Indy uses rushing game, defense to rise to the top
Posted: Wednesday September 21, 2005 11:58AM; Updated: Thursday September 22, 2005 12:39AM
I don't believe it ... 3-7! You actually went 3-7? How the hell can you go 3-7, not even picking against the spread, just picking them straight up?
Anything else on your mind?
Yeah, plenty on my mind. How can you rank teams when you can't even hit the 50-50 guessing average, picking the games?
One's got nothing to do with the other. Don't you think I feel bad enough already? Don't you? Don't you?
Hey, look, guys, I made him cry.
I'm breaking off this ugly conversation and returning to what I know best, my power rankings ... that is if I still have a job. Straight stuff this week. I'm keeping it short, which the editors should like. No more rambling anecdotes or tales of herring do.
The Jaguars gave 'em a three-man rush and dropped eight into coverage. The Colts swallowed their pride (had to do a Heimlich maneuver last time that happened) and ran the ball. Not a good formula if you don't have the good defense to go with it, but these are the new Colts, see.
I heard a few of the Sunday TV bubbleheads announcing that Cadillac's 277 yards rushing in the first two games of his career is an NFL record. Dear bubbleheads: In 1955, which was the year in which I first considered retirement, the Colts had a rookie fullback named Alan (The Horse) Ameche. First two games of his career -- 194 yards against the Bears, 153 against the defending champion Lions. I'll let you do the addition.
Lots of people think the Eagles are better. Sorry but the Falcs beat 'em fair and square. I like teams that come back, and Atlanta showed a lot of guts making that late run at the Seahawks. So why don't you rate the Hawks higher? Because then I'd have to rate the Jaguars higher than the Seahawks, since they beat them, and then would come the Hawks, then Atlanta, then the Eagles, which would mean that after a 42-3 victory I'd have lowered Philly two places, and "I can't go it, mate, I can't go it" (Victor McLaglen in Gunga Din).
I like this team. I like everything about it, and I like the wine from Dick Vermeil's vineyard. That's why I was practically crying during the Raiders game when I saw that pass rush scheme of theirs, and the anemic special teams, and the way they defended Randy Moss -- by giving him a free release and allowing him to range through their secondary like a free-spirited gavokk.
Remember those college clips of when Byron Leftwich was hurt, and they carried him downfield from huddle to huddle? Well, they've found out the whereabouts of the guys who schlepped him and they're going to be signed on an emergency basis for the Jets game. Byron has a groin pull. He swears he'll play. All together now, hoist!
Just as they were playing over their heads against the Panthers, so they were on a full bore downer against the Giants. I don't see how a team can keep its spirits up on a regular basis when there's so much sadness around it. I'll have more to say on the subject tomorrow.
Last week, when I picked them to cover as six-point favorites against Miami, I explained my trap theory in detail. This week when I set my own line last Sunday for the Jaguars game, I made the Jets favored by one. Then, when the line came out four, I should have, under my theory, done a volteface and picked the Jets to cover the bigger number. Instead, I chose the Jags. This has confused some of the finest minds in Morris County, N.J., and parts of Essex. There's an easy explanation. The official line was late coming out. It didn't appear until Monday, a day after I'd made my selection.
I really thought the O-line would be better. Well, maybe it's better than Houston's, but not many others. I thought Ronnie Brown would show more zip. He looked pretty sluggish against the Jets. When Ricky comes back, RB sits, but I can't see Maharashi Williams lighting it up behind that line, either.
I'm really fascinated by the Ron Dayne angle. I haven't watched the tape of the Chargers game yet, but on the highlights I saw the big guy really smacking it in there on the winning drive. Could it be that all he ever lacked was coaching, and here was this gang of cynics, myself included, saying all those snide things about him?