|10-29-2006, 04:28 AM||#1|
Lost In Space
Join Date: Apr 2004
Indy Article - About Indy needs a loss
A loss? It wouldn't be end of the world
October 29, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, a reporter asked quarterback Peyton Manning if it might be a good thing for the Indianapolis Colts to lose a game. Not a bunch of games, mind you. But one, maybe lose today to the Broncos, or lose next week to the New England Patriots.
"And this was a guy who's been in the (newspaper) business for a long time,'' Manning said later, shaking his head. "Good to lose? It's never good to lose. Never.''
It's easy to understand how the concept of losing-as-a-good-thing might seem a little bit counterintuitive to a professional athlete, how the mere suggestion might raise an eyebrow.
But you know what? The reporter -- whoever he was -- had a point.
A pretty good point.
This probably isn't what you want to hear as the Colts enter the meat of their schedule, playing two likely playoff teams in games that will go some way toward determining who gets home-field advantage.
Still, losing wouldn't be the worst thing. We're not talking about getting swept -- that wouldn't be good at any level, especially if there are more injuries -- but a split of these next two games wouldn't be such a terrible thing.
Let me explain. Or try to explain.
First, the Colts don't want to clinch too early.
Home field, that is.
We're not talking about the AFC South, where we can already calculate magic numbers. In terms of the division -- print up the Division Champs hat now -- the Colts are playing with house money.
As much as Tony Dungy says he wouldn't mind being in the same position as last year -- when the biggest question was, "How much pre-playoff rest is too much?'' -- he also acknowledges he'd be more comfortable if his team is pushed into the final weeks of the season.
To this day, I'm not convinced the long layoff is the reason the Colts lost to Pittsburgh, or that the Dungy family's personal tragedy had much of an impact on those 60 minutes. But if the Colts can be in a position where they're still being tested, and maybe have the luxury of just shutting it down for one game at the end of the season, that would make everybody a whole lot less uneasy.
A loss in one of these two weeks would mean something else:
No "perfect season'' talk.
Which, so far, has focused more on the Chicago Bears than the Colts. But if the Colts should escape Denver and New England with an 8-0 mark, look out.
The national guys will be parachuting back in here. At 7-1, you're the cream of the crop in the NFL. At 8-0, you're a big story, a national curiosity. Again.
Important game today? Yeah, in the sense it's two of the best teams in the AFC. But if we're being realistic about it, the stakes are far higher for the Broncos than they are the Colts.
Almost every personnel decision Shanahan and the Broncos have made the past few years has been done with an eye toward beating Indianapolis. This is their litmus test.
For the Colts, though, this is not a lot more than one of those stern midseason tests that tend to bring out the best in them.
It's always an interesting matchup, the league's best defense (statistically, anyway) and the league's third-best offense, although you've rarely had the sense the Colts offense has truly gotten it into gear this year. Recent history tells us defense always wins these games. Recall the Tampa Bay-Oakland Super Bowl. And the various Colts-Patriots postseason blowouts.
But it's hard to see how Denver, which hasn't scored 20 points in a game all year, is going to limit Indy to 20 points. Listen, if they can shut down the Colts, I'll be ready to hail them as the second coming of the 1985 Bears.
Marvin Harrison against Champ Bailey. Although I would expect most of the passes will be sent in another direction, likely at Reggie Wayne.
The Colts' run defense against the Broncos running attack. I'm not a huge time-of-possession guy, but if Denver can control the line of scrimmage and the clock, that altitude will have an impact on the Indianapolis defense.
Joseph Addai. We must see him. More than usual. Twenty-five touches would be good. This is a recording.
Peyton Manning against that same defense.
"I was talking to my son about (Manning), and I told him I consider (Manning) an alien,'' Shanahan said, laughing. ". . . It's really amazing to watch him . . . the knowledge and how he handles the offensive system. I've watched a lot of guys play in this game and every time I watch him, he amazes me."
Shanahan, who was around Steve Young, John Elway and others, was asked where Manning rates.
"There's only a handful of guys at that level, and Peyton's at that level right now; the only thing keeping him away is the ultimate prize,'' said Shanahan, who was brought to Denver to help Elway win his first Super Bowl. "I know he will win one, or a couple, before he's through. He's too good and he takes it too seriously not to.''
So the Game of the Year is upon us. Until next week's Game of the Year. A split wouldn't be the worst thing.
|10-29-2006, 05:55 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Gulf Coast of Mississippi
"While playing at a record breaking pace during the regular season, Peyton Manning has not shown he can win the Big Game"
|10-29-2006, 08:34 AM||#3|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Elway was just an arm =MacGruder