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.


Dan said...

We complain about ESPN, and deservedly so, but the combination of Judge, Prisco and Mike Freeman from CBS Sportsline are nothing short of the media equivalent of the Three Stooges.

Anonymous said...

So based on your analysis of the video, you are saying that Manning consistently misread the Oakland defense?

Or are you saying that if the defense takes away the run, the Colts should continue to run anyway and pick up 0 and 1 yard per carry?

Deshawn Zombie said...

I'm saying that Manning read the D as lined up to stop the run, and therefore didn't run. The problem is that Oakland's D wasn't really good enough to stop the run even when stacked up against it (as evidenced by the 4th quarter production). By getting away from the run, the Colts made themselves one dimentional and open to the pass rush. I don't think that Addai would have had so many 1 and no yard runs had the Colts simply chosen to run it more often. Your assumption is wrong that more runs would have led to more 1 and 0 yard gains. The more they ran the ball, the more effectively they could run. They basically turned the run into a self fullfilling prophecy in the first three quarters by only running sparingly and in very obvious circumstances. They didn't come in with a solid committment to run, which didn't make sense given Oakland's run D struggles. Had they said, "There are 9 in the box, but screw it. We can run on these fools." I think they would have had more success. I especially didn't like the terrible design on the pass plays on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1. I think on both of those plays, you are better off lining up and smashing it in, or at least running a pass play with more than one reciever in it.

Deshawn Zombie said...

To be clear, there are various reasons the Colts might have had for getting away from the run:
1. The didn't want to pound Addai, even tough it would have been effective. It wasn't worth the wear and tear on him to win a basically meaningless game.
2. They were used to checking away from the run after playing two better run Ds the last two weeks.
3. Maybe they didn't have confidence in the line at all given the specific nature of the injuries to Ugoh and Scott that we don't know.

I'm not saying there are no reasons. Nor am I saying that this would have been a good strategy against another team. Why pound the run for 1 yard when you can pass for 7 right? I am saying that against this specific poor run D, pounding the ball would have prooved more successful in the long run than what they chose.

Demond Sanders said...

This is actually a great time to be playing Houston and Tennessee. Two solid teams with competent defenses that should provide a clearer picture of where the offense currently stands. I know this: the Colts are going to have to score touchdowns, not field goals, to advance in the AFC playoffs. Much tougher than last year's slate of teams in my opinion.

Bob M. said...

And the whole world, short of Mrs. Boras, is happy to see Scott Boras get a public black eye.
I live in Seattle and when Boras first took control of A-Rod's career and left Seattle I thought "this guy is a megalomaniac jerk," apparently good at what he does, but a turd. Glad A-Rod wised up. I am a Yankee fan and glad to have A-Rod back. He clearly understands he is not yet a True Yankee (A Jeter-like contributor in October) and knows that is what's missing from his HOF career. He's trying to fix it.

Great point about Manning reading the D and not the season stats--we probably would have done better against Oakland's 9 in the box than Balt's 6 in the box. But he saw what he saw and called the plays he did. Probably an error of judgement for PM. I doubt he'll make the same mistake twice and better to have this happen now than in the playoffs. . BTW, Oakland looked pretty darn competent most of the game; it's not like we were playing a college team.

Anonymous said...

So -- in the 3d Q, Addai has 9 yards on 8 carries and this proves that the Colts should have run the ball more often. Your belief isn't exactly the same as strong evidence.

Sorry, I remain unconvinced by such proof.

The rushing results at the end of the game simply don't prove that they should have run earlier. Remember, you wear out a defense more when you make them pass rush than when they play run defense.

Anonymous said...

Clark says that "the Colts suffer from Dome Syndrome, which tells us that no dome teams have gone to the Super Bowl by playing outdoors." Now, reading his column, I wouldn't be surprised if he started watching the NFL only this year, but there was this game in the playoffs last year in which the Colts were supposed to lose. It was cold. And outdoors. Oh yea! The Ravens game. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

And that's besides the fact that this Colts team, upon any sort of in-depth analysis beyond 'Dome Bad/Outdoor Good', is far better positioned to beat the Pats in the cold than in years past. And vice-versa for the Pats. Truthfully, I would MUCH rather play the AFC Championship game outdoors in Foxborough, if we could just ship Colts fans to the stadium en masse.

Deshawn Zombie said...

"My belief" isn't my evidence. My evidence is that a whole season's worth of rushing numbers against the Raiders is a better indicator of their ability to stop the Colts run game than 8 scattered carries in the first three quarters. You are basing your argument that the Colts couldn't have run against the Raiders on 8 carries. I'm basing mine on two things: the Raiders total rushing stats, and the end result that occurred once the Colts actually decided to rush the ball with some consistency. Obviously, we can't PROOVE what would have happened. I do think that it's a reasonable conclusion that the Colts erred by not running the ball more. It's hard to say that choosing not to run was a winning strategy because it resulted in only 6 points (although I grant you that it did get the ball inside the 5 three times).

jessica said...

Live game blog from yesterdays game and more

Check it out and let me know what u think!


Anonymous said...

How many dropped passes were there?


Deshawn Zombie said...

Dallas Clark had 3 or 4. Off the top of my head, I also recall Utech's ball in the endzone which was a boarderline drop/broken up ball. AG missed an adjustment early, but read it right later in the game and it went for the game winning score. I can't recall any other drops off the top of my head.

Dan said...

Another gem from an ESPN "Expert":

J.B. (Dunmore, PA): Is Tom Brady the most important QB of all the potential playoff teams or is it Peyton Manning (maybe even someone else)?

Doug Kretz: I'd have to go with Brady.. I think the Colts could win most of their games with Sorgi but NE would really struggle Cassel behind center..

HA, HA, HA, HA!!!! Colts could win most of their games with Sorgi at QB. Especially this season with OL and WR problems. Wow...

Andy said...

We should totally trade Jim Sorgi for a couple first round drafts picks, since there's apparently no drop off from Manning.

Bob M. said...

Mo God, Dan, I nearly wet my pants trying to stop the laughter when I read your post.
That's it. My son's Manning jersey goes in the trash tomorrow, unless I can scrape off the 8's and paint on 2's....

Regarding Clark Judge and all those guys, all it takes is a quick read of their reader comments to see whom they are writing for. I like bashing them as a mildly interesting hobby if I have nothing else to do. Like maybe flossing. But really, they are insignificant insects on the windshield of the Colts 2007 season.

Bob M. said...

Also, an amusing "spoiled fan" anecdote about my 7 year-old. He saw the playoff standings on TV yesterday during the game and actually said "11-2, man, we're not doing that well." Maybe he should post on Clark Judge's site.

Another pearl of wisdom from him, who is feeling the pain of Freeney's absence: "Dad, when you got me the Freeney jersey last Christmas, were there other defensive jerseys you could have gotten?" I said probably. "Then why'd you get me 93? Didn't you know he was going to get injured?" I assured him next year would be better for DF and pointed out that he is the leading vote-getter at DE for the pro bowl, meaningless as that is.

Evidence that the typical CBS Sportsline posters are on par in terms of football knowledge and expectations with a first-grader. Actually, I may be insulting my boy.

zac said...

This just in

I was watching PTI and Wilbon just dropped his knowledge that the Jags are the second best team in football. He says we couldn't beat the Jags again in the playoffs if we met, nvm that we have beaten them twice already without once having a full squad.


Deshawn Zombie said...

I'm watching. It's ridiculous. I'm not even convinced the Jags will win their first playoff game. THE STEELERS AREN'T THAT GOOD. We are back to last year, whenever someone beats Pittsburgh, everyone assumes they are good. Blech.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good example of how a strong rooting interest by a journalist of little brain can result in some really stupid writing -- Tom Curran, a former beat writer for the Pats, wrote this for MSNBC:
"• Given the bandwidth, air and ink devoted to the crumbling of the New England Patriots after narrow wins over the Ravens and Eagles, will the same talk of blueprints and exposure follow now that the Cowboys have lost to the Eagles and nearly lost to the Lions (28-27)?"

Gosh, you think he's a little touchy here? Can he really think the media has been disrespecting his beloved Patriots and Tom Brady, his reason for being?

Apparently, a national media fixation with NE's quest to go unbeaten is OK, but the attention is unfair, if they play poorly? What a dumbass! Since the Cowboys have lost twice and aren't in the hunt for 16-0, why would there be as much national interest in stories about whether they can be beaten?


JC said...

It's bizarre rooting for the team everyone HATES.

I've spent my whole life hating the Yankees. I hate the Canadiens too but not like the Yankees.

And not anywhere near the way people hate my beloved football team.

Anonymous said... hula.htm

Bob M. said...

jc, I think you underestimate the sheer magnitude of Yankee hatred out there. As a fan and former season ticket holder (started in the crap season of 94, went into a WS season of 96 before I moved away) I am just as stunned to see guys wearing Yankee garb in Seattle as I am to get bitter, vituperative emails from coworkers who are M's fans, but more significantly, Yankee haters. And I absorb it as my due and acknowledge their jealousy. Try it sometime; it's good to be king. Of course, Yankee hatred is pointless when they are consistently stumbling in the playoffs. Whereas I find Pats resentment perfectly logical right now. A year ago, not so much. My advice: Enjoy the hatred while it lasts. Because nothing lasts forever, and pity is much worse.

Bob M. said...

jc, didn't you get the impression that that cartoon was much rougher on Shula than the Pats? In the context of that piece, the Pats are the victims of his clownish bitterness and living in the past.

Good luck with 16-0, and 17-0, and then 17-1. ;-)

Demond Sanders said...

Wilbon is a moron. I'm hoping the Colts get the Jags again (especially if they have just knocked off the Pats). Nothing would be funnier than a 3 game sweep of a team that swears it is better than you.

zac said...


Seriously. At what point do you look in the mirror as the Jags and say..."maybe we aren't better."

JC said...

The most hatable (but grudgingly respected) team of all time was the 1999 Yankees.

Knoblauch - Roids
Jeter - Tom Brady of baseball
Paul O'Neill - Wanted to fight him
Bernie - Only person that could hit Pedro
Tino - Roids
Posada - Hate him
Brosius - Career clown
Ricky Ledee - Clown
Insert either Justice, Conseco, Ruben Sierra or some other juice-monkey as DH

That team put the fear of God into you.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Paul O'Neal was a warrior. The worst trade the Reds could have made was to dump him for Roberto Kelley. I saw O'Neal hit an opposite field GW HR to beat the Cards 1-0 in 1990 with my Grandfather. I loved Paul O'Neal.