Man, there's nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and plunging into the world of NFL stat sheets. Anyway, the result of our diligence is this week's Eyes in the Backfield. Enjoy such eye opening nuggets as:
Looking back on last week's Eyes, it's astounding how much Peyton Manning and Dwight Freeney can cover up. The Colts defense was essentially flawless, and Manning played one his best games ever. It helped us to shut our eyes to the fact that the Horse still couldn't run the ball, and the line was spotty at best. 18to88 and a sunny day at the Luke made us feel like all was right in the world. Indy has now won three of four, and is seriously threatening to make a run in the AFC. To do so though, they'll have to brave the snow and ice of Lambeau field. Or maybe not. This week, keep an eye on...
1. Watch for rhythm. Having a big week is one thing, but putting together impressive wins is something else. The Colts are entering a tough stretch filled with the biggest games on their schedule. A strong game on both sides of the ball tomorrow will mean the Colts head into Tennessee having won 4 of 5 games and playing good football. If the offense can't consistently move the ball or generate the big plays that marked last weeks win, all the good feeling from the Texans and Ravens game will be gone in the depression of a three game deficit in the South.
2. We say it every week, but watch the line. You'll know the Colts offense is back when you see the offensive line allow Peyton to stay in the pocket and when it opens holes for the run game. That didn't happen last week, as Peyton made up for a lot of mistakes by the guys blocking for him. The coaching staff apparently feels more comfortable with Charlie Johnson at left tackle than with Tony Ugoh. That's fine, but he'll have to prove he deserves to stay on the field for reasons other than having a big heart. The Packers line has trouble applying pressure to the quarterback, so if the Colts can't stop them, they'll be in big trouble come next week at Tennessee.
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Great work by Shake. He looks at the fumble rate of Freeney and Mathis. Amazing. These numbers will shock you.