On the Rebound
Colts look to bounce back after letting
one slip away
written by Stephen Conway
Last week, I predicted a Colt victory
as long as the team did not play flat and did not turn the ball over several times. Oops.
The Colts left Foxboro Stadium losers for precisely these reasons. It was in many ways a
mirror image of the Buffalo game from the week before. Our offense moved the ball
effectively throughout the first half, but settled for a field goal late, allowing the
Patriots to score a momentum turning hail mary touchdown as time expired. In the second
half, the offense again struggled to find the end zone as well as turning the ball over
three times. The defense continued to give ground against the run and was often punished
for blitzing too often against Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe.
After the uplifting win the week
before, the loss to the Patriots was like a slap in the face. Clearly, the Patriots are a
good team and deserved to win, but the Colts defeated themselves on many occasions last
Sunday. They allowed a hail mary to land untouched in the waiting arms of Tony
Simmons at the end of the half. The offense allowed two critical sacks of Manning which
prevented a touchdown. And perhaps most distressing, the defnse failed to notice a
receiver lined up wide on a fake field goal play, allowing the Patriots to eventually
score the game winning touchdown. The Colts cannot expect to win consistently when they
make that many mistakes. Quality opponents will capitalize on your mistakes.
All cannot be forgotten from such a
loss. But all will be forgiven, if the Colts learn from their mental lapses and come out
swinging against the Seattle Seahawks this week.
Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense,
defense, and special teams.
Again, the Colt team that lines
up on Sunday would seem to have a clear advantage. The Colts are #2 in the league in total
offense. The Seahawks are 29th. The Colts defense, while porous against the run, is ranked
#18. Seattle is 28th. But if every player on the team does not make the committment to
play with focus and poise, the statitsical advantages the Colts enjoy won't mean a thing.
As with any sport, the game is 90% mental after you master the basics. Athleticism will
only take you so far, if it is not balanced with the right attitude and clarity of mind.
It's not as though the team is falling apart. They continue to execute on an extremely
high level. But in the most crucial situations, the Colts have shown an alarming tendency
this season to lose focus and make mental errors. I'm not going to jinx the team this
week! I think the Colts come out strong and finish strong and return to Indy 4-2.
Score: Colts 24 Seahawks 14
where: U. of Washington
against the resident football nerd picking the results of each week's NFL games