The view from the RCA Dome
I know I said this or words similar to it when I wrote about the Bengals game, but as a fan of a non-local team, it's just a different experience going to a game. It's out of the ordinary, more special. So, when doing a recap, I don't want to just say the normal (a) game recap, (b) rush offense, (c) pass offense, (d) defense, (e) special teams, (f) miscellaneous review. So, it's another edition of Tom's discursive thoughts. One note: I wasn't in the top row like I was in Cincinnati-I was in row 28 (of 30) in the left corner of the end zone. Binoculars, yes, but there's a limit.
The first TD drive featured some massive holes for White to run through. And he did at least manage to run through those holes. When there's not a massive hole, he's not quick enough through the hole. No, I didn't see him dancing, but he's just not fast. One play, Roos just chipped the DE and moved to the second level, leaving the DE to tackle White, who's simply not fast enough to the hole. At least Fisher noticed that White's a terrible blocking back, as Brown was in on all third downs this drive and for most of the game until he was injured, when it was mostly Henry.
The defense always lined up the same way against Peyton-a 4-3 look with the linebackers and safeties the same place. Peyton doesn't have much, if anything to read off of it, but it didn't seem to bother him easily. They were only throwing short, but it was pretty effective nonetheless. Granted, some of it was stat-padding, but that didn't mean it didn't work. Some will want to revoke my Titan-fan credit for saying it, but I love watching Peyton play quarterback. Something subtle, like Thornton flinching in place before the snap, Peyton sees the potential blitz and makes the quick throw to the area Thornton vacated.
On the stretch and off tackle plays, there were normally huge lanes available to the other side. I particularly noted the 2&6 play at 4:30 of the first quarter.
VY on the boot looked very hesitant-he looks to me like he's overthinking, visible processing information, instead of letting things just come naturally.
Iwuoma, I believe, had a great jump-cut, almost, to avoid the blocker on the punt.
I was surprised not to see Peyton immediately attack Hill after Harper was injured on the play around the end of the first quarter. The game in Indy last year, Hill was thrown at something like 15 times, and Pacman on the other side got about 2 throws in his general direction. Finnegan doesn't demand the same sort of respect Pacman does, but I was sure Hill would be the target when he came in.
You know how the Colts would always line up with Wayne split left and Harrison split right? They were moving Wayne from side to side almost every single play. I'm sure part of that was because Gonzalez was out, and he's started to take over Harrison's spot on the right side, but it was weird to see from the Colts.
So long as he's kick returner, Henry will continue to take big shots. Maybe not all as big as the one Reid laid on him, but he doesn't have the lateral movement to avoid them. He also doesn't have the lateral movement to be a great kick returner. It's all straight-line speed. Davis is a much shiftier guy, which is more important for punt returns but also important for kickoffs. I really miss having Pacman back there.
The pass intended for Ealy that drew a pass interference call in the second quarter was thrown in my general direction, to give you an idea where I was sitting. I thought it was a decent call, though the Colts fans near me didn't. I also freely admit I don't really know what pass interference is now.
Sorgi came in halfway through the second quarter. You know those sayings about how the backup QB is the most popular guy in town? Definitely not the case in Indianapolis. The "Let's go Sorgi" chants were much more aspirational than confident, and the hopes were in vain. So utterly terrible. Of course, that just made it worse when he "led" the Colts to a TD.
On the pass at 2Q 2:58, Scaife's route was cut off the by defender, and he didn't try to fight for the ball at all. He's looking more and more to me like a liability than a bona fide NFL TE. Hartsock was a waiver wire pickup, and he seems to be in the game as least as much as Scaife. Bo didn't come out for the first 10 or so minutes of the second half.
Punts seemed to really be carrying. Most of the time, the returner had to backpedal 10-15 yards to catch the punt. This improved somewhat in the second half.
Ok, VY's sack at 2Q :50 was unbelievably awful. If I was watching at home, I would have been jumping up and down and cursing. As is, I just got to punch the nearby pillar. I also thought Gage waited on the ball too much on the pass-this has been something I've noted before with the Titans WRs.
Sorgi v Manning is a very good example of the impact of QBs on an offensive line's sack rate. Yes, the Titans probably did bring more guys more frequently with Sorgi in there, but Peyton has learned to avoid sacks. Sorgi stinks, and doesn't.
Have I mentioned Jim Sorgi is terrible, and Colts fans don't like him? One guy they do like is FB Luke Lawton, who drew "Luuuuuuuke" chants every time he got the ball. This includes that play where he took a checkdown, Fuller tried to tackle him, and the Colts converted the third down. Very annoying.
I didn't notice Loper was in the game for Olson until 4Q 9:17-that's one thing you miss seeing the game live, especially if you're as unobservant as I tend to be. I only spotted it because I was checking out the sideline looking for VY.
Somebody in charge of the RCA Dome programming must like the Who. The cheerleaders danced to Styx's "Paradise Theater" before the game, but after that there wasn't much music, and what was was mostly the Who-Baba O'Reilly, Won't Get Fooled Again, and even Eminence Front.
I feel it's incumbent upon me to say something about Collins. He did what he needed to do, I'll give him that much. I don't see a very high peak with him, but he's not nearly as terrible as he was the beginning of '06. Most of the pass patterns seemed to be comeback routes-also true of VY. I didn't notice many wide open WRs-it seemed like I saw more in Indy last year, and definitely more in St. Louis in '05.
Oh, and Rob Bironas is awesome. Just awesome. That 54 yard kick was huge, and right on the money. I was scared Fisher would take a delay and pull the fraidy-cat punt, but he didn't and I was glad. Not just the result, but also the confidence. And the lack of confidence in the offense and defense, a lack of confidence I shared at the time.
And that's about that, aside from more injury notes-Harper out, Brown out, etc. On to San Diego.