Good God! Th-…That’s Jake Bragg’s Music!!

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Yes, I’m back. I have spent the last two-plus months screaming my brains out at what can only be described as one of the worst freshman basketball teams in the history of mankind. No, really. Don’t believe me? Here are actual questions I have received from high school kids:

“So if my guy goes to the basket, you want me to go guard him there?”
*Slapping my face*
 
“Do we have practice, like, every day?”
*Painful, disbelieving stare*
 
Me: “Flash to the elbow!”
Kid runs to the corner
Me: “No! The elbow!”
Kid moves to the top of the key, next to the guy with the ball
Me: “No! HERE! *Pointing to the elbow on my clipboard*
Ball goes out of bounds, kid runs over and stands next to me
Kid: “Right here?”
*Throwing clipboard at nervous fans*
 
Needless to say, it’s been rough. But they’re getting better. I think. Let’s just move on.
 
So I apologize for the lack of posts (to all 3 of you who read me regularly). A lot has happened since I’ve been here. A quick recap:
– The Patriots went from unstoppable, to beatable, to “back” (59-0 vs. Titans), to stupid (4th-and-2), to now their own fans (Bill Simmons) calling them a .500 team. Gotta say, I like where this is going.
 
– Tiger Woods.
(That’s all I need to say. As you read that, you all just nodded. Again, all 3 of you.)
 
– The Colts set 2 records in one game (Brandon Marshall catches 21 balls for over 200 yards and 2 TD’s, while the Colts win their 22nd consecutive regular season win.
 
This last fact compelled me to write this post (sort of, just stay with me). They became the first team to win at least 12 games in seven straight seasons. They are the staple for regular season consistency. And yet, they are 1-0 in Super Bowls in that stretch. Really? You are consistently winning 12 games over seven years and have made it to exactly one Super Bowl?! This awful percentage (1/7) led me to ask the natural question: Why? Why is it that Peyton and Co. can’t get to the dumb Super Bowl. And I think the reason can be seen in the Colts-Broncos game today (see, it comes full circle! I told you!) Let’s check out some basic stats from the game.
 
Colts 28, Broncos 16
P. Manning: 20/42, 220 yds, 4 TD, 3 INT
J. Addai: 16 car, 67 yds (4.2 avg.)
 
Let’s just stop there. The entire story can be told in this stat line. In all, the Colts called 25 runs on 70 plays (they credited Peyton for 3 runs for -3 yards. I’m excluding those).  This is completely inexusible. Let’s look at the stats a little closer. Look at Joeseph Addai’s yards for the first two possessions (bothColts’ TDs):

1, 0, 12, 8. Totals: 4 rushes, 21 yards, 5 yd. avg.

 
Pretty good right? Why then, did he only have 4 rushes? Both minimal gain rushes were off-tackle (stupid stretch play), while he busted up the middle for the other 30 yards.  (Mike Hart had 2 rushes during that time, but as I tweeted my brother, “Mike Hart sucks.” So there’s that.)
This is what kills me about the Colts. They run this dumb stretch play, which works about 10% of the time, then say, “well, we can’t run, better chuck it with our Pro-Bowl, All-World QB.”
 
Granted, that sounds like a wonderful strategy, but any time you become one-dimensional in the playoffs, you shoot yourself in the foot. Now, look at Addai’s rush totals for the first half:
10 rush, 50 yds, 0 TD. He had rushes of 6, 6, 6, 5, 4, and 2 yards during the rest of the half, with the 5, 4, and 2 yarders coming inside the 10 yard line on the second scoring drive.
 
Meanwhile, Manning had thrown 2 TD’s and an unlucky INT with less than a minute in the half.
 
Then in the 3rd quarter, Addai had just 2 rushes, Manning threw 2 more interceptions, and the Colts failed to score. Fortunately, the Broncos did not capitalize on the first, as Neck-Beard Orton badly underthrew “The Unstoppable Freak” (Marshall) in the endzone for a costly INT.
 
Then, in the deciding, “holy crap we better score or we might lose” drive, Addai had four big rushes (avoiding two major losses on stupid off-tacke runs).
 
What can we take from this? What does all this mean? Anything? (Yes, I swear it does).  Hold on, just a few more numbers:
 
In the 3rd and 4th quarters, the Colts drives ended like this: Punt, INT, Punt, INT, Punt, TD, end of game.
 
Look at those first five possesions of the second half again. Guess how many plays those 5 possessions had?
 
I’m glad you asked: 3, 4, 3, 1, 3
 
Number of runs for those possessions? 1, 2, 1, 0, 0
Number of runs in those possessions by guys not named “I Suck” (aka Mike Hart): 1, 1, 0, 0, o
 
This is the problem I have with the Colts. For long stretches, they completely ignore Addai, using him only as a safety valve for Manning to fling a last-second pass at his feet to avoid a sack. During those five drives, the Broncos just pinned their ears back and came after Peyton. And the Colts didn’t call a single draw play– which plays to Addai’s strengths (vision, speed) AND would have killed the over-zealous Broncos front seven. Instead, the Colts went with, “screw it, let’s have Peyton win this one for us.” Only good teams can handle that. And in the playoffs, you only play (you guessed it…) good teams!
 
So, in the playoffs, Indy continually run the chronically inept stretch play, ignore Addai’s strongest play (the draw), and ultimately hope Peyton can make all of the necessary reads and throws when the defense says “there is no effing way they’re running it.” So when you think about it, 1-for-7 is probably close to the success rate of how many times that kind of mindset (all pass, no throw) can beat good teams. So it happened today. That makes one. The Colts also won that way vs. Jacksonville, @ Miami, vs. San Fransisco, vs. Houston, vs. New England, vs. Baltimore, and @ Houston.
 
That makes the Colts 8-for-8 in games where the Colts have gone into “Madden Mode” (all runs, no passes) this season. Which means they owe the universe 48 more games to make the odds even again. Yikes.
 
The Colts won the 2006 Super Bowl by rushing for 604 yards in 4 games (151 yards/game, 36 rushes/game).
 
 So I love that my team has a great quarterback, and that we are the greatest regular season team of this decade, maybe even ever. But if I could say anything to Peyton, it would simply be: run the damn ball!
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One Response to “Good God! Th-…That’s Jake Bragg’s Music!!”

  1. Rick Says:

    this was honestly amazing..

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