Here are my observations after watching the tape from the Colts Titans:
1. ESPN did a terrible job with replays. Way too many tight shots on replays. I guess they are 'dramatic', but they don't tell you anything. They never replayed the key fourth down incompletion to Harrison. Awful.
2. Mike Pollack really did play poorly. He was dominated all night. Ugoh struggled a bit early, and there were a couple of plays where either he or CJ failed to block the right guy. Ugoh played better as the game went along. Pollack is the weak link right now. (Horray for CJ! He's off the bottom of the totem pole!)
3. Darrell Reid completely missed blocking the guy who tackled Rhodes in the backfield on the key fourth down play. If he makes that block, Dom has a chance. He didn't, and he didn't.
4. Manning actually played significantly better than I initially thought. He was off on a couple of throws, and the Titans made a play or two, but mostly he was ok. There were a lot of plays on early downs where Pollack would miss a block and Manning would quickly dump off. The line was better in the sense that Manning at least had time to unload. It was not better in the sense that he tons of time. I never had a good look at the Clark pick until I just saw it. Yikes. The ball hits him in the hands and then in the shoulder. Gotta make that play, 44.
5. Clint Session played GREAT on run D, but struggled in coverage. On the key 3rd down with the Titans up 17-14, the Colts actually put Bethea in at linebacker, but he made the same mistake Session did. Neither guy got deep enough in the zone to take away the out route to the WR. In all, the linebackers were wonderful. It was easily their best game of the year.
6. On the Titans key drive to tie the game they converted three big third downs. One was on an illegal contact foul (which ESPN never showed). The second was converted on Dante Hughes and Matt Giordano. The third was completed on Hughes and Bullitt. Tell me that injuries in the secondary haven't killed the Colts. There was also a pick on the second third down play that the officials missed. It should have been offensive PI. Mostly, the officiating was clean from what ESPN showed (which wasn't much).
7. The score at the end of the third quarter was 14-14. Somehow I forgot how close that game was. It made watching it all the more frustrating. They should have won this game. Now we know why Tim Jennings is the #3 CB...because Kerry Collins completed A LOT of throws on Dante Hughes. The holes in the zone were just too big.
Mostly, I was encouraged by the tape. This looked like a team ready to break out. If so, it had better happen fast. There are some tough games on the back half of the schedule, and 5 losses at the half way mark might be too many to overcome.