now the rest of the league needs to look out.

Your leading receiver was WHO? Not Marvin, not Reggie, not Dallas, not Addai, nor hobbled Stokley...but Ben Utecht? Did I read that correctly? Good game overall for #86...other than that...well...you know what I'm talking about.

And the turnovers poureth from the heavens, making the Bills thinketh the game may actually be theirs. So Ben Utecht fumbles the ball to give Buffalo its only touchdown of the game. It was the sole reason the score was remotely close. And then Dominic "the starter" Rhodes fumbles the ball late in the fourth. The inept Bills couldn't capitalize with any type of score. They failed to follow a cardinal rule all underdogs must follow: when the favorite makes a mistake, you must cash in on it. And that's why the Bills didn't win.

Good till the last drop. Hmm....several typically-reliable receivers showed off some dubious hands. I saw drops/bobbles from nearly everyone, including Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, and Ben Utecht (who, as previously mentioned, also fumbled).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Conversion



Two days after "Scarlet Fever", a U of L fan converted to the light side and celebrated the University of Kentucky's bowl eligibility.

(Seen here sipping some mighty fin UK coffee)

Friday, November 10, 2006

POOF!

The sound of Louisville's National Championship hopes going bye-bye.

And it really sucks.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Colts Observations, Week Nine

Well, there's nothing wrong with beating New England at Foxboro (or is it Foxborough?). I bet those guys with the horseshoes on their helmets couldn't be much happier. I mean, sure, there were a few things they didn't do well as a team. But to face the Pats again on the national stage, and take care of them, well, that must've felt special. I know it warmed my heart!

Who's in your head now, bitch? Bill Belichick is said to be so firmly ingrained in Peyton Manning's head that #18 can't perform well on the field. But take Peyton's 326 yard, 2 TD performance last night, and it shows he's gotten over the mental block. Belichick, on the other hand, is in trouble. He's so convinced that his impenetrable defense can be sliced up that he's going for it on fourth down against the Colts. There's nothing wrong with it, but it shows how good the Colts are on offense. Of course, it also shows how little stock Billy Boy puts in the Horseshoe D.

Wake me up, before you block girl. The WHAM! BLOCK. John Madden usually gets locked into a few key phrases during the night that he won't stop repeating. And he usually acts like he's making some revolutionary discovery each time he says them. The WHAM! BLOCK was one of his stock phrases for the night, and wow, he made sure everyone understood the WHAM! BLOCK, and how the Patriots were using it.

You've been erased. Another John Madden favorite last night was telling us how Tony Dungy calls Bob Sanders his "eraser." Effectively, this means Sanders is able to make up for a bad play or a missed coverage by "erasing" it. Yeah, it sounds an awful lot like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but there's no doubt Sanders' return was much needed and well received. While the defense was still rough in spots, there's no arguing with five takeaways, and the amount of energy the defensive players showed on the field. I think Sanders was definitely the big reason for that. As Krildog can verify, in my broadcasting days, I had a few stock phrases I liked to use. I would never call Sanders an "eraser;" instead, I'd probably call him a sparkplug.

John, they do it every week, every game. Madden made a big deal about the "route tree" Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, & Co. run through prior to the game. The Colts have been doing this for years, and it is definitely a big reason "Manning-to-Harrison" is such a common phrase. But I swear, every time Marv made a catch, Madden referred to their pregame workout. Give it up already!

Starvin' Marvin's Revenge. Marvin Harrison made a jaw-dropping catch in the third quarter. You know the one I'm talking about. I've seen the replay at least ten times now, and I still can't believe what my eyes are telling me I see. It was, without a doubt, one of the best catches I've ever seen in my lifetime. The Patriots players on the scene couldn't believe what they saw, either. Then, #88 did something I've hardly ever witnessed: instead of handing the ball to the ref, he spiked it emphatically. It ended up bouncing off the ground, and hitting Mike Vrabel's facemask. That's the kind of intensity sometimes missing from Marvin's game. You can definitely tell he takes playing the Patriots personally.

Prancing Peyton. Okay, that's the most un-heterosexual line I've come up with in a long time. But Peyton has been brilliant inside and outside the pocket. He must've worked on his footwork a ton, because he's moving around terrifically. He showed incredible mobility to avoid the rush, and made some big-time plays throughout the game. He knows his limits, though. Instead of wildly chucking the ball during a broken play (which sometimes he was prone to do), when the rush leaves him with no chance of making a play, he eats the ball. Very, very smart.

Um, just run the ball! The Patriots, with two awesome running backs, sure tried to use some gimmicks against the Colts D, which is often too quick to bite on them. Why the Pats didn't just line up and shove the ball down the Colts' throat, I don't know. Some strange calls (like a fake reverse screen) played right into the defense's hands. I think the Patriots overthought their game plan a bit.

Fourth & 1. I'm not going to complain too much, after all, the Colts did win, but Tom Brady wasn't even close to getting the first down on that one particular QB sneak. The referee should've taken a measurement, instead of sending the chain gang forward. This probably cost the Colts some points.

Officiate that! And the officiating was terrible last night for both teams. The Pats had a few phantom calls whistled against them, and so did the Colts. I just can't believe the refereeing has gotten as bad as it has. We had some obvious holding calls overlooked, and some not-so-obvious defensive penalties called (illegal contact, defensive holding, etc.). It's really disgusting, and takes away from the game. Especially since, for the most part, the Colts and Patriots both avoid penalties.

And then Mellencamp was flattened. I'd like to buy a Chevy Silverado, and run John Mellencamp over with it. I got soooooo sick of the "this is our country" song. Did they have to run it every commercial break?

Please Lord, don't let him pick us. Cris Collinsworth had the audacity to make a point by picking Tom Brady as his player of the week, despite the fact the Patriots hadn't played yet. And how did His Holiness respond? 201 yards, 4 interceptions. In fact, Brady looked clueless for much of the game. Sadly, he resembled "Foxborough Playoff Peyton," which is about the saddest and most severe criticism I can give anyone.