Monday, December 31, 2007

Fantasy Pride

I want to offer a hearty congratulations to the winners of our Fantasy League this year. For those who didn't know, we had a special rule (no Patriots and no Jaguars players allowed, and no one could start a player playing against Indy). The final results were:

Champion: TNT Football managed by Eric F (Ereeper)
2nd Place: Bobsanders managed by Jordan H.
3rd Place: Dacoltz managed by hoosierhoops02

Our champion, Eric, says,
"As far as gloating comments, I'm not that kind of winner. I will part with that is sure was a great challenge to have only two bench players. It seemed every move I made was golden. I played Lorenzo Neal one week and he get's a TD. I then dropped him. I waited for starting RB's to go down so I could pick up their back ups and the back ups came through. I traded Kenny Watson for Selvin Young and that was a great trade for me. I dropped Shockey at the right time and the Baltimore D at the right time. Bethea gets hurt and I pick up Roman Harper and he get's an INT in the playoffs. I don't know if it was luck or skill or a little of both, but I'll take it. I look forward to defending my title next year! Thanks to all 19 owners for all the fun and competition and most important. Go Colts!!!"

Demond and I got edged out of the playoffs, but we already complained about that weeks ago (Freaking Willis McGahee). Thanks to everyone who played. We hope to see many of you back next year.

Hit of the year

The contest for biggest hit of the NFL season was decided in the final game of the season by one Darrell Reid of the Indianapolis Colts. Notice how much Dallas Clark is loving it? He's just glad he's not the one getting jacked up for once.

Here's the second place finisher:

Feeling Good

Despite the lousy finish last night, I think most of us feel extremely good about the state of this team right now. The offense looked sharp, despite a smart aversion to running the ball. There was no reason to get Addai beat up. Manning was clearly in rhythm, and would have put up 30 had he stayed in the game. Most impressively was the furor of the defense. I can't ever remember a Colts team that hit as hard as that one. We all know that Bob Sanders will eat brains, but watching Guzman leap over two guys to make a bruising tackle was awesome. This is a nasty defense. Despite allowing a bucketload of return TDs and several meaningless scores in the last two minutes of games, the Colts have the best scoring D in football. Of all the Colts teams I've seen, this one is the first to surpass the cursed 1996 as my favorite. I have this feeling like this team is about to ascend to a completely different level over the next month.

How hilarious was last night's game as a microcosm of everything we've been saying about VY? I mean seriously. He was having a really strong statistical night, but the Titans were losing. As soon as he left the game, I knew we were in trouble. Jeff Fisher's interview was weeeeeird after the game. He basically said Young COULD have played. YIKES. Did he really just bench his star QB in the 3rd quarter of a must win game that he was losing? Yup. And that's why he's great. He knew Collins was the best hope for winning that game, and was lucky he got the excuse he needed to play him.

Here's a start on today's links:
Clayton does a good job on the key issues of the playoffs.
CHFF picks their awards
John Clayton puts the Colts as at 2-1 to knock of the Pats.
Scouts Inc. weird system rates the Colts and Pats as even on offense.
Scoop may be crazy, but he's not wrong.

Brown out

Titans 16 - Colts 10

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Titans Game Blog

Good evening. We are going to try to blog this puppy at least until it gets out of hand. Marvin is inactive tonight. He is joined by Anthony Gonzalez, Ryan Diem, Raheem Brock, and Robert Mathis. The Titans are favored by five points. Peyton Manning and Joseph Addai probably won't play more than a series or two.

First Quarter

1.) Nice kickoff coverage. Titans start with a big run. Looked like Hagler was held. DZ reminds me that there is no holding in the NFL. It has gone the way of the traveling call in hoops. Big third down conversion to Bo Scaife. Young easily beat a weak blitz by Gary Brackett. First and goal for the Titans. Chris Brown takes it in for the score. Almost a mirror image of last week's opening drive by Houston. Man-handled.

2.) Poor return by Rushing. He looked indecisive, probably because the blocking wasn't there. This could quickly turn into a laugher. Manning and the Colts open with a swing to Addai for 8 yards. Wayne for 3 yards and the first down. Bryan Fletcher gets rocked mercilessly and drops a short gain. Big completion of 18 yards to Reggie Wayne on third and 4. He already has 4 catches. He must be trying to get Reggie his 100 balls. Manning gets to 4,000 yards and Reggie Wayne fumbles after getting destroyed. Go out of bounds, pal. His third lost fumble of the season. Not good.

3.) The Colts are getting pushed around up front. They miss Raheem Brock. Ed Johnson misses a sure tackle, allowing the first down to Brown. Freddy Keiaho stuffs the ball carrier on first down. Young scrambles but is reined in for a short gain. Scrambles again, but can't pick up the conversion. Nice defensive effort.

4.) Big gain for Addai. 14 yards. Ugoh neutralized Vanden Bosch and went seeking another guy to block. I love it. Albert Haynesworth is out for the moment. Fletcher gets nailed again after a short gain. Big third down coming up. Addai picks it up with it 8 yards. 100 catches for Wayne. Another drive ends very lamely, with the ball knocked harmlessly forward as Manning is throwing it. Titans lead 7-3, after AV bangs one home.

Second Quarter

5.) Wayne may have just set some kind of record. He has 10 catches and we are only 18 minutes into the game.

6.) Titans are driving again. They face 3rd and 6 and pick it easily. Big gainer to Gage. Terrible PI penalty on Marlin Jackson given that ball looked uncatchable by anyone other than Kareem Abdul Jabar or maybe Godzilla. Doesn't matter because the Titans fumble the ball away on the next play.

7.) Manning and Addai are done. Aromashadu is called for a block in the back negating a big gain for Kenton Keith. He didn't need the help. Reggie Wayne now leads the lead in receiving yards and has a dozen catches. This is getting silly. He leaves with a career high in catches. Now we'll see if Sorgi can move the ball with absolute nobodies at WR. 3rd and 9 and they run a moronic play to Craphonso Thorpe. A one yard bubble screen. That made no sense. Smith punts and hefty Darrell Reid tracks down the return-man. Very nice.

8.) Titans have a huge third and 9 coming up, backed up against their own end zone. A pick six would come in handy right about now. So close! Colts blitz and Young skies one that a diving Giordano can't come up with it. Tennessee punts the ball a mile and the Colts help out by comitting several egregious penalties. A 70 yard change in field position. That's tough to pull off.

9.) Sorgi looks inept and his receivers aren't much better as the Colts quickly go three and out. Peyton Manning shakes his head in disbelief from the sidelines. Al Michaels thinks the Browns fans must be frustrated right now. I would imagine they are because my team has nothing on the line and I'm not all that happy. Still, it is a very close game and VY hasn't shown us much from the quarterback position.

10.) Hilarious completion to Justin Gage. It would have been an incomplete pass to Bo Scaife, but Giordano's helmet skied the ball about 15 yards right to Gage. Unlucky as it gets, but pretty funny. Young is moving the ball. BOB SANDERS pops him square in the knee. Young didn't see him because Josh Thomas was also giving chase. Titans use their last timeout with 59 seconds to play. Sanders proceeds to break up a deep ball to force a Titan punt. It was fourth and 15, but I hate the decision to punt from the Colts 41 yard line. I guess Jeff Fisher doesn't believe in Young's ability to make a big play. Weird. Titans lead 7 -3 at the half.

Third Quarter

11.) I kind of wish they'd put Manning back in the game and say screw it we want to keep the Titans out of the playoff. Nice opening return by Rushing to the 39. Sorgi comes out with Keith and Lawton on either side. They blitz the crap out of him for a sack and loss of 8. Horrific. He comes back with a 12 yard gain to Crap. Punt. That was bad. Sorry Cleveland. It's time to start praying for Vince Young to play like Vince Young, if you haven't already.

12.) It looks like Reggie Wayne's early fumble will be the story of the game for the Colts and Browns. The good news is the Colts have stopped the run much better in the last two quarters. The scrubs are in, but the Titans fumble again. Clint Sessions knocks the ball out and Rocky Boiman is on the spot with the recovery.

13.) Sorgi needs a big strike. He doesn't get it, but he does get a HUGE penalty for a late hit. From the original television angle it looked like an unnecessary shot. This is followed immediately by an illegal use of hands to the face call. The Colts are moving the ball without trying. Cleveland must have found religion. 2nd and Goal from the three after Bullock whiffs on Dawson. CRAP! I mean YES! Touchdown Craphonso Thorpe. 30 yard scoring drive. Colts lead 10-7.

14.) The Titans need a big return here because they haven't moved the ball nearly well enough. HOLY WHAT THE! Darrel Reid has me talking nonsense because he just delivered the hit of the year. That was so funny and violent. Madden dubs it one of the biggest hits he's ever seen. I'd say. 3rd and two and Young scrambles for a cloooose first down. He's gimpy. Kerry Collins comes in. Titans are driving again. The Titans can't run the ball. Discounting VY's scrambles they are 21 carries for 64 yards. It is hilarious. Collins picks up a big third down. No pressure. DZ comments that this injury is the best thing to happen to the Titans. False start and delay of game penalties back to back. Not strong. The drive stalls as Charleston forces a low throw with good pressure on Kerry Collins. Colts 10 - Titans 10.

15.) That was a 13 play drive with only a field goal to show for it. The Colts excel at allowing long drives with little payoff. Occasionally you'll get a touchdown, but more often the D will make a huge play along the way. A 14 yard gain to Aromashadu is negated by an illegal man downfield penalty. Huge swing. That could be a hidden play that helps decide this one.

Fourth Quarter

16.) The Colts haven't conceded anything easily tonight to Tennessee. HUGE third and seven coming up for Sorgi and company. LUUUUUUKE. The fan favorite snags one of his shoestrings and takes it for 10 yards. Sorgi nearly throws a pick. He needs to get that ball closer to the sideline. But the bigger question is why aren't they running? Terrible play-calling. Another errant pass, followed by another. Interesting to note that Tony Ugoh is still playing and playing well.

17.) Titans are pinned deep and still trying to run. This is getting funny. Two runs are stuffed which brings up a big 3rd and 6. SO CLOSE. Rushing nearly makes the play of the night, instead it is a game of exactly 6. Titans have 25 carries for 70 yards. Not getting it done. All their success is coming through the air, finding the sizeable holes in the zone. The LBs are playing great for the most part, but DZ correctly notes that the blitz is failing miserably. The D looks somewhat gassed as the Titans are mounting their second best drive of the night. This has been a fun game to watch. I'm really impressed with the effort on D. Ed Johnson makes a great stop to force a third down. He grabbed Henry by the ankle. Awesome player. OOH. Nearly picked off. Fourth and 5 and Bironas comes on for a 54 yarder. Titans lead 13-10.

18.) Screw you, Bironas. I'm still mad about last December. I think we'd all like to see Jim Sorgi come in and bury these clowns and finish the AFC South Revenge Tour the right way. 7:33 to play. Rushing can't handle the kickoff and the Colts start with bad field position. I hope he doesn't screw us in the playoffs with a big mistake. What the ---- is he doing? Why is Sorgi still trying to throw? He's ruining a terrific effort by the rest of the team. Miserable effort.

19.) The good news is the Indy Defense will finish the season #1 in points allowed. I'm still angry about the offensive play-calling. Ridiculous. 3rd and 6 and the Colts allow an easy conversion. If there has been a weak point tonight it has been the pass defense. They haven't had the necessary pressure from the front 4. Collins is just picking these guys apart. The Titans have run far more plays tonight, but still can't get anything on the ground. It's awesome to watch. They are now down to 2.6 yards per carry. I've never seen anything like it from a team that has everything to play for against a team who is playing for nothing much. 3rd and five. AND THEY RUN AGAIN AND STUFFED AGAIN. AMAZING. Titans lead 16-10.

20.) Kerry Collins has saved the Titans. He led them to two field goal drives to win the game (probably). Sorgi will have one last chance to redeem himself and save the AFC South Revenge Tour. He IS REALLY BAD. Really awful. What is going on? 3 and out and the Colts will go for it. Aromashadu drops the conversion. He double clutches it. That's a flat-out drop, but Sorgi lacks the zip to be an NFL quarterback. His throws look like birthday balloons.

21.) Can you tell me why the Colts only ran the ball 9 times in this game? Only two times in the second half? They were averaging over 5 yards per carry. Madden is ripping Sorgi, deservedly. I've never been more angry about a meaningless game. The Colts D played like geniuses and the Browns deserve to be going to the playoffs. Tennessee is not nearly good enough.

Point/Counter Point

Announcer: Tonight on Point/Counter Point, we address the 2007 Patriots. Specifically, this topic: After they lose in the playoffs, should their season be considered a successful one? Our panelists this evening, Braynt Gumbel and Chris Collinsworth. Gentlemen, you have the floor.

Gumbel: Thanks. I want to make it clear that I have no specific qualifications to give my opinion on this issue, but my laid back narrative style should lend itself to a soothing rhythm in this debate. To the point in hand, I think that despite their impending loss in the playoffs, the Patriots season has been a rousing success. No team has ever won such an amazing string of meaningless games by relentless 'stoning' the other team. The ride is ending soon sure, but it's been a thrill to watch. Kudos to the Boston Patriots for their perfect (mostly) season!

Collinsworth: This debate sets up perfectly for me because I can use both of my vocal tones. I'll start off with drone: The New England Brady's have been the greatest team I've ever seen, but I doubt very seriously whether I'll remember any of that after they lose. I'll find a way to say that I saw it coming, and blame the loss on something completely irrelevant like the Patriots just wanting to win TOO much. But back to the topic, Bryant, how can you possibly say that this season was a success for the Patriots? After their impending playoff loss, they'll forever be remembered as the football version of the 2004 Yankees. This season will be a failure both for them and for me personally, as I'll have to talk about other teams during Super Bowl week, and quite frankly I stopped paying attention to anything other than Tom Brady's ass about 3 months ago.

Gumbel: I think you're missing the point Chris. The playoff loss will only put the Pats in a more historic light. They'll go down with the great Bears teams of the 1930s that also choked in the playoffs. Being remembered forever makes you great. This team will invariably be remembered, therefore it's been a great season. Does this turtleneck make me look fat? I don't want to be confused with my brother.


Gumbel: Well Chris, you are talking loudly, and I'm incompetent so I guess that you're right. What? We just missed a play? Oh well, that's the beauty of having a conversation with give and take, you don't have to get bogged down in little things like what actually happens on the field.

Collinsworth: We've finally found something we can agree on. It's just as well if I miss a play. I'd hate to have to actually watch a replay and give insight. It's too easy to do things like pointlessly question a player's toughness or state of mind. No one can prove me wrong about those things.

Announcer: Thank you gentlemen. This was enlightening. Next week we'll have John Madden and Chris Berman discuss whether BOOM! or Wooop wooop wooop! is more effective in analyzing the results of a play in football. This has been Point/Counter Point. Good night.

Congrats on #50 Tom Brady!!!

And it only took you 76 more throws than Peyton Manning to throw that 50th touchdown.

Not to mention an extra game. See you in three weeks.

(Also, your Running Back is horrible.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Graves buries SIU

The headline was so obvious that I can't believe no one used it. Check out the video on this page. About halfway through, they finally show the amazing 35 footer AJ Graves nailed to beat the buzzer. That's a serious big boy shot.

Demond mocks my love for Butler, but we grew up 5 minutes from Hinkle and our dad used to take us to Butler games. We'd sit near the court, and he'd heckle the officials. I always pull hard for the Bulldogs, but Demond still holds an IU based grudge because of some random badly officiated game like 7 years ago. Well, screw you man! GO BUTLER.

Demond Sanders: That game was last year, not 7 years ago, and it was a joke. I generally like Butler, but this latest incarnation gets on my nerves a little. Now that they have respect from the national media their small school schtick is wearing thin. Also, I am firmly against sports bigamy. I have one team in each major sport and that's it. Colts, Pacers, Reds, Hoosiers, Fever, and Thrashers.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bob Sanders signs 5 year deal

ESPN is reporting that Bob "The Zombie" Sanders has signed a five-year, 37.5 million dollar deal to stay with the Indianapolis Colts. Great news for just about everybody with the possible exception of Dallas Clark. This deal makes Sanders the highest paid safety in the NFL. The early word is Sanders plans on celebrating the contract by popping open Larry Maroney's skull and eating his brain.

You thought that was good news? Try this. That's right. #88 is set to play on Sunday. He practiced for two consecutive days for the first time in recent memory. January is only 3 days away!

Here's another nice link: FO's all rookie team. They point out some facts about Tony Ugoh that we've been screaming about all season. I love when that happens.

DZ Comments: It's a red letter day! This is all great, if not totally unexpected news. I think, and I'm not sure on this, that because they signed Bob before the end of the season, that they can prorate his contract over this year too, and use the cap space created when Simon was cut to help offset the bonus. I'm going to check on that, but I think that's how it works.

Well it's not 18, but 4 is OK

That's because we just post the Vince Young Files, Volume IV. Normally on Friday, or Saturday or whenever we get to it, we post our Eyes in the Backfield column, but honestly, it's a ton a work to do for a game that doesn't matter much. So in honor of Sunday night's clash of the Titans (ho ho!), we are going back to another of our favorite recurring characters, Vince Young.

I'd say our conclusions were surprising, except that if you've read the VY Files Volumes 1-3, you can probably guess at what they are going to say: Vince Young's play has little to do with whether or not the Titans win or lose.

At this point, you can't really say, "Vince Young just wins games". You can't really even say, "Vince Young just loses games" (a phrase originally coined for Vinnie Testaverde). Now, all we can say is:

Vince Young just plays in games.

Also: The Zombie is getting some serious mo for DPY. That was my blogging attempt at becoming a short order cook. I have to say, we are obviously thrilled as our infatuation with Zombie Bob is well documented, and fairly obvious given our pseudonyms. I'm still a little steamed about Gary Brackett not making the Pro Bowl though. Bob is a beast, but I don't like for people to turn him into a one man show this year. He certainly was in the playoffs last year, but let's not forget about how great Bracket is.

What the heck, A COLT IS GOING TO WIN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR! Will wonders never cease.

I'm out of it for a few hours...

and Harrison practices, CHFF lauds a Colt, and the small market Colts win a competition to see who is the most watchable. Yikes.

Also, check out this fascinating article from Footballoutsiders about injuries. Huh, so offensive injuries hurt a team worse than anything huh? O-line injuries are devastating? Hurt LBs kill a defense? Hmmm, I wonder why I would be so confident about the Colts winning a rematch with the Pats? Maybe it's because we played the first game without our left tackle and two starting linebackers. Note that hurt WRs aren't as important as hurt linemen (which is why we've been downplaying Marvin). I wonder if a team would struggle a bit if it lost both tackles and a TE? Seems to be so. Finally, in honor of Marvin practicing, I give you this: (I've been saving it for months)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Coach of the Year?

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Hooded One will win Coach of the Year this year. I suppose it's debatable whether Spygate should affect the voting, but honestly, it's not really a very interesting debate. Great coaches often get passed over for this award because it typically goes to some schmo whose team sucked last year. Gary Horton thinks Billy should win, and lists Tony Dungy as the number two choice.

The coaching subplot is one of the more interesting ones in this season on a fulcrum. Whereas most Colts fans (and I think most NFL fans) think Manning is the better QB in the whole Manning/Brady war, no one would rate as a better coach right now than Bill Belichick. The reason is that for a coach, winning and winning Super Bowls is ALL that matters. QBs win or lose with their teammates and can't be blamed for the mistakes of others. Coaches, however, control so much, that when some one has a coaching record like Darth Hoodie, there really is no debate as to his greatness. So that brings us to Tony Dungy's place in history. His regular season numbers are unparrelled among active coaches, and another Super Bowl would elevate him to a new stratosphere. But how does he compare to Belichick?

I think the argument can be made that if Bill's gamble to remake his team as a pass happy deep ball club, who takes no rest during the regular season results in a 19-0 season, it will be the greatest coaching accomplishment in history. If, however, bad weather, old legs that plowed through one too many meaningless games and fourth quarters, and a one dimensional club leads to him getting beat in the playoffs, this season will go down as one of the poorest in terms of decision making in recent history. If the Pats lose and the Colts win the Super Bowl, strong arguments can be formed that Dungy will have surpassed Belichick as the preeminent coach in the NFL. If the Pats win out, that question is very clearly decided.

Demond Sanders: I think people may look back and wonder why the Pats thought they could so easily replace Corey Dillon's 13 touchdowns in 2006. If they slip up the question will be asked over and over. I guess Belichick thought Sammy Morris could play a big role, but he got hurt. Maroney's play is going to be one of the more interesting storylines in January. Maybe he'll pull a JD Drew and actually surprise us in the postseason, but I doubt it.

To address your point about Dungy and Belichick, I think there are a number of legacy issues that are about to be decided. Colts vs Pats. Moss vs Harrison (vs. Owens?). Manning vs Brady. This decade will be defined by what takes place.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I feel like I'm running out of things to say, because I spend so much energy responding to our good friends with the weird accents in the comments section. As my confidence about this season grows each time I watch the Pats and Colts play, the hilarity of how this season will end rises. I've noticed around that some people are starting to question the validity of the argument that the Pats can't run and the Colts can. This argument was obviously most effective after the Pats and Colts played, and Joe Addai clearly rushed the ball more consistently. The Colts largely held down the Pats run game despite having major injuries at linebacker. The stats didn't reflect it so much (Addai had a carry that went for -9 yards as Charlie Johnson began his game changing implosion), but everyone who saw that game could see that the Colts ran better against NE than NE ran against the Pats.

Unfortunately, something major changed since then. Indy spent most of the next 6 weeks struggling to run as they lost first Tony Ugoh and then Ryan Diem. Of course, both of these guys are expected to be back (Ugoh already is) for the playoffs. The scores of wounded recievers and linemen slowed down the run game temporarily. In the meantime, the Patsies beefed up against the Jets and Dolphins (who are terrible against the run). Thus, some chowder heads have begun to feel overconfident by looking at season stats about running. Hey, they say, we run better than the Colts. No, you don't. The Pats cannot run as effectively as a HEALTHY Colts team (which we'll have in January). Stats without context are meaningless. Any idiot can put up a list averages and think it means something.

Oddly enough, one of the stats helping the Pats rushing numbers has been Tom Brady. Because they run so many deep patterns, Brady has been able to scramble much more effectivley this season. He has 33 attempts for 102 yards. Manning has 20 attempts for -5 yards. These numbers factor into a team's rushing stats and skew the true averages.

Remember, that this only matters in bad weather games. The Pats would be crazy to run, when they can pass so well. But they are crazy to have a deep lob passing offense when they play in New England. That's just stupid. It's going to kill them in the end.

All that was a long set up to say, "Hey, check out these links!"

DJ Gallo does his best PK. Funny stuff
The FO DVOA conversation may look like alphabet soup, but never ceases to interst me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

to you all. Peace on earth. Even in New England ;)

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Links

Check out this hilarious column from Sportsline's Mike Freeman. This reeks of a journalist who flew to Foxborough to write a glowing piece about New England at all costs. It didn't matter that the actual game was unimpressive and that the 22-point underdog Dolphins moved the ball on New England and probably should have had one or two more touchdowns. How was Lemon's ball not over the pylon? It didn't matter that Tom Brady looked like a one note passer winging the ball 50 yards downfield hoping to set an NFL record for the most Hail Marys in a season. It didn't matter that Brady threw two picks and could easily have had one or two more. It didn't matter that Brady most likely choked away the record for best passer rating in a season against the 1-13 Dolphins. None of that mattered.

Don Banks breaks down each team's odds of beating the Pats.

CHFF has to admit that Brady's season, while great, isn't really the best of all time. Well they don't go quite that far, but they ought to.

FO asks many of the same questions about Tommy's season that we have been.

We'll try to add more links later (maybe some of them will actually be about the Colts), but let me leave you with a question: Some experts are saying that Coughlin and the Giants should rest players against the Pats next week, and I have to agree. But is it a good thing to head into the playoffs knowing you just allowed two of the most famous NFL records to be broken in your own stadium? Just asking.

DZ Comments: 18 Plays is up. It's a bit shorter this week, and doesn't actually cover 18 Plays, because well, that game didn't really mean much. It will be our last offering of the regular season.

My announcing highlight of the day last night was Nantz talking about the Patriots run at the most points ever by a team. He comments, "Randy Moss was on that Vikings team that set the record too", as if it was a fun fact only coincidentally related to the record. Um, he's the reason, Jimmy. It's ALL about him.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Colts 38 - Texans 15

Colts/Texans In Game blog

With Demond escorting his wife, Dontrell, and my sister to the game today, it falls upon me to blog this game. For those who care, we will be trying to do our final regular season 18 Plays tonight. We'll talk some about today's game, and some about last week's tilt.

My opinion of the "Manning's Mind" commercial is changing. I found it weird and annoying for most of the season, but I've heard multiple people reference it when describing what QBs are thinking. I've joked about it myself on 18 Plays. I don't know how useful it is for selling cell phones, but it may be one of those long remembered ads that gets referenced for for some time.

This interview with Belichick is bizarre. Grilling him over a fist pump? Seriously, Armen?

Even after flaming out in the league, I'm still alive in my other league, and playing the #1 seed. He has Wayne and Clark. I have Gonzo. I like my chances. I imagine AG will play the whole game no matter what. Reggie? I'm not so sure.

Did I just hear that Thomas isn't even playing? HA. Is Cory Simon available?

  • The LBs didn't hold the gaps well on that drive. I think we are going to give up 40+ today. There are just too many players out.
  • Don't be surprised if this is Manning's only drive of the game. I don't think the team is going to take this one very seriously.
  • Gotta love when your starting DE fields a KO. Can you imagine Freeney returning kicks?
  • Colts season ticket holders had to pay for 10 games this year. They got exactly 6 meaningful ones. Of those 6, 3 were close and 3 were blowouts. That's 3 good games for the price of 10.
  • Hey, the stretch play is back! It's been a while.
  • It's good to see the Colts running on downs other than first and 10. They are also running wide more than they did last week. A bad throw by Manning kills the drive, but it was still a good drive for rhythm's sake.
  • The D was much more disciplined this time through and forced a punt. It'll be interesting to see if Peyton plays beyond this quarter.
  • Addai stops our hearts but looks fine. That last sentence was seriously gay sounding. It might influence how long guys play today.
  • Run game? Fine. Check.
  • Sweet pass to Reggie to end the quarter. I think we've seen enough to feel good about the offense. Let's finish this drive and pack it in.


  • KEITH CATCHES A BALL. That's tomorrow's headline in the Star.
  • Kid Joe comes back just long enough to score. Boo yah. Seriously. Let's call it a week.
  • From the little I can see, I think this stays a catch. They haven't showed a slo mo yet, but it looked like it just grazed the ground while under Daniel's possession. Yup, I'm right.
  • Big drop by Daniels (nice hands, big man). Houston should go for it. Why? Why not. Doesn't hurt anything long term, and says to the Colts that you're game.
  • Rushing calls another FC inside the 10. Seriously man. Plant your feet at the 10 and DON'T MOVE BACKWARDS.
  • Wonderful. I love watching Manning get sacked and personal fouled (is that a verb). I'm for pulling the starters.
  • That throw to Utech was sick. I think Manning wants 4000 yards for the season. He's got 143 so far, so he needs about 200 more in the next week and a half.
  • Great RAC by Clark. Again, everything I write today sounds vaguely dirty.
  • So much for my hopes that AG would outpace Clark and Wayne. At least I have AV. That's good for an extra point.
  • A stupid penalty erases a good special teams stop. Gotta love it.
  • Sage Rosenfelds just got his brain eaten.
  • Manning is soooo sharp today. He missed a pass in the first quarter for a first down, and it's like he's pissed about it.
  • Manning nails my fantasy coffin shut with another TD to Clark. This team looks amazing right now.
  • Peyton hits 30 TD passes again. He is now less than 200 yards from 4000. Seems like he's intent on getting it.
  • Tony is UPSET about the Jackson PF call. I can't wait to see what happens with that this week.
  • The D plays with great pride and picks up MJax. The Zombie makes a big hit and the Texans wuss out by punting. Seriously, how about trying to win?
  • Meanwhile around the league: Cleveland is not a good team. Don't be fooled. They are one dimensional, and that dimension won't work in January.
  • Ok, I'm putting this blog to bed. If the starters come out and play in the 2nd half, I'll write more. If not, I'm done.


  • Yikes, we are still rolling with the starters. I guess they just really want to be ready. This feels like a statement game. It also feels like Manning is a lock for 4000. He only needs 98 more yards. He might get it today at this rate.
  • Geeze, running the end around to Clark is high comedy. It's like Peyton is intent on destroying my fantasy season.
  • Many congrats to Clifton Dawson. This team looks simply awesome right now.
  • It seems like there have been major substitutions on defense. I think we've officially entered garbage time.
  • Nice play by Sessions. I love the comment that the Texans are more competitive when they have balance. I think they are more competitive when Bob Sanders isn't in the game. As I type this Giordano gets another pick. High comedy ensues here in Nap town.
  • Manning is still in? I guess this is just a glorified practice anyway. Still, it's nice to watch the run game flourish.
  • TD Wayne. Yawn. Ok. That's it. Please?

Well, I think we are all proud and amazed by this team today. The defense could have just folded up tent, but they never did. Guys played with serious verve and passion. The offense was sharp in all phases. In short, this was as complete and dominant a win as I've seen from this team. Good job boys.

Things NOT Overheard at Tonight's Pacers' Game

1. Wow, those Wizards unis are sharp.
2. Tinsley town? That sounds like a great place for kids!
3. I love Troy Murphy's game.
4. Man, this place is electric tonight!
5. 8 bucks for a basket of chicken strips? What a steal!
6. Have you logged onto recently?
7. Where can I get a David Harrison jersey?
8. Why haven't they retired Stipos number?
9. What this game really needs is a crazy fan to run onto the court!
10. I love this team!

Seriously, folks. It was depressing tonight. I know I've been out of the country for awhile, but who killed my team while I was gone?

A. Ron Artest
B. Jamaal Tinsley
C. Peyton Manning

The thing about going to games when Reggie was playing, is that every time he touched the ball it was an event. In the 90s, when I first started going on my own with my friends in high school, MSA was jumping. The team was good, and the crowd was loud. Even after the peak years, we had all seen Reggie do so many great things that it was an honor to be watching him. Every three, every layup reminded us of the night he lit up the Garden, shocked the Bulls, or tried to will us home against New Jersey. This was my first post-Reggie Pacers' game (again, I've been gone for three years, so cut me some slack), and the house was dead. Demond, official 18to88 brother-in-law Dontrell, and I spent the first half hour mocking nearly everything. Especially Troy Murphy. Why is he playing over Jeff Foster? He had one of the ugliest near double-doubles ever. He's like Rik Smits if Rik had sucked. It was either mock everything or give into the depression of seeing a half full house pull for a seriously flawed team beating down a bunch of guys in fracking pajamas (for reasons I don't care to go into, we've been watching Battlestar Galactica. You already knew I was geek, don't dwell on it now). Still there were good things:

1. Danny Granger, um, build around this guy
2. Kareem Rush is seriously close to being dependable
3. Mike Dunleavy plays really hard despite being burdened with an extra vowel.
4. JO acts like he really cares about winning.

Oh, and the trivia question answer? It's C. Peyton Manning and the Colts have made it impossible for Indy fans to accept anything less than a title contender who stays out of the headlines. 42-40 won't cut here anymore the way it would have back in 1988.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


I can't believe the Reds dealt Josh Hamilton. Look I know Cincy needs pitching, but letting Hambone go for anything less than Bedard is a mistake. Hamilton was an energizing player for the fanbase. I never missed his at bats. I bought his jersey. It looks like Edson Volquez has good stuff, but how do you trade a kid who just posted an OPS of .922 in his first full season of ORGANIZED ball in years? Oh, he has a cannon too. I realize he's 26 and a health/injury risk, but he was loaded with talent and had made good on it. Jay Bruce had better be a beast, or I'll be sick over this one for years. It feels like when the Reds dealt Paul O'Neill.

I can't believe the Pacers crapped out tonight. I should have titled this post "Pacer Poop". Frustration will work though.

So some chick named Lorena Ochoa won AP Female athlete of the year. I confess that of the top 10 vote getters I had heard of exactly three. I love latin culture, and I'm thrilled that a mexicana won, but it was shocking to me how utterly in the dark I am about women's sports. I knew Venus Williams, Justine Hennine, and think Candance Parker plays basketball on some level. I had zero clue who the other ladies were. Oh yeah, and I knew the chick who won the other AP Athlete of the year award.

That was an insanely long set up for that joke.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bored out of my mind

Other than wondering if Fred Taylor will have no motivation to play hard the rest of the season now that he's going to the Pro Bowl (a question just as stupid as the one that naturally preceded it in the previous days), I'm bored with the NFL. We are working on a couple of things to fill the tedium, but for the meantime these links are half decent.

Demond Sanders: Gary Danielson spews forth inanity. If that's a word. I could never be bored with the NFL. If such a thing were possible it would have occured during the Steelers game last night. Yet, I watched almost the entire game. The AFC playoffs are going to be fascinating. I'm just hoping the Pats end up with either San Diego (the Chargers hates them with the fire of a thousand suns) or Jacksonville (the Jaguars might just be dumb enough to pull off the upset).

The Steelers victory over they Rams probably sealed the playoff order of 3. Chargers 4. Steelers 5. Jaguars 6. Browns. As far as I can tell this is a good thing, though you never know for sure. The Pats should be good enough to beat any of them, but you'd like them to get an opponent who will wear them out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pacer Pride

With nothing real to talk about on the Colts front (what? you don't want to hear more Brady/Manning stuff? Lord knows I don't), let's give a shout out to the Blue and Gold. I plan on taking in Saturday night's game in person, and I'm excited about it. This team has become fun to watch and the tastefully named Mike Dunleavy has been way better than I think any of us could have guessed. 14-12 is nothing to jump up and down about, but the team seems to be playing better. They still lack the go to guy who can take the last shot, but hey, Reggie Miller isn't walking through that door anytime soon (I still miss him). After a lackluster defensive effort early last night, the Pacers showed that maybe they can play just a tad of D. It is worrisome to see the foul differential between the Pacers and their opponents. It says that they aren't very physical on the inside offensively. If the jump shots aren't falling, they struggle.

Kravitz threw down the gauntlet with them today, but it seems a tad misguided. He claims the team won't make the playoffs (or that he's not convinced they will), but the odds seem pretty good. John Hollinger's playoff odds page on ESPN likes the Pacers, and even says that if they played this season 1000 times, the Pacers would win the title...once.

It could be worse, we could still have Isiah as coach.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cat Cries

The Jholes and their fans are hopping mad. They think that Fred Taylor was shafted. For some reason, the their ire has centered on Joe Addai instead of on Willie Parker, who despite leading the NFL in rushing (due in large part to his league high carry totals), has questionable value. I realize that Taylor has put together four good games in a row (after 10 mediocre ones), but as we delineated the other day, this really shouldn't be an issue. Taylor isn't good enough. He's a part time back who rips off a few big runs and lots of empty ones. He is made better by splitting carries with MJD.

Some have intimated that Dwight Freeney wasn't deserving of his status as #1 vote getter in the AFC. That's true of course, since he hasn't played for about six weeks now. He was, however, having a tremendous season before he got hurt, and the pass rush has suffered without him (though in fairness it's impossible to get a read on this defense when it's constantly without multiple starters). I'm not defending the fans, mind you, they should have stopped voting for him when he went down. That's not his fault, though.

Who would ever have thought the Colts would win the Super Bowl and get FEWER players sent to the Pro Bowl. Glenn's retirement and Freeney's injury stole two who would have been rubber stamped in, but it's still interesting what a sham the whole thing is.

One Boston commenter questioned Manning's selection in a Boston paper (just some idiot not worth linking to). Really? He's got better numbers this year than Tommy ever had. If Manning doesn't belong, then Brady never did till now.

I'm still mad about Gary Brackett. He's the MVP of this team this season.

The Chargers have 9 Pro Bowlers? Norv Turner must be the worst coach ever...oh wait...

I know it's sort of a boring topic, but week 16 of the NFL is typically this way for these Colts. Nothing to talk about until the playoffs. And you know what? That's not a bad thing.

CHFF may be nasty, but they are not wrong about Gary Brackett. I also appreciate them not tooting the Fred Taylor horn.

Michael Smith is dead on about Dungy. We've been saying it all year, but it's nice to get the echo.

Demond Sanders: Thanks to anonymous for posting this great article about the MVP award. Can't I say I agree with the author's final conclusion, but I appreciate the research and outside-the-box thinking. Lemmings is indeed an appropriate word for most NFL experts. Manning has been great this season, but, unlike past seasons, he hasn't been the only glue keeping the Colts together. Guys like Gary Brackett, Bob Sanders, Raheem Brock, Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, and obviously Tony Dungy deserve a lot of the credit as well. I think it would be disingenuous to argue that anyone besides Moss or Brady deserves the MVP. The truth is Manning is much more interested in matching Brady's second Super Bowl MVPs.

Deshawn Replies: I believe in consistency when it comes to arguments. I thought that Manning deserved the MVPs he won over fools who wanted Brady to win with vastly inferior numbers, and I'm not going to play that game this time. I agree with the author that Moss is more valuable than Brady this year, and I believe Manning to be more valuable to than Brady as well, but would not vote it that way, because my belief is not proof. My NFL MVP Ballot would read:

1. Moss
2. Gary Brackett (SHUT UP! I LOVE HIM)
3. Brady
4. Manning
5. Favre
6. LT (the Chargers would be LOST without him)

In a vacuum, I think Manning is both better and more valuable than Brady (even this year), but in the real world, I believe stats have to count for something, so in the name of consistency, I'll put him ahead this season. Ultimately, however, the Moss factor cannot be over estimated. If the Pats replace Moss with any other receiver in football, no matter how good, Brady would return his typical 90 rating with 25/15 and 3800 yards. As the weather has neutralized Moss, we've seen Brady's numbers start to slip. If he was not present at all, they'd fall back to where they've always been.

Has it really come to this? Arguing Manning and Brady again? Ugh. January can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The NFL's Pro Bowl rosters were announced today. Guess what? There are no Jaguars on it. The media just can't imagine how no Jaguars made the team. They argue that the Jags had strong cases for both QB David Garrard and RB Fred Taylor. Both Peyton Manning and Joseph Addai of the Colts made the roster at those positions. Pete Prisco thinks Taylor should have gone instead of Addai. He's very wrong. Addai has 10 more touchdowns than Taylor and 30 more receptions. He also leads Taylor in total yards by more than 200. Most importantly his team swept the Jags this season. Nice try, Pete.

Congrats to Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Bob Sanders, Peyton Manning, and Joseph Addai. Pretty good day for the Colts. Although you could argue that the Indy defense deserved more representation. Gary Brackett and the entire secondary deserve recognition for their performance.

Deshawn Zombie Comments: I've had it. I'm boycotting the Pro Bowl. That's right. I won't be going to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl. Gary Brackett has been dominant this year causing 9 interceptions. If a DB had done this, they'd be calling him an All Pro. Brackett is a far bigger snub than any of the Jholes. We already delineated how Taylor is not one of the three best RBs in the AFC (although neither is Willie Parker). How does the number two defense in football only have one Pro Bowl player? Brackett has been there warring every week in a year when guys have been going down left and right.

So take that NFL. I won't go to Hawaii!

On a side note: for those interested in Christmas gifts, check out these products from Cold Hard Football Facts. This page is actually worth looking at (gasp!).

Road to XLI

I've been watching the Road to XLI DVD set, and it's sort of making me sad. Watching Freeney and McFarland play again is awesome. It's a little hard to accept how amazing this team would have been if they hadn't gotten hurt. I've also noticed how well Keiaho and others played. Seriously, how did anyone who knew anything about football think the Colts were going to miss the Junes and Davids of the world? Marlin Jackson was laying wood. Freddy Keiaho was playing great down near the goal line.

One of the big things that hadn't occurred to me, but now seems obvious is that the Colts have stopped running the stretch play in recent weeks. When both of your tackles are hurt, it's hard to run wide. Last night on his radio show, Polian said that the state of the Colts line had them thinking it would be tough to run against the Raiders, so there's the answer to that question. From what I understood about Ugoh's injury, it had left him without full feeling in his right arm, and that it was going to take some time to get his strength back. That coupled with Charlie Johnson's consistently poor level of play has left the Colts without one of the staples of their offense.

I find it amazing that this collection of fill-ins and undrafted free agents not only has gone 12-2, but is 2 dropped TDs from being undefeated. I still think this is the best team in football, and if not for the injuries we'd be talking about them in historic terms. It's funny how different this year feels from last year. Listening to Collinsworth drone on about the Colts playoff problems was hilarious. The confidence that come from having won is invaluable.

It was also amazing to see how good AV was. I remembered the 5 FGs in Baltimore, but the three at the start of the KC game were huge. His 50 yarder before halftime really lifted the team.

At this point in the season, there isn't much left to talk about. The Colts' situation is simple: get healthy or go home. Fortunately, we have three weeks before our next meaningful game to heal up.

Oh yeah, one more Mitchell report note: isn't it interesting that the only one really denying the allegations is Clemens (oh, and Bonds I suppose)? Meanwhile, a stream of guys come forward and say things like, "Yeah, I bought steroids but...I didn't use them. It was only HGH. I was injured. It was just one time." Sounds like the Mitchell report evidence isn't quite as shaky as some pundits would have liked us to believe.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why not run?

Let's take a look at the Colts run selection yesterday:

Drive one: 3 runs (0 yards) all on 1st and 10, 6 passes
Drive two: 1 run (1 yard) on 1st and 6, 10 passes (I'm counting Manning's scramble as a pass)
Drive three: 1 run (4 yards) on 2nd and 1, 4 passes
Drive four: 1 run (5 yards) on 1st and 10, 2 passes
Drive five: 3 runs (8 yards) on 1st and 10, 1st and 1, 2nd and 1, 6 passes
Drives six and seven: NO runs, 7 passes
Drive eight (lone TD drive): 4 runs (18 yards) on 1st and 10, 2nd and 1, 1st and 10, 3rd and 1, 7 passes
Drive nine (kill the clock): 4 runs (20 yards). The last two runs were almost more of kneel downs as the goal was to run just a couple of extra seconds and then go down.

We can complain about the lack of production, but it seems to me that this indicates a lack of commitment to the run game. The Colts did not run except on extremely obvious run downs (1st down or 2nd or 3rd and 1). They got in one of those streaks where Manning forgets to call run plays on 2nd and 6. Again, the line play was horrible most of the day yesterday, so it's hard to know who to blame. I don't think Addai looks tired, but I do question exactly how healthy Ugoh and Scott are. These rest weeks couldn't come at a better time.

Here's today's running links:

Clark Judge doesn't think the Colts can win in NE. His reasoning? They play in a dome. Seriously? That's your analysis? You could pick any reason: injuries, style of play, whatever. And you pick "they play in a dome"? Hmmm, maybe you should read

ARod and Scott Boras have had a falling out. Listen, I know that celebrity interviews are about as credible as Vic Ketchman at a MENSA convention, but I found ARod's comments about taking charge of his life to be very positive. It's tough for these guys to break with their agents. I'm glad he did.

I know it's a little weird, but this has really been the limit of coverage. I can't remember a time when a defending Super Bowl Champ went 12-2, won it's division, had a top 5 offense and the number 2 defense and got less attention than this Colts team. It's kind of funny. And wonderful. Under the radar, baby. Under the radar. By the way, there is an interesting discussion of the above points going on in the comments section. I think I've made some clarifications to my above arguments that should illuminate the topic. Be sure to check it out.

Almost as if to prove my point, the only way to read about the Horse is to check out this horror show of a list. In a list of some of the worst teams in NFL history, the Colts take three of the top 8 slots. Ugh. I went to games in everyone of those seasons. In fact, the 1986 Bills game was my first ever Colts game. All I can remember about those days is that everyone called them the Dolts and the acronym C.ount O.n L.osing. T.his S.unday was popular.

I was listening to the Jets win in 1991 on the radio. I was working with my dad on a Sunday afternoon, and we were celebrating.

The '97 team was the first year that we purchased our own tickets (we were paying for an aunt's tickets who had moved to CA for many years before that). That Green Bay win is listed on our Greatest Colts Wins list.

Man, did we ever deserve that Super Bowl.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Raiders Post-Game

Big come from behind win for the Colts today. The Colts have won the AFC South and clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. If ever there was a year when the Colts could use a break it is this year. Although some will argue that the Colts have quite a few offensive kinks to hammer out before January 13th.

1.) The Colts will finish the regular season with a 7-1 record on the road. The 4-4 record on the road last year left a bad taste in Dungy's mouth. They have re-established themselves as a mentally tough team, and this is a great sign for the playoffs. Perhaps I don't need to mention how close they were to a perfect road record.

2.) Very strange game on offense. The Colts didn't look like themselves. After having a touchdown reversed that would have given them a 17 point lead they looked out of sync. The offensive line did a poor job of pass blocking and run blocking. It didn't help that the Colts completely abandoned the run in the second half. Bizarre.

3.) It is never a bad idea to run the ball on the goal line. If it fails, try it again. Odds are you will bang it in eventually. The pass on fourth down was inane. The pass later in the game on third down wasn't any better.

4.) You're killing me, Dallas Clark. 1 catch for 9 yards is not going to get it done in January.

5.) Joseph Addai will be fine. He's the same player. When they need him to pick up yards in the fourth quarter he was clutch. This includes a huge 2 point conversion. He also chipped in with five catches.

6.) It never hurts when your opponent is willing to concede three drives by inserting a rookie at quarterback.

7.) This was not unlike the last game that featured a Colts punt return for a touchdown. The Colts also beat the Jaguars 21-14, in a contest that featured long bruising drives by the opposing team.

8.) Kick coverage is still horrible. Oakland's last ditch drive was set up with a nice return. The Raiders were an ankle tackle away from their own punt return for a touchdown.

9.) Great game winning drive. 11 plays, 91 yards. Brilliant one-handed effort by Reggie Wayne. The chemistry between Manning and Gonzalez is starting to gel. Great job of cutting his route short on the game-winner.

10.) The Colts won despite not getting a sack, interception, or fumble recovery from the defense. That's tough to do in the NFL. Still, I was proud of them for bringing it despite the injuries. Freddy Keiaho had a great game. The Colts' chances for a repeat rides on the play of this unit.

DZ Comments:

  • I was continually frustrated by Manning checking away from the run so much. I realize that in a game of inches, this game was about two inches from being a blowout, so I'm not going to be too harsh. I still felt like the lack of a run game had more to do with choosing not to run than not being able to run. I think that was poor planning. In the fourth quarter, the Colts ran 7 times for 40 yards (not counting the last two plows into the line as they tried to kill the clock). I'm just not sure why the commitment wasn't there the rest of the game.
  • Dallas Clark's hands are going to give me a heart attack.
  • The line play was not strong, which worried me. It seemed like there was pressure up the middle and blitzes not getting picked up. I'd have to see the tape to know who was at fault.
  • Clutch road wins over feisty clubs with fired up fans are tough anyway, and the Colts really handled the gut check of the Raiders taking the lead fairly well.
  • The makeshift d-line was very solid. The Raiders had a lot of rushing yards, but the YPC wasn't great (3.8), so that's a win for those guys up front. Randy Cross mentioned before the game that the Colts D line included just one drafted player (rookie Dawson was picked in the 7th round). Not enough pressure, but they held their own against the run.
  • AG is really starting to look comfortable.
  • Demond complained the whole game that he was he heard that Rhodes was going to get touches, and at one point had changed Eyes to reflect that, but was tired, so he left my original comment. He was mad about it. As it turned out, it wasn't one of our better Eyes in terms of accuracy. I'm still shocked we didn't run the ball more.
  • Big win for the Jhole Kitties. They managed to almost choke it away, but in the end, it came down to the fact that Pittsburgh really isn't that great a team David Garrard was seriously pimped out at his press conference. Now there is a serious chance the Jags will have to go back to Pittsburgh in three weeks. I'm not sure if I like their chances in a rematch if Palamalu plays.
  • The entire AFC South is at .500 or better
  • Once again, the Pats win, and a win is a win. Still, don't anyone feed me crap about Larry Marooney getting 100 yards. The Pats managed 3.7 YPC against one of the 5 worst run Ds in the league. Color me very unimpressed. Of course the Colts played the worst run D and didn't run it so, who knows? Oh, and didn't we say it would get a lot harder to throw the ball after the weather turned cold? Since November started Brady's been under 100 in passer rating in 4 of 6 games after going over 105 each one of the first 8 weeks. I guess he's really just a Sunshine Superman who beats up on weak competition when the weather is good. If you don't get the moronic reference, never mind. It's not worth your time.
  • Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe called Tom Brady's season this year, "The greatest statistical season we've ever seen". Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't, but unless he gets 5 TDs on the Dolphins, there will be a serious argument about that. He also dropped below Manning's record passer rating for the season. He may still pass those numbers, but it is no gimme. Manning sat for basically 7 quarters in 2004. Brady has the same number of attempts through 14 games that Manning had through '16'. He's behind Manning in yards, TDs, and rating through the same number of attempts. Just pointing this out.
  • Dallas is fading at the wrong time. If they aren't careful, they'll wind up at Lambeau in late January.

Road Warriors

Colts 21 - Raiders 14

Buzzer Beater

Eyes in the Backfield is up! I'm a little surprised we got it done, as family obligations and computer problems for Demond kept us from having a ton of time to work on it, but it's up. Here's a preview for interested parties:

The only thing I love more than blowouts its playing games that barely count because we've clinched. Technically, this week's game means a little bit, but a win would put the regular season to bed. This week be ready to:

1. Watch the pregame introductions. Or else you’ll have no hope of knowing who is playing for the Colts on defense. Without any of the normal guys starting on the D line, the Colts are playing up to four rookies at once. Yikes.

Also, for those who don't read the comments sections, here are a couple of good links by the readers today:

Dom Rhodes and Warren Sapp talk about #18. Does it sound to anyone else like Sapp wants to play in Indianapolis?

Here's one that made my day: Edge got a ring from the Colts. How awesome is that? We all love Edge around here, and valued his time with the club. I think it was incredibly classy to include him in all of this.

I was also relieved to see that Andy Pettitte manned up and explained his HGH use. Pettitte's name was one of the ones that most upset me, because his life was supposed to be about higher things. I don't think his excuse was good enough to excuse breaking the law, but like Rodney Harrison, he 'fessed up. We joke about Harrison because it's fun to bug Pats fans, but think he did right by being honest. Same with Pettitte. All the abusers should come clean and tell their stories and give the fans a chance to forgive them. Stonewalling behind lawyers and lies won't help. Just ask Pete Rose. It only makes people bitter when the truth comes out.

Our status for the game blog is up in the air. We will both be at a goodbye party for some close friends moving to Costa Rica, so I don't know it'll happen or not. I'm out for sure, but Demond is a game blog warrior, so stay tuned. . .

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Probowl running backs

It occurred to me that this might become a problem when I read Pete Prisco's 'real probowl' team. Pete did a questionable job (re: no Gary Brackett), but did recognize several Colts (Manning, Wayne, Sanders, Saturday, Hayden and praised Bethea as well). His real mistake was at the running back position where his gives the sentimental nod Fred Taylor. Taylor, the ultimate definition of mediocrity, has been getting some press for hitting 10,000 yards without ever making the Pro Bowl (a game where often three or four backs per CONFERENCE play). He picks Taylor over Joe Addai for the last slot, which surely would please Freddy since he said before the season that he was clearly the better back. I think it's time to look at the backs in the AFC, since I'm sure Prisco won't be the only one to make this mistake. Here's a list of the top several backs in the AFC:

-----------------Yards Carries YPC TDs Rec Yards TDs
Willie Parker --1217---306----4.0---2--21--155----0
Tomlinson -----1195---265----4.5---12--56--508---3
Wil. McGahee 1093---260---4.2---7---42--229---1
Joe Addai ------975----236----4.1---11--34--318---3
Fred Taylor ----944----191----4.9---3---9---58-----0
Jamal Lewis ----921----218----4.2---9--23--194---2
Justin Fargas ---920----196----4.7---3--22--181---0

From this chart, I think we can plainly see that Taylor is explosive, but ultimately a very one dimensional back. We all know he splits carries with Maurice Jones-Drew, as reflected by his low touch down numbers. While he has a high YPC, he lacks almost any other conventional stat commend him. He has only scored 3 TDs, and his receiving numbers are laughable. In fact, Justin Fargas of the Raiders has a BETTER resume for the Pro Bowl than Taylor.

If we use unconventional stats, such as the footballoutsiders DVOA or DPAR, we find Taylor ranked 10th IN THE AFC in DPAR (behind even Kenton Keith in DPAR!). Joe Addai? Third in the NFL behind Westbrook and LT. In VOA, which is a per play measure, Taylor rates a 0.0%, which basically means he is the PINNACLE of average.

I think this list essentially shows that LT, Joe Addai, and Willis McGahee offer the best combination of yards, YPC, TDs, and receiving yards. Willie Parker has big yards, but has been a joke in terms of actual production (if you think Freddy T's FO numbers are bad, check out Fast Willie's!).

Prisco essentially picked two backs of very questionable worth over one of the truly feared all around weapons in the NFL.

Going blind

Eyes is some kind of intermediate state, and I have no idea if we'll get it up or not (it's been a long, full week). There is, however, some good, half written stuff that will make an appearance at some point or another. For now, satisfy yourself with this TREMENDOUS article from the footballoutsiders. I swear, these guys run the best site on the web.

Friday, December 14, 2007

YouTube rules

You can find whatever you need.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MITCHELL! Wakama wakama...

Anyone ever see that episode of MST3K? No? Just me? Crap. Never mind then.

I've been busy all day, but did manage to hear the press conference and I have some reactions:
  • I'm furious. I am a real baseball fan. I traveled hours to watch McGwire and Bonds. I feel like they cheated me. I knew McGwire used andro (which was legal both in the USA and in baseball), but would never have gone to see him if I thought he was dirty. Maybe I was naive, but I was barely 20. I had played high school and college baseball and never once heard of steriods in the game at those levels. I'm sick that I ever rooted for the Rocket.
  • The problem with steroid users is that they broke the law. They endangered their own health, put pressure on others to use (just so they could compete and keep their jobs), defrauded the fans, and set a horrible example for youth. I would LOVE for every user to be exposed, humiliated as a cheater and a fraud, and have to answer for their actions.
  • I can't figure out what 'evidence' people want. First person testimony from a distributor who has receipts and checks from players IS real evidence.
  • George Mitchell is unimpeachable character-wise. I'm not concerned with the 'apparent conflict of interest'. This is a dude who helped broker peace in Ireland. I doubt very seriously if he's going to sell his soul to cover for the owners.
  • Here's the thing about the argument that the owners are to blame for being slow to act: 1. it's true they were slow to act 2. So what? The impetus was on the players not use. IT WAS A FELONY. Purchasing illegal steroids was a crime. Just because someone is willing to pay you money and not ask how you do the job doesn't lower your responsibility. There is ALWAYS an easy way out in life. Lying, cheating, and stealing are easy and always options. Every individual has to make the right choice in life. And no, there's isn't just a right choice "for me and my life". When a player chose willingly to use illegal drugs, they said to society, "Screw you. Screw the kids who look up to me. Screw the greats who have gone before me. All I care about is my life and my ability to make money. I'm going to break the law."
  • If Big Mac, Bonds and Clemens make the HoF, so should Rose. Look, what Pete did was reprehensible. It was illegal, irresponsible and wrong. But 1. it didn't take place while he was playing and 2. it didn't change games. These cheaters conspired to alter SEASONS of baseball. They broke the law and changed batting titles, HR races, Cy Young awards, and championships. It makes me sick.
  • I'm glad the report is out there. I do blame the players and the MLBPA for perpetuating the system and resisting change. The onus is on them to show they want to clean up the game. I favor blood testing. Is it an invasion of privacy? I think that million dollar contracts played out before publicly funded stadiums is a fair trade for a loss of privacy. You have no right to test my blood for anything. But, if you want to pay me a million dollars (indirectly subsidized by tax money), you have every right to demand it of me.
  • I'm tired of talking heads suggesting that the fans don't care about this. Really? If you think people don't care, then don't talk about it. If they really don't care, why do you drone on and on. Shut up and move on. Otherwise, admit that it matters.

Demond Sanders: I'm glad the report was released. Am I supposed to feel sorry for these players? I laugh at the people, like ESPN's Buster Olney, who argue that you can't keep players out of the Hall of Fame unless you are willing to keep everyone from this era out. That is foolish to me. You can't catch everyone, but the investigation nailed some of them. Punish the ones you netted. Would the police say, "Oh darn we got some of the drug dealers, but we couldn't get all of them. I guess we have to let these guys go free because it wouldn't be fair."