1. The fact that the four major contenders in the AFC South had awful days makes me feel better. NE had the worst day, despite winning. The Jags were the second worst. The Chargers had no excuse to lose their game. All in all, things could be worse.
2. Manning looked fine to me. He moved and threw well. He had a couple of off passes, but mostly played fine.
3. The defense was basically ok. They played with a lot of short fields due to Hester-itis, and other than Bethea (and a linebacker who I'll name later once I see it again) blowing the 50 yard TD run, did about what we've come to expect.
4. Harrison's knee is fine.
5. The Luke is loud. Just as loud as the dome.
6. Freeney looked 100%
7. Basically, this looked like a team that hadn't played any preseason games. The stats on the game were very even despite all the problems, and if Harrison hangs on to the effing ball, the Colts probably win this game.
Now the bad news.
1. The next two games are against better versions of this same team. Better fix some stuff or 0-3 is a real possibility.
2. The WRs were awful. Gonzo, Wayne, and Harrison had great moments but dropped passes, and Harrison screwed the game by fumbling.
3. The O-line was being obliterated. Manning's numbers looked pretty good for a guy on the move. I don't want to hear crap about "happy feet". First off, he always moves his feet like that, and secondly the line was not adequate. I'll assign appropriate blame after breaking down the tape. This is troubling. Again, I expect these problems to be fixed soon, but it was ugly out there. Running the ball wasn't even an option.
The early coverage on this game has been a little over the top.
Greg Doyle's piece was accurate in terms of the wideouts, but sort of insane in its tone.
Kravitz was wrong about more things than I can count:
- First off, I know it was an obvious headline, but he didn't have to steal it.
- He says the game could have been worse, but it could have been better just as easily. That game was closer than the score indicated, and basically flipped on one play.
- He says the "down by contact" call on Roby was dicey. It's because he doesn't understand the rules of football. To overturn a "down by contact" call there are two elements that have to be present. 1. a clear fumble (check) 2. a clear recovery by the defense. That was why they didn't overturn. If there is a pile up, and the defense doesn't CLEARLY recover the ball on the tape, there can be no overturn, EVEN if the defense recovers the ball under the scrum and the runner did indeed fumble. Bob doesn't know the rules of football.
- What did he see to make him say the special teams were awful? There was some dicey strategy early in trying to kick away from Hester, but once they went right at him, things were fine.
- He was 100% WRONG about Dungy's judgement in going for the 4th down. There was no other choice in order to win that game. You can question the play call, but going for it was the best way to win. The Bears were running the ball too well to hope for a three and out. A punt and you find yourself down 9 with 7 minutes to play and 1 timeout (at best). It was the right call to go for it.
- He says Manning was tentative all night. I'm not sure what that means, but he was looking and throwing deep downfield all night. On several plays, the rush made him dump it off, and on two others Harrison dropped a huge gain, and Wayne failed to tap his feet. He overthrew Reggie in the endzone by about an inch. It's true that there were timeouts, but a couple were because guys ran on the field late (Tamme!), and the ) O-line didn't seem to know what was going on.
I won't have time to peruse all the coverage until later today, but that's a start anyway. We'll probably record 18 Plays tomorrow night. Check back later for more links.
Demond Sanders: Good thoughts. I'm pretty depressed right now, but I said going into the game that even if we lost there was no way we could have worse day than New England. It was the first game of the season, but, as you mention, the next two are going to be very similar opponents. Scary. They need some kind of running game.