1.) Colts start with the ball at the 35. Ryan Diem is out as expected. Charlie Johnson is at Right Tackle. Addai is hammered for a short loss on the first play. Third down conversion by Gonzalez. Addai has no room to his right. Al Michaels implies that #29 has slowed down because of injuries. I'd blame the line, but it's something to consider. Baltimore has had two injury timeouts so far. Are we seeing after effects from a short week? Gonzalez drops big gainer, but makes amends with another third down catch. Addai is stuffed again. Touchdown Reggie Wayne. Nice little route run parallel with AG on the right side. Don't blitz #18.
2.) Short kick from AV is covered nicely at the 26. The Colts lately have a strategy that requires AV to pin the kick to one side of the field. It works. Ravens get an illegal contact on Gary Brackett. Prevents a three and out. Next play is FUUUUMBLE. Robert Mathis has looked like his active self early on, forcing a fumble. MJax gets a nice return to the 12.
3.) Nice gain by Utecht to set up first and goal. Touchdown Joseph Addai! The Ravens have come out looking like the Ravens. Deep, I know. Colts lead 14-0.
4.) McClain goes down after a 9 yard reception. Third injury to the Ravens in the first seven minutes. The Zombie just ate McGahee's brain. Boller sneaks for the first. Robert Mathis is down, moments after NBC shows the stat pointing out that the Colts are missing 7 starters from their Super Bowl Defense. Thanks guys. Boller is scrambling like crazy tonight. Brackett cleans his clock. You have to make him pay for those runs. McGahee is starting to roll off big runs, but now he is gimpy coming off. GARY BRACKETT MAKES THE BIG PLAY (again). He double clutches a terrible throw from Boller. He rolls fifty yards to the Ravens' 20 yard line.
5.) Touchdown pass to Joseph Addai. Manning's 300th of his career. Guess what football fans? He's the greatest of all time. Little swing pass out of the backfield. Very nice. Colts lead 21-0.
6.) Three and out for the Ravens highlighted by a nice blow up by Bob Sanders of a short pass to the Running Back. Next play is a BLOCKED PUNT. Ball goes sailing into the end zone for a safety. Awesome! Colts lead 23-0.
7.) Colts get good field position off the kick. The O proceeds with a methodical drive featuring short passes and slippery runs by Addai. Their mastery on third down continues on from last week. We could be looking at a whole lot of Jim Sorgi and Kenton Keith if Manning and company can pound this in. Touchdown Joseph Addai. His third of the night. He's the real deal. Are you sweating yet, Pats fans?
8.) Kickoff return for a touchdown by Yamon Figurs, much as I predicted below. Of course, I also predicted a close game, so I can't feel all that good right now. Are you sweating yet, Russ Purnell?
9.) Colts are back on offense leading 30-7. Third and long after a drop by Gonzalez. Punt.
10.) Ravens start at their own 23. Colts need a nice stop to regain the momentum. Third and long after yet another mindless scramble by Boller. Punt.
11.) Big third and 12 conversion by Joseph Addai, following a drop by Clark. The rain is clearly affecting the receivers. Or not. First Career TD for Anthony Gonzalez on a 57 yard bomb. Manning is looking as sharp as we've ever seen him despite very little running game.
12.) More terrible coverage, despite the squib kick. Another pick by Boller. This time its Kelvin Hayden camped underneath Boller's poor effort. The D is on fire tonight, although it is a week too late for my fantasy team. They are clearly responding to the whiny, unwarranted ripping I gave them on our last podcast. Apologies.
13.) It's 4th and 6 late in the second quarter and the Colts face a choice: Try a 47 yard field goal, punt, or go for it up 30 points. It's the second quarter and yet the Colts do the right thing and punt. Smith's ball is downed inside the five after the ball bounces harmlessly off Rushing's face mask. Great effort by Hunter Smith.
14.) Boller scrambles for the first down. For a moment it looked like the Blue might have their second safety of the night. Weird game. Almost another safety as Boller is sacked at the 2. Colts lead 37-7 at halftime.
15.) The only people still interested in this game are a few desperate Patriots fans praying Joseph Addai blows out his knee. Boller fumbles on third down. Colts ball. Touchdown Anthony Gonzalez on a 40 yard bomb from Manning. Big night for the rookie. He's making us all feel a lot better about not having the second greatest receiving in NFL history on the field. Dungy is trying his hardest to get Manning out of the game. I think the lead is safe, Tony. On the other hand, if you leave him in he might catch up to Tom Brady before the night is over.
16.) Ravens are driving inside the five yard line after a couple completions by Boller. Quinn Pitcock gets a one-handed sack bringing up third and goal. Jackson sniffs out a shovel pass to bring up fourth down. Pick by Gary Brackett. More hula dancing from #58. Will someone punch his ticket to Honolulu already? Amazing season for the man from Rutgers.
17.) Sorgi time. This should be entertaining and terrifying at the same time. Clifton Dawson is taking carries. Very interesting. Makes you wonder if they are completely satisfied with Keith's season thus far. I'm not sure how you could be.
18.) Boller is still in. I'm not sure why Billick wouldn't give Troy Smith a few snaps. Al Michaels is raving about The Greatest Game Ever Played. How inappropriate.
19.) The Ravens are pounding the ball on the ground just for kicks. We'll head into the fourth quarter with the score Colts 44 - Ravens 7.
20.) Fourth down and 1. The Ravens take 7 minutes 20 seconds to go 63 yards. Boller abuses Tim Jennings of all people. Not surprisingly, he throws an interception on the 2 point conversion attempt.
21.) Three and out for Sorgi and company. Figurs gets rocked fielding the ensuing punt. Boller and McGahee are still in the game. They get a deep pass interference call. This is a joke. Another fourth down conversion for Boller. The scary thing is the Colts backups look very competitive against the Ravens' starters. Boller gets COLD-COCKED by Darrell Reid. Turnover on downs. Keep in mind this unit is largely made up of the Colts' Special Teamers. And we know how good those guys are. Good night.
DZ Comments: That was the lamest 20 point effort from a team in the history of football. Guess what? This win by the Colts counts basically the same as the Patsies struggles against the Ravens. That is to say, it's worth exactly one win. Style points don't count...but they sure are fun. This was an encouraging win, but it's really hard to know what it means. Let's face it, despite Sanders, Brackett and Manning being perfect tonight, this game is just as much about how Ravens just flat didn't show up.
One final thought, it's always a good sign if I'm eating chicken in the second quarter. I usually don't eat within 5 hours of game time. Tonight, I was having dinner by the 10 minute mark. It's also great to see the bye all but ours.
I love nights like this.