Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The worst nightmare ever

Wake me up. PLEASE, PLEASE someone wake me up. This can't be real. I'm dreaming. I'm going to wake up and it's going to be Sunday. None of this is real. That didn't actually happen, did it?

The Factor is in pain.

Both of our readers should be happy to hear that I have not actually ended my own life. I was in a dark, dark place there for awhile, though. Uh, both literally and figuratively. Seeing the Colts just roll over like that was easily the worst moment of my sports life. I'm not even sure that depression has fully set in. If I had to guess, I'm still in the denial phase. I know this only because I don't want to taser the holy bajeezus out of Tom Brady. Not yet at least.

Click read more . . .

I've resolved that if I don't watch anymore sports-related programming for the next week, then don't watch football for the next month and then try to avoid any football-related programming until September, I can pretend like the whole season was just a dream. A wonderful dream that went horribly, horribly wrong at the end. You know, one of those dreams where you're totally making out with Mandy Moore AND Jessica Simpson and then Mandy turns into the Predator (tease!), shoots your face off and keeps your skull as a trophy. Really uncool. I always figured that Jessica was the galactic hunting space alien. I'd have much rather taken a laser beam to the noggin than go through that game.

This one was easily the most painful loss of all. In the previous games against the Patriots, the AFC Championship game last year and the regular season opener this year, the cause of defeat was readily apparent. You could legitimately say that if Manning hadn't thrown 4 picks or if the Pats weren't holding on every play, the championship game would have been completely different. Or the if the Colts didn't have three red zone turnovers or if Willie McGinest doesn't get that sack, the regular season opener would have been different. This year? No such luck. There's no singular cause. The Colts just flat out got outplayed, and as much as I hate to say it, out coached. That had to be the ugliest team game by the Colts in the past two years. Right up there with the 2002-2003 41-0 wildcard loss to the Jets. But worse.

This game, of course, brings up all sorts of questions about the team. Why can't they beat the Patriots. They can beat the pants off any other team in the NFL. The freakin' Dolphins beat the Patriots. Even the Cardinals put up a better showing early in the season. Say what you want about the weather and Belichick and all the other factors, the Colts just don't seem to believe that they can win. Where does that leave the team? The road to the SuperBowl is going through the Patriots and probably will for the next few years. Subtract Crennel and Weis, and the Patriots will fill the gaps. They've shown that they can.

What's it going to take?

Next time, Football Gods, warn me ahead of time. Hit me with an errant lightning bolts or a stray linebacker. Just make sure I spend those three and a half hours unconscious or heavily sedated.

I'm wounded. I'm vulnerable. I hear chicks dig that sort of thing. But I've got to get back on the Horse. Let the healing process begin.

After all, there's always next year.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom crying.


Blogger Haza said...

Somewhere, someone has blammed Peyton Manning.

"He can't win the big game!", this person says with joyous certainty.

[BTW, when it comes to the Colts, the media and fans are either for them or strongly against them, for whatever reason ... I bet Shannon Sharpe couldn't wipe the grin off of his face Sunday night]

That person's wrong. Dead wrong.

The Colts offensive line cost this team the game. Period.

How many times did the announcers say "Manning's under pressure", or "great play by the New England front seven"?

How many times did pulling guards fail to make a block on the stretch play?

How many times did the offensive line fail to pick up a blizting linebacker?

You have to run the football and stop the run to win in the playoffs.

The Colts couldn't protect their QB or run the football; therefore, they couldn't make a first down to keep a drive going.

The effect?

The Colts defensive gives up three drives that:

1. New England ran the football

2. Totalled almost half the game in TOP

3. Gave New England 17 points.

Ballgame. Right there.

You can blame the defense, but let's be honest: you know what you're getting with the Colts defense.

So how do you stop the Pats' offense? The same way they beat the Colts' offense: keep them off the field. You stop their run and force them to make hurried passes into tight coverage, get the ball back and run it down their throat.

To stop this from happening again, the Colts need to address a few key factors:

1. Improve the offensive line: more power, more strength, more speed, more agility.

2. Learn how to properly attack and protect against a 3-4 defense. Without data in front of me, I would bet that the 4 worst offensive outputs the Colts had all season came against a 3-4 defense.

3. Improve the linebacking play: make tackles and play faster.

So that's it ... I'm done. I will now begin my self-imposed sports ban until March ... at that time, F1 will start, baseball will start spring training and I can pin my hopes on the mother freaking White Sox. All that means is that hopes for sports success won't spring again until training camp in July.

3:35 PM  

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