Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 30

Naked Gun Week continues on TFT's Movie Quote of the Day. I again remind you to pause for just a brief second to remember the great Leslie Nielsen, who passed away over the weekend.

My favorite part of the Naked Gun is the baseball sequence that takes up the last quarter or so of the movie. Don't get me wrong--the Naked Gun is great throughout, but I have special fondness for the baseball scenes. From the multiple-announcer booth (Dr. Joyce Brothers!) to the special highlights on Angel-Vision (where a man gets mauled by a tiger while sliding into a base) to the quirky Randy Newman-ness of "I Love L.A.," the scene has everything.

Story-wise, Frank Drebin has been banned from the ballpark even though he's onto Vincent Ludwig's insidious plot to assassinate the Queen of England through some sort of sketchy auto-hypnosis device. What's an honest cop to do?

It's Enrico Pallazzo!

Oh...just assault an internationally-known opera singer and then impersonate him in one of the most absurd presentations of the Star-Spangled Banner known to man. Actually, Frank doesn't start off all that bad...but then things get much, much worse as our intrepid hero messes up the lyrics, wanders off-key, and then proceeds to forget the words.

You had to feel for poor Enrico Pallazzo...a true captive audience to the worst performance of his life.

How badly did Frank Drebin screw up the national anthem? The lyrics are posted below...and YouTube tomfoolery follows as well.

"Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed, in the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose bright stripes and broad stars, in the perilous night
O'er the ramparts we watched, dah-dah-dah-dah-da-da-da
And the rocket's...red glare!
Bunch of bombs in the air!
Gave proof to the night, that we still had a flag.
Oh say does that giant banner wave over all that is free
For the home of the land, and the land of the FREE!"


Monday, November 29, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 29

I have a quick story to share with you today. This week was originally intended to be Naked Gun Week on TFT's Movie Quote of the Day because December 2nd marks the 22nd anniversary of the great slapstick spoof.

That will not change--after all, who celebrates the 22nd anniversary of anything with pomp and circumstance? It's an absurd lunacy the creators of the Naked Gun series would appreciate.

However, something else has changed. The man who brought us so many of those memorable lines with his clueless, deadpan delivery has died.

This face inspired years of laughter...and now we mourn the passing of Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010.

By now, you've read the highlights concerning the life of one Leslie William Nielsen, born on February 11, 1926, on a very Canadian day in Regina, Saskatchewan. You've also been regaled with tales of his time as the Swamp Fox ("Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, tail on his hat, nobody knows where the Swamp Fox at, Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, hidin' in the glen, he'll run away to fight again") and his leading man status in the sci-fi masterpiece Forbidden Planet.

So young...so dashing...so un-Frank Drebin-like.

You've probably read about his great work in Airplane! and how it signaled a turning point in his career from recognizable, serious actor to King of the Spoof Movie. You won't read about his brother, who served as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada or that Nielsen was considered for Jack Nicholson's role in The Shining (yeah...chew on that one for a few seconds).

I know Leslie Nielsen primarily for his role as Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series. Sure, Airplane! was probably the "first" throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks gag movie, but the Naked Gun--especially the first one--defines the genre for me.

So today, as we remember the life of Leslie William Nielsen, we also celebrate the 22nd anniversary of TFT's Best Spoof Ever, the 1988 Magnum Opus that recycled a bunch of gags from the aborted Police Squad! TV show, turned Ricardo Montalban into a villain again, reminded us what was once heroic about "the Juice," and helped earn Mr. Nielsen the title of "the Laurence Olivier of spoofs."

Today's Movie Quote comes straight from the mouth of the great Frank Drebin...as will all movie quotes this week. With his police friend and colleague Nordberg on death's doorstep, Frank tries to comfort Nordberg's wife...with disastrous results. After Frank bemoans the life-threatening injuries an officer faces on the job, his boss comments that getting shot multiple times is "no way for a man to die."

Frank's response is vintage Drebin, clueless and classic:

"You're right, Ed. A parachute not opening, that’s a way to die. Getting caught in the gears of a combine, having your nuts bit off by a Laplander, that’s the way I wanna go."

Improbably, "complications from pneumonia" was cut from an early draft of the script.
Gonna miss ya, pal.

At 6-5, Colts look anything but super

Need a wake-up call? Here's your wake-up call.

The Colts are in trouble.

Real.

Big.

Trouble.

The team even got a special gift from little brother today, a come-from-behind win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Without that little present, Peyton and Company would be behind by a full game in the AFC South...and Jacksonville would hold the tiebreaker.

It's not time to panic yet...but it's getting there. The Colts are 6-5 and showing no signs of life. Sure, they rallied last week against the Patriots, but this week's game against the Chargers was a bloodbath...and all the blood was Deep Colts Blue. It's like someone sat a Colts horse head on Jack Woltz's bed, covering the man in Colts blue blood. Just like in The Godfather, I'm screaming like a little girl wondering what happened to my beloved horse.

This is perhaps the most horrific image ever to grace the Flying Trapeezius. At least until the swimsuit issue...

I followed the Jags-Giants game all day on my ESPN Gamecenter app because, for whatever reason, WISH-TV/CBS decided we'd rather see the Texans-Titans in the AFC South Futility Bowl instead of the can't-believe-they're-leading-the-division Jaguars vs. Peyton's Little Brother. The Giants came back to win that one...you can almost imagine Big Brother Peyton telling Little Eli to "win this one for me."

After last week's emotional loss, Manning was at an all-time low. Inconsolable, according to several of the Indy Star writers. So this week, we thought we'd see Super Peyton return. After all, the Jaguars had lost, the Colts were at home in prime time, and we expected them to be angry.

This is what I expected. This is not the man I saw playing quarterback tonight.

I expected the defense to fly to the ball, I expected Manning to be on target, I expected the offensive line to, oh, I don't know...actually freaking block somebody.

Obviously, I expected too much.

I didn't remember my history. While Foxborough is a place where Super Peyton turns into Super Grover, the San Diego Super-Chargers are like a big ol' hunk o' Kryptonite.
It's shiny! Must be harmless...don't fall for it! DON'T FALL FOR IT!

All the little problems that have hammered the Colts all season long came to the forefront: spotty pass protection, complete lack of a running game, porous run defense, maddening turnovers, dropped passes (even from Reggie Wayne!), the inability of the pass rush to do much of anything, middling-to-mind-blowingly-terrible return game. When the smoke cleared, the Colts had turned the ball over five times, resulting in a tredecillion points for the Chargers (and by tredecillion, I mean the Chargers returned two interceptions for touchdowns).

Mike Hart was back tonight, at least that's what Bob Lamey claimed on the radio. Did he even play? I don't know. Maybe...I couldn't tell you. Would Mike Hart have won the game for the Colts? Well...unless Indy decided to run repeated halfback option plays that stopped poor Peyton from throwing interceptions, probably not. However, I would've liked Hart to get into the game and try to help out a little bit. I believe he was active tonight.

Instead, we were treated to Javarris James, whose leg got bent in ways legs aren't supposed to bend before he practically threw the ball to the Chargers for another turnover. Can't blame the kid...and the turnover really didn't matter in the end because the game was over.

Numbers don't mean everything, but they can give insight into a game like this. Let's go through a few key ones:

Time of possession

San Diego: 35:38
Indianapolis: 24:22

Turnovers

San Diego: 0
Indianapolis: 5

Yards Per Rush

San Diego: 3.8
Indianapolis: 1.8

Rushing Yards

San Diego: 129
Indianapolis: 24

So, as you can see, the numbers clearly favored the Colts tonight (cough, cough). On the plus side, San Diego was 0-for-8 on third down conversions...the only problem is the Colts handed them the aforementioned tredecillion points via turnovers. And Indy was a horrific 3-for-12 on third down.

Bloodbath in blue...

At least someone's having fun.

Friday, November 26, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 26


We wrap up this week's Quote of the Day with something from 2005's Batman Begins, the underrated movie that set the table for 2008's dynamic sequel, The Dark Knight. This movie is great for several reasons--Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson, Gary Oldman--and one of them is the birth of the Batman Gravel Voice.

When Christian Bale isn't singling out production people for screwing up his life on the set, I imagine he gargles rocks to get that extra-fine Batman tone. One of my favorite moments comes when Batman interrogates a corrupt police officer about drugs in Gotham. The panicked officer says he knows nothing about the drugs...and even goes so far as to add, "I swear to God."

This displeases the Batman, who insists:

"Swear to me!"

This man would have my full cooperation regardless of whether or not I knew the answer to anything he asked.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 25


I hope we're all thankful for something today...after all, it is Thanksgiving. Please take ten seconds to think of how fortunate you are before gorging on turkey and stuffing and then heading off to stand in line at Best Buy.

I'm thankful for lots of stuff--like my family--and today's very special TFT Movie Quote of the Day, which comes from the 2003 film The Last Samurai. The movie tells the story of a Civil War veteran who goes to Japan to train the army to fight against the country's fearsome, honorable, and awesome Samurai. It's a clash of cultures in many ways--East vs. West, tradition vs. modernization, etc.--but Pre-Crazy-Tom Cruise-Era Tom Cruise is really good in this one. So is Ken Watanabe, an actor who needs to appear in more films.

They nailed the ending on this one. Japan's young emperor has just realized that many Samurai died at the hands of his soldiers, including Watanabe's incredible Katsumoto. The young man begins to understand that his people are losing their way and their culture. When Cruise's Nathan Algren presents the young emperor with Katsumoto's sword, the shaken leader makes a simple request: "Tell me how he died."

Cruise delivers a poignant, stirring reply:

"I will tell you how he lived."

So who's the Last Samurai? Ken Watanabe's character or Tom Cruise's? I love dual meanings!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 24


I love 1996's Mission: Impossible. Sure, it may have transformed the IMF team from a group of colleagues that depends on one another into a one-man show involving Tom Cruise...but when you sign Cruise as your star, you make certain sacrifices. And it's high-tech awesomeness all the way.

The film gets a little extra gravitas from the casting of Jon Voight, who portrays IMF leader Jim Phelps. A few members of the original Mission: Impossible TV cast had a big gripe with the movie because the filmmakers turned Phelps--a heroic character who saved the day more than a few times on the small screen--into the bad guy.

And there's no better revelation in the movie than when Phelps tells Cruise's Ethan Hunt about the failed mission that almost wiped out their entire IMF team. Phelps claims it was one of the higher-ups...as Hunt envisions what really happened the day the IMF team died.

"I saw who shot me. It was Kittridge, Ethan. Kittridge."

After having seen the actor who played Kittridge portray a less-than-savory character in 1994's Clear and Present Danger, I bought Phelps' BS hook, line, and sinker. Hey, I was 15 years old.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 23


1993's Robin Hood: Men in Tights is Mel Brooks' last great movie. A fairly straight-forward lampoon of 1991'S Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, it features Cary Elwes as a smarmy Robin of Locksley who takes on the Sheriff of Rottingham and Richard Lewis' uber-neurotic Prince John.

The laughs and sight gags come at a fast and furious pace. In typical Mel Brooks fashion, there are as many misses as there are hits...but the hits are right on. One of my favorites takes deadly aim at Kevin Costner's--how can I put this kindly--slightly erratic English accent in his Robin Hood movie.

When Robin Hood interrupts a courtly function and declares his intention to free the people from Prince John's neurotic and neglectful rule, the sovereign poses the following question: "Why should the people listen to you?"

Elwes' Robin Hood chews on it for a second and then deadpans the perfect response:

"Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent."

Is it cheating that he has such a great English accent because he's actually English? I bet that's what Costner would argue.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 22


1997's Con Air is your typical big-budget Hollywood explosion fest, all style and no substance. It boats a cast that screams "90s Powerhouse Flick," including Nicolas Cage, Ving Rhames, John Cusack, John Malkovich, and a particularly creepy Steve Buscemi.

Cage--the hero, as it were--plays an ex-con, former U.S. Ranger who finds himself aboard a prison flight with some of the world's most horrendous scum. It's a 90s Jerry Bruckheimer production, so you know the stunts will be outrageous and unbelievable, the acting middling and secondary. It's entertainment for pure entertainment's sake...and that's why, at one point in the movie, a sports car ends up tethered to the back of a cargo plane.

It prompts this Nicolas Cage-has-a-Southern-accent moment:

"On any other day that might seem strange."

You know what really would've been strange? Nic Cage as Superman. It almost happened. For real.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rivalry Renewed


It's Colts-Patriots Week.

I've never been able to muster much affection for the Patriots. Maybe it's because Bill Belichick is evil. Maybe it's because Tom Brady looks as comfortable on the cover of GQ as he does on the football field.

Or maybe it's because of those back-to-back playoff losses in sunny, beautiful Foxborough. Yeah...my money's on that one.

So anyway, here's a video to inspire and traumatize...full of tasty rivalry goodness and a terribly-Photoshopped picture of Manning as a male model.

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 19


I really dug last year's Star Trek (proof is here). I especially loved how Karl Urban handled Dr. McCoy. I mean, that guy was perfect for the role.

It seemed like he had all the best lines...just like the real McCoy. The best rant in the film comes relatively early, when Urban's McCoy meets Christopher Pine's Kirk. The two board the same transport, and McCoy reveals his fear of flying and space. Kirk tries to reassure him, but the good doctor won't have it...

"Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. Solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait till you're sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles, see if you're so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding. Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence. "

The picture is not discolored. That is lens flare, which appears in 99% of the scenes in Star Trek. J.J. Abrams loves him some lens flare!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 18


1988's Eight Men Out is a painful movie to watch. It's one of those films where you know the outcome, you know what's at stake, and you're desperately hoping the characters don't repeat the same mistakes they made in real life.

Unfortunately, they keep making the same tragic decisions. The movie details the 1919 Chicago White Sox--considered one of the best professional baseball teams in the history of the sport. They were expected to crush the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series. But then, gamblers got involved, Charles Comiskey became a cheapskate, and the players rebelled, accepting money to throw the series in what became known as the Black Sox Scandal.

This flick is loaded with actors: John Cusack, the awesome David Strathairn, pre-crazy Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, D.B. Sweeney, and John "Frasier's Dad" Mahoney. It's probably not the most quotable movie ever...but we do get a nice little ditty from Ring Lardner (played by the movie's director, John Sayles), who sings a happy song to the tune of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles." See...he knows the White Sox are blowing it...on purpose!

"I'm forever blowing ballgames, pretty ballgames in the air. I come from Chi, I hardly try, just go to bat to fade and die. Fortune's coming my way and that's why I hardly care...I'm forever blowing ballgames and the gamblers treat us fair."

History note: the real Ring Lardner's son, Ring Lardner, Junior, was one of the "Hollywood Ten" blacklisted after appearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Yeah, that's right. No snark in this caption.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 17


Spies Like Us is a Cold War-Era buddy comedy that stars Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. That's pretty much all you need to know.

It's a great flick I haven't seen in a while...but I will always remember a training sequence in which the two hapless spy trainees are confronted by a group of dangerous, killer, eighties ninjas.

"We need a plan."

They need a plan. Doctor? Doctor. Doctor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 16


1997's Air Force One may be the last great Harrison Ford action movie. The tagline said it all: "Harrison Ford is the President of the United States."

The movie centers around a group of Russian terrorists bent on testing the president's policy of refusing to negotiate with extremists. They're demanding the release of a general who possesses the power and influence to rebuild the Soviet Union. Their big plan involves sneaking aboard Air Force One disguised as journalists and threatening the president and his family.

What they didn't realize, however--and they would've known this if they'd bothered to look at the movie poster--is that Harrison Ford is the President of the United States. He doesn't back down from a fight...and when Air Force One's presidential escape pod (WTF!!?? Really!!??) turns up empty, we learn that President Harrison Ford will indeed negotiate...WITH HIS FISTS.

The cathartic moment comes when President Ford engages in a hand-to-hand fight with Commissioner Gordon (I'm sorry...I like to mix and match my movie references) and finally gets the bad guy to leave. He makes a simple, polite request:

"Get off my plane!"*

I would like to invoke the 'no ticket' rule for this one, but the Russian terrorist had media credentials.

*Author unsure if Air Force One actually qualifies as "my" plane. Doesn't it belong to the American people? I suppose "Get off the American People's plane" doesn't have that personal, snappish feel, does it?

Monday, November 15, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 15


Love him or hate him, Jim Carrey had quite a run in the 1990s, becoming one of the decade's most bankable stars. It seemed Carrey could do no wrong (although the less said about The Cable Guy, the better) during a string of hit comedies that started with 1994's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

One summer, my brother and I rented this gem and watched it repeatedly over the period of a week. It drove our mother insane...but we learned basically every line of the movie. One of my favorites is when our erstwhile pet detective visits the parents of Ray Finkle, the failed Dolphins kicker who missed a critical field goal and blamed Dan Marino's hold for the shank. Ace finds Finkle's home to be a grim, mad memorial to Finkle's failed kick. He eventually calls to check in with his love interest, uncorking this memorable line:

"I'm in Psychoville and Finkle's the mayor."

Spoiler alert: Finkle is Einhorn. Einhorn is Finkle!

Friday, November 12, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 12


1990's The Hunt for Red October features pre-30 Rock/crazy Alec Baldwin as hotshot CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who's brought in to help stop a "mad" Russian captain from unleashing nuclear war on the world with his top-secret submarine. Thing is...Ryan thinks the captain isn't crazy...he just wants to defect.

The movie still holds up pretty well 20 years later...but you'd expect that with Sean Connery in the mix. He plays Marko Ramius with typical Connery aplomb, and if you can get past the fact that the "Russian" captain has the Connery Accent, then you'll enjoy the movie without any problem.

There is a terrific moment when Ramius gets shot and hands a gun to Ryan as the pair try to track down a spy planted on the submarine. Ramius cautions Ryan that "some things on here don't react well to bullets"...but that doesn't stop the bad guy from taking a few potshots at our intrepid hero, sparking an awesome Alec Baldwin-riffs-on-the-Connery-Accent Moment.

"Some things on here don't react well to bullets. Yeah, like me. I don't react well to bullets."

I've been waiting for decades to see Alec Baldwin do an entire movie in the Connery Accent. Sadly, this is probably all I'll ever get.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 11


You can have your Christian Bale and your Heath Ledger. They're terrific...but when you're an impressionable nine-year-old boy who went to see 1989's Batman three times with his dad...the Michael Keaton/Jack Nicholson movie has a tendency to stick in your mind.

My father and I went to see this flick several times, and it remains one of my favorites. Jack Nicholson is scene-stealing fantastic and Keaton makes for a cool, cerebral bat. Throw in some Colt 45 Cool -- Billy Dee Williams -- and you've got yourself a blockbuster classic.

One of the best lines?

Our mysterious hero holds a crook high above the streets, where splattering death awaits.

"What are you?" the man asks.

"I'm Batman."

I guess Johnny Gobs didn't just get ripped and fall off the roof after all, eh?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 10


1993's The Fugitive is one of those movies that really shouldn't be very good (a lot of those movies based on TV shows kind of suck. I'm just sayin'...). Yet, with great performances from Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (not to mention Joe "Every TV Show I Star in Gets Cancelled" Pantoliano), we get an exciting chase movie packed with memorable lines.

On a down note, it's the first movie that made me realize Harrison Ford was getting older...I mean...the beard he sports early in the movie...so...much...gray...

Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his role as Marshal Samuel Gerard. He was truly great in this one...all swagger, humor, and determination to get his man. During a tense confrontation, Dr. Richard Kimble tells Gerard that he "didn't kill his wife." Maybe it was the fact Kimble was pointing a gun at him or maybe the marshal really didn't give a crap about the fugitive doctor...regardless, Gerard's response is classic.

"I don't care!"

In the end, it turns out he did care. Awwww....

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 9


I mentioned that Fletch was eminently quotable in a previous post. So, for week four...yes...WEEK FOUR of TFT's Quote of the Day, we go right back to it.

One of my favorite lines from the movie comes as the crooked police chief -- played by "Mitchell" himself, Joe Don Baker -- shows up while Alan Stanwyk points a gun at Fletch.

The police are there, right? The day is saved, right?

Not so much...as we discover from another of Chevy Chase's finely-delivered lines.

"Thank God the...police."

Sting was nowhere in sight.

Monday, November 08, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 8


Escaping from Nazis? Just trying to blend in to the crowd? Then steal a worker's jacket, track down the Nazi commander hot on your tail, and throw him onto a pile of luggage below!

Oh...oh...oh...

Don't forget to mention why you did it.

"No ticket!"

Other than that, the comment cards showed few complaints about how Dr. Jones handled passengers.

Friday, November 05, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 5


The Final Day of Comedy Week on TFT's Movie Quote of the Day.

Dodgeball's Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks alone have enough quotable lines for ESPN 8 "The Ocho" to fill a very short picture book. But my favorite exchange involves cycling great Lance Armstrong, who gives Vince Vaughn's Peter La Fleur some food for thought when Peter decides to drop out of the championship match.

Armstrong asks what debilitating disease Peter is dying from that's causing him to quit.

Peter says it's shame, and Armstrong imparts some inspirational advice that would lift Peter up.

"Well I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life. Good luck to you Peter, I'm sure this decision won't haunt you forever."

Several years ago, I could make a Sheryl Crow joke here. Sadly, I can no longer do that.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 4


Day 4 -- the second-to-last day of Comedy Week -- features Spaceballs, the 1987 Mel Brooks satire that takes on everything from Alien to Star Wars to Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.

One line always gave my brother and me a good chuckle. Perhaps it's because we were kids and actually managed to get the joke, but the fact that Dark Helmet's Number Two was named "Colonel Sanders" always cracked us up, even more so when the insidious leader questioned his second-in-command's bravery concerning Ludicrous Speed.

"What's the matter, Colonel Sanders? Chicken?"

Alas, we still wait for Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

TFT's Movie Quote of the Day - November 3


Day 3 of Comedy Week on TFT's Movie Quote of the Day.

1989's The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! features countless insanely delectable moments of screwball humor, thanks to Leslie Nielsen's clueless detective, Lt. Frank Drebin. For once in his life, this "good, honest cop" has actually uncovered something useful: a sinister plot by Khan (er...Ricardo Montalban) to kill the visiting Queen of England during a baseball game.

But no one believes Drebin, who's forced off the Queen's security detail. After slaying the national anthem as internationally-famous opera singer Enrico Pallazzo, Drebin masquerades as one of the game's umpires. And when the final assassination attempt comes via Reggie Jackson, Drebin is there to save the day.

Thankfully, an observant member of the crowd is able to point it out for everyone.

"Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!"

For a brief two minutes, the newspaper headline was going to be "Opera singer hits right note, saves Queen."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Revenge of the Defense, Indeed!

Sometimes, you just don't realize how fortunate you are. I mean, I remember back-to-back 3-13 seasons (Jim Harbaugh's final, injury-plagued season with Indy & Peyton Manning's rookie year) and the frustration of losing almost every week and considering the "bye" a win because, well, the team didn't lose.

But what the Colts pulled off last night was truly impressive. Out-manned at home, they were literally scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the roster. On offense, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and Austin Collie sat out. Defensively, Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey missed the game. The Colts had to start Justin Tryon at cornerback, and he played well. In fact, though the "D" was depleted, the Colts put on a blockbuster performance:

Looks like I need to remove Jerraud Powers from the poster and add Justin Tryon, Kelvin Hayden, or Deshea Townsend.

The Colts often tout the philosophy of "Next Man Up," but last night, you could tell they believe it. Big-time contributions came from guys who usually play special teams or see extended action during preseason games. I'm looking at you, Jacob Tamme, Blair White, and Mike Hart. And you, too, Justin Tryon, Deshea Townsend, and Aaron Francisco. Good to see Kelvin Hayden make a big play, too.
They're not the Three Amigos, but this trio played big last night.

The defense forced two turnovers, and both were game-changers. Hayden's pick six gave the Colts the two-touchdown lead that plays perfectly into their hands. The game ended on a sack-fumble forced by Dwight Freeney and recovered by Eric Foster.
The game wasn't over after this, except it basically was.

The sack-and-strip has gotten to the ridiculous point now that when it doesn't happen, you're shocked.

No, Mr. Freeney, WE salute YOU!

Clint Session can hit. Matt Schaub is still feeling this one this morning.

I can't say enough about Mike Hart. The guy's a little wrecking ball, running over guys who are a whole lot bigger than he is; kind of a Maurice Jones-Drew without the extra gear. But it doesn't seem to matter to him. He'll make that second and third effort to get the half-yard needed for the first down. He's also got some lightning-fast lateral moves and jukes that broke a couple ankles last night.

This is what Mike Hart does. Joe Addai ends up inches short of the first down here. Donald Brown probably ends up just short, too. Hart turns it into a first down.

Yes, there's plenty to applaud about last night's win.

Okay, so the picture is a little too literal.

The Texans embarrassed the Colts in the first game of the season, but when the games really start to count, Houston can't get it done. The season is far from over, but the Colts have positioned themselves remarkably well. They'll still lose some games this season--even with the subs playing great, missing key top talent will eventually hurt--but here they are, sitting alone atop the AFC South.

And how are they doing it?

Great downfield block by that receiver or lineman, right?

Holy crap, it's Peyton!

I'm not saying Peyton's block on that broken pass to Garcon is the reason the Colts won the game last night.

It's not.

But the mentality behind that block--when the multi-million-dollar quarterback is taking a defender out of a play--is a reason the Colts won last night. Heck, Peyton even ran for a freaking first down, something that almost falls into the Never Happens Zone.

I think we all know who the real sheriff is.

There can be only one explanation for this: Jon Gruden is trying to get out of his TV contract so he can go and coach the Cowboys.

It wasn't all wine and roses. The Colts committed nine penalties. We saw everything from offensive pass interference to holding, false starts, and even an illegal snap. Ryan Diem had a particular forgettable night...
Once...
Twice...
Three times is shady!

The Texans committed their share of penalties, too. The hard count caused them to go offside in some key situations, and at one point in the game it looked like they were going to cross the line of scrimmage whenever Manning opened his mouth.

Round two goes to Indy.

Final score: 30-17.

Most important numbers: Colts 5-2, Texans 4-3.

The Colts now face a short week and must travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. It never does get any easier.