Posts tagged David Thornton
With a win against the Titans, the Colts managed to overcome unprecedented team injuries and their worst five game series since 2002 for a NFL record (tie) ninth consecutive playoff berth, and their seventh AFC South Championship in the last eight years. Peyton Manning was able to get through his toughest stretch of games since his rookie year and somehow Indy has managed to enter January with the three seed in the AFC.
It is extremely important for Colts fans to step back and think about the gravity of this accomplishment. Frankly, this team had no business overcoming all of the adversity it has faced in a sixteen game season. More >
2009 Game Recap – Week 13: Titans at Colts
To help pass time this off-season, I’ve reviewed the Colts’ regular season games from 2009. With this second look at how the team played, a few thoughts have occured to me which were not obvious during the initial viewing, and I thought it a good opportunity to rethink some of my previously held opinions of the team I love. So, with your kind indulgence, as I view a game at a time I’ll be sharing my impressions.
Personal Note: This is not, and was never intended to be, an objective, unbiased review of an NFL contest. It is instead a glimpse into the emotional ride experienced by the average Colt fan at game time. My Homerism switch is engaged and turned up to eleven. With that in mind, I invite you to join me as we re-live the highs and lows of the 2009 Indianapolis Colts season.
Today’s Game: Week 13: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Setting The Stage
- Indianapolis comes into Week 13 at 11-0, boasting the number one passing offense in the league. Quarterback Peyton Manning is having an MVP year throwing for a career high 70.4% completion rate. Vince Young and Chris Johnson lead the Titans who started the season 0-6 but have won their last five games. Tennessee was the last team to beat the Colts, back in October of 2008. Injuries for the Colts include Donald Brown – chest, Keyunta Dawson – knee, Charlie Johnson – foot, Adam Vinatieri – knee, and Anthony Gonzalez – knee. Tony Ugoh gets the start at left tackle, Mike Hart is brought up from the practice squad to replace Brown, and Kelvin Hayden returns after missing two games.
- The Field: Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The roof is closed.
- The Crowd: Relatively quiet, to be honest. Several Titan fans must have made the trip because there’s more cheering for the visiting team than during most Colts games. I suppose their volume kinda mirrors my emotions during the game; the Colts are playing so well, and I’m so confident they’ll win, that there’s really no reason to get excited. It’s interesting; I remember when the Titans were a hated rival. Now? Not so much.
The Indianapolis Colts have built the most consistent team in NFL history, setting the NFL record for consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins (7). Needless to say, the single biggest reason for the Colts’ rise to NFL greatness is Peyton Manning, who is the unquestioned team-leader and may go down in history as the best quarterback to ever play the game. But no single player can carry a team to the Colts’ level of success, and Indianapolis has developed one of the most talented units in the league.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have become the most feared and powerful pass-rushing tandems in the NFL. Bob Sanders won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2007. Antoine Bethea has been selected to two Pro Bowls and has been the most consistent safety on the team. Gary Brackett is one of the best linebackers in football, and has been dangerously close to winning a Pro Bowl bid each of the last three years. Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, and Jeff Saturday are also key offensive facets that have been around for a long time, during the Colts’ run to greatness.
2010 Colts: Is the Defense Better or Worse?
The ultimate goal during the off-season for any NFL franchise is to improve the team. There are many ways to evaluate whether a team improves or takes a step backward, the most common of which is only possible at the end of each season; record and playoff run. For the Colts, improving on the 2009 version of the team by this measure is only possible if Indianapolis brings home its second Lombardi Trophy.
There is another time that it is worthwhile to consider where a team stands compared to its prior season, the off-season. What is fun about this time is that the evaluation is far more subjective but the ultimate importance of it could have greater implications, it gives fans a reason to be excited about the coming season or a reason to temper expectations.
The Myth of the Third Round Curse
Bill Polian has earned a reputation as one of the best executives in NFL history. He has created this perception largely due to having unparalleled success each year in the NFL Draft. No team in the NFL has used the draft and undrafted free agency as successfully as Polian, creating an atmosphere where the Colts system reigns king and where finding players who best function within it is the goal.
Generally, players that enter the NFL are no different than future professionals in the business world; once they are trained to play a certain way and are molded physically to fit in that role, they are more difficult to acclimate to an entirely different system. As a result, the best way for Polian and the Colts to find an endless crop of new talent is to get them early, train them to play the Colts way, and build the strength of the franchise by retaining the best players and not allowing them to leave via free agency. More >