Game Review: Beating the Colts, and it feels so good

The Titans are victorious! Before I hear any “but the Colts suck” retorts, let me say this. The franchise is 13-20 all time against the Colts. Take your wins when you can. The Colts won seven in a row against the Titans between the 2003 and 2006 seasons. The end of that streak, on a 60-yard Rob Bironas field goal, was one of many insane 2006 finishes but none were more satisfying. Yesterday’s win might not have ranked high on “satisfying” but it was a lot more fun than the beatdown at the hands of the Texans.

It wasn’t a perfect day. We still don’t know what’s up with the impostor wearing the Chris Johnson jersey. After taking a 20-0 lead, the defense started to buckle as the offense struggled and the Colts got within 20-10. I was momentarily nervous until a Barrett Ruud interception all but sealed it.

Let’s take the good. Hasselbeck was Good Hass with 224 yards and a touchdown. He’s on pace for a 4000-yard passing season. That’s going to be necessary to keep winning since the team was almost outrushed by Curtis Painter. Damian Williams made some nice catches. When Chris Johnson couldn’t, Javon Ringer could. Get ready for a RBBC, fantasy football fans. Jared Cook made two great catches on consecutive plays and didn’t see a target for the rest of the day.

As the offense struggled early in the game, the defense made the plays that have been lacking over the past two games. Jason Jones tackled Curtis Painter behind the line of scrimmage, which I am told is called a “sack”. Rookie defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug disrupted things all day. Jason McCourty had his first NFL touchdown and led the team with eight tackles. There were lots of defensive back tackles since the Colts played from behind most of the game.

While the Colts are a team in disarray, they still have talented offensive skill players. Dallas Clark’s not getting shut out every weekend. Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are going to make catches. We even saw Austin Collie with a season-high five catches. The key was keeping the big plays at bay. Make this team drive the field and the defense slowed them down.

It was nice to see Peyton on the sidelines. It was also considerate of him to put a hat on so the glare from his forehead didn’t blind us all. It’s a tough time for the franchise. No team has ever been built around one guy as this one has. They’ve focused most of  their top draft picks on offense, and let’s face it, Anthony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh and Donald Brown aren’t cutting it. The defense focuses on getting small, fast players that are can torment an offense when playing with a lead. I can see why the team hasn’t developed a backup QB in a decade, but why do they never seem to have a decent returner?

I think the whole Suck for Luck thing is a bit overblown. Even mighty Peyton who was revered in college was in a dead heat with Ryan Leaf as top QB in the 1998 draft. It’s not even close to a guarantee that if Peyton decided to call it quits and the Colts drafted Luck #1 next year that they would be on top for another decade. The Colts won 119 games between 2000 and 2009, which is the main record from the Peyton era that should cause jaws to drop. If 2011 is the price of building around one player, Colt fans are more than willing to pay the freight.

Next weekend is a battle against the 5-2 (not a typo) Cincinnati Bengals. What stands out is that the Bengals are 3-1 on the  road. They have a good defense and a rookie duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green that’s putting defenses on notice. I’ll be there for the only scheduled 3 p.m. game of the season.

Savor every win. Beating the Colts doesn’t happen all the time, so enjoy this one.

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