called the no-huddle. Dominic Rhodes, the Colts' heavy-duty running back, calls
it the Quick. Ryan Lilja, the 290-pound left guard, calls it "our Lightning
offense." It wore out the Patriots in the AFC title game on Sunday. It kept
the New England defense on the field for 80 snaps--and the coup de grace was
administered by the power running game. The Colts did the same thing to the
Ravens in the divisional round, finishing the game with 10 of 12 running plays.
They dominated a defense that was supposed to be impregnable. "Everybody
gets tired playing against it," Lilja says. "You see guys lying down,
faking injuries to slow us down. You see people taking themselves out of the
game to catch their breath."
Buffalo brought a
lightning offense called the K-Gun into four consecutive Super Bowls but
couldn't win. Privately, a few Bills linemen admitted the up-tempo game was
almost as tough on them as on their opponent. The Colts don't feel that way.
"We do it all summer," tackle Ryan Diem said after Indy's 38--34
victory over the Patriots. "It's the way our offense works. Peyton Manning
works them over with the pass, we finish them off with the run."
Urlacher (above) and the Chicago defense will be able to keep up. The Bears
stayed a step ahead of the Saints by forcing four turnovers, and they needed
all of them because Rex Grossman was having another one of his low-completion
days. A little push by the New Orleans defense, a little killer instinct, and
he might have toppled, but as bold as the Saints were on offense all year,
that's how laid back they were on defense on Sunday. "It might make sense
to blitz Grossman, but we're not known as a blitzing team," says Colts
defensive tackle Anthony McFarland, one of the newcomers who juiced up the
unit. "We get a lot of heat from our front four, from our small, quick
ends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Every now and then, when it's not
expected, we can send an extra rusher or two."
defense would have unsettled Grossman more than the Colts' unit will, but New
England's offense wouldn't have put as many points on the board as Indy will.
The no-huddle will give the Bears trouble, if not right away then later in the
game. Grossman may put up some numbers, depending on Indy corner Nick Harper's
health (he missed the last three quarters on Sunday with an ankle injury), and
Chicago will do a bit of damage on the ground. But I don't see the Bears
matching the Colts' scoring machine. Indy will pass early, run late. COLTS 34,