Monday, February 08, 2010

Superbowl Hangover

Well, it’s not the sort of hangover I expected.

The Indianapolis Colts let go of the rope. They didn’t build on the two big playoff victories at home. They let a very winnable game slip away in the second half. And with the momentum swinging wildly in favor of the Saints, the team seemed to lose the will to win. Maybe that is unfair. I’ll bet Jeff Saturday would argue that point with me all day long, but on television it just seemed like the 2006 World Champions weren’t that interested in bringing home another ring and another championship banner to Indy.

That said, there were some bright spots in last night’s Superbowl XLIV. We’ll start with game balls to…

The O-line
Since I mentioned him by name already, let me tip my hat to Mr. Saturday and his beefy O-line colleagues! They played a whale of a game, opening gaping holes for the backs and protecting our prized possession. Even when the game was out of hand after the Saints forced their first turnover, the O-line did a good job in handling the blitzes and different defensive fronts. Good job O-line!

Joseph Addai
I thought Joe Addai and the running backs had a great night, giving us a much more balanced attack than I had expected. The backs combined for nearly 100 yards on a stingy Saints defense. Addai led them all with 77 of his own, thanks to the production and domination of the Colts O-line. He helped to keep the Saints defense honest. Otherwise, there may have been more than one “pick six.”

Dwight Freeney
To a guy who managed the white-hot media spotlight all week long, didn’t practice, and still “brought it!” I say KUDOS! Did you see how he manhandled the Saints lineman on his lone sack of Drew Brees? Almost lifted the guy off his feet and rocketed past him, slinging Brees to the turf. He must have been about 70% and still created havoc. He never ceases to amaze me!

Dallas Clark
SOLID! Seven receptions for 86 yards led all Colt receivers. Peyton’s go-to guy was as reliable as my father-in-law’s 300k mile Mazda pickup. His first catch of the game was picture-perfect, thanks to Peyton throwing a perfect dart against perfect coverage. Dallas created matchup issues for the Saints for the better part of the game…and the Saint linebackers are pretty good in coverage (i.e. see Vilma vs. Colley).

Game balls now virtually delivered, let me hit the weak spots on the team…

Matt Stover
We needed Mr. Money, Adam Vinateri last night, plain and simple. The oldest man to ever compete in the Superbowl showed the age of his legs on that 51-yard wide left attempt. Not that one kick would’ve won the game. By no means! But we could not afford to leave points on the field against the Saints, and 51 is not record length by any stretch of the imagination. DOH!

Peyton Manning
What were you doing in the second half last night? You started the game with a perfect pass. You managed the clock, the offense and the Saints D with ease until that 2-minute drive to end the half. Then you missed Reggie down the sideline by a mile. You threw an interception that cost you the game, granted it may have been as much an 80% Reggie Wayne problem as it was your poor read. Then, that near interception in the endzone? You didn’t even give Garcon a CHANCE to catch it! Had you just given up at that point? Did you have money on the Saints??? VERY un-MVP like of you, PM!

Maybe two weeks to prepare was TOO much. Maybe Peyton over-thought, over-analyzed and wore himself out mentally. I don’t know.

Clint Session
It’s hard to single one guy out on our bi-polar defense, but I was MOST disappointed with Clint. He’s our headhunter now that Sanders is out. He’s consistently brought it game in and game out…until the biggest game of his career. I’ll give him props for teaming up with tackle-leading Gary Brackett on the goal-line stance, but where was he the other 80+ plays? A real letdown from him, Robert Mathis and the Colts defense. I didn’t expect much from the banged up secondary, but there was little pressure from the front seven.

Okay, now I feel better.

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