Monday, December 15, 2008

Colts win 7th straight, tame lowly Lions

Like last week's win, it almost feels like this one shouldn't count. The Colts drubbed Cincy last week...a team that somehow has two wins and a tie despite its maximum amount of suckage. As a reward the following week, they get Detroit. Detroit Suck City.

Man, the Lions are bad. Every time it looked like they were going to do something amazingly fantastic, they screwed it up. A penalty here, a fumble or a dropped pass there. It's just the way things are going for Detroit.

I will say this about the Lions. No matter how completely inept they may be, at least they play hard. They played a lot harder than Cincinnati last week. In fact, if I had the opportunity to control teams' destinies for the season, I would say the Bengals deserve to be winless while the Lions deserve at least one win. The effort was there for Detroit, even though the execution was not. For Cincy, both are lacking. I didn't get a chance to see them beat Washington, but I'm mystified as to how the Bengals managed to win.

For the Colts, this was a pretty ho hum game. Defensively, they weren't particularly dominant, though they rose to the occasion on a couple of instances, most notably holding Detroit to field goals after some unfortunate fumbles during punt returns. Other than that, the defense did its thing, although Kevin Smith found quite a bit of running room (beware the cutback, boys!) and Calvin Johnson seemed unstoppable at times. I was also disappointed the Colts weren't able to get an interception...they certainly had plenty of opportunities on some poorly thrown balls from the immortal Dan Orlovsky.

I also didn't like how the defense wilted and allowed Detroit to tie the game. I have to give the Lions a lot of credit for going for the two-point conversion (although it wasn't as much of a "decision" as the announcers during the game seemed to think it was). I really liked their play call...distracting the defense by running Johnson in motion and then going to the tight end.

Of course, what followed was pretty predictable. The Colts marched right down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown. The big play was a 39-yarder to Reggie Wayne, who'd been solid but fairly unspectacular up to that point.

When all was said and done, it was a 31-21 win for the Colts, their seventh in a row. It's hard to believe this team was 3-4 just a little while ago. They haven't dominated anyone (the only blowouts that come to mind are Baltimore and Cincinnati), but they've won the types of games that test a team's mettle. It should bode well for them in the playoffs.

It was good to have Jeff Saturday back...it seems like the running game has a little more "oomph" when he's in there. The running game wasn't fantastic, but it did enough to remain, hmmmmm...passingly effective?

Peyton Manning was awesome...he completely carved up the Lions' secondary. He was extremely efficient. Of course, I kept wondering if the Lions would ever bother to cover Dallas Clark. I know the Colts have lots of weapons and you can't cover them all...but when the tight end gets double-digit catches for 140+ yards, well, something's wrong! DC made a couple of jaw-dropping catches...including a one-hander, an off-balance TD grab, and an off-balance sideline catch that proved to be a key play.

Right now...it's hard to fathom. The Colts are 10-4 and still in prime playoff position. Wow.

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