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The Horseshoe


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Expectations Unmet
The Colts look to put a better face on a season of what ifs
written by Stephen Conway

What if the Colts' defense had actually shown up the first half of a road game this year? What if the Colts' offense didn't find a way to turn the ball over at least once a game every game? What if the team with all the talent in the world had actually lived up to the preseason hype? These are the questions that, unfortunately, will dog the proud men wearing the horseshoe until next season. Barring a late season miracle and a LOT of help from others, the Colts will be watching football in January and not playing. 

Apparently the Colts players and coaches are as shell shocked from their disastrous road performances as their fans. They offer little or no explanation for their obvious let downs in critical game situations. I would like nothing more, as an extremely loyal fan, than to believe that the Colts collectively are giving 100% on every down. Even if we take this as a given, the results are simply unacceptable. Missed tackles, shoddy pass coverage, little to no pressure on the quarterback, dropped passes, untimely turnovers and penalties: all earmarks of mediocrity if not outright failure to perform. It may well be that the Colt defense simply lacks players with enough athleticism to perform at a consistently high level. The same cannot be said of the offense which has had its share of mishaps and missed opportunities this season. 

Just as winning is contagious, losing and sloppy play can plague a team just as badly. Coming into this season, I was ready to give the Colts a clean bill of health. I had hoped against hope that the trends I have endured as a Colt fan from some 23 years were a thing of the past. What I have learned from this season is that some habits die hard, especially losing.

This week marks the beginning of the second year of the Horseshoe. I would have hoped to have had reason to be more upbeat on the prospects for a playoff run not to mention additional editions of this fine newsletter. But before anyone gets the notion that I'm ready to abandon our boys when they need our support the most, take heart. The big picture looks very bright for the Colts still. It is too easy to let the emotions of a hugely disappointing loss color our look at the overall future for the team.

The Colts are one of the few supposed top flight teams  with room under the salary cap next year. Not including their rookie cap extension, the Colts have at least 7 million if not more room under the cap. Given Bill Polian's draft and free agent savvy, there is every reason to think that the gaps on defense can and will be addressed in the off season. This fact coupled with the Colts young guns on offense make the team's future as a solid playoff contender for the next several years very bright indeed.

Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense, defense, and special teams.

Game Prediction
This game is as much about pride as it is the playoffs. The Bills were humiliated last week 33-6 by the Dolphins. The Colts, likewise, were steamrolled all day long by a freight train named Curtis Martin en route to a 17-27 defeat. After last week's letdown, I told myself I wasn't going to pick the Colts to win for the rest of the year. But now that I have settled down, I think the Colts will come to play in front of the home crowd and the national spotlight. Take in to consideration that Buffalo's defense is missing 6 or 7 starters and I think the Colts will keep their faint playoff pulse beating for one week more.

Score: Colts 27  Buffalo 21


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1999 Season
Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3

Issue #4
Issue #5

2000 Schedule
Issue #6

Issue #7
Issue #8
Issue #9
Issue #10
Issue #11

Issue #12
Issue #13
Issue #14
Issue #15
Issue #16
Issue #17
Issue #18

9/03 at KC

W  27-14

9/10 OAK

L   31-38

9/17 BYE  
9/25 JAX

W  43-14

10/1 at Buff W  18-16
10/8 at NE L   16-24
10/15 at SEA W  37-24
10/22 NE W  30-23
10/29 DET W  30-18
11/05 at CHI L   24-27
11/12 NYJ W  23-15
11/19 at GB L   24-26
11/26 MIAMI L   14-17
12/03 at NYJ L   17-27
12/11 BUFF
12/17 at MIAMI
12/24 MINN


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1999, 2000