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Thread: How To Beat The Colts?

  1. #1
    year of the black rainbow obnoxiousmodesty's Avatar
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    Default How To Beat The Colts?

    Yes, the Colts can be beaten; here's how to do it


    Dec. 7, 2005
    By Clark Judge
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
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    I watch the Indianapolis Colts destroy another opponent, and I wonder if anyone's playing the same game as these guys. I know, I know, their next three opponents -- Jacksonville, San Diego and Seattle -- are 27-9, and the Jaguars have a history of playing Indy tough.

    Marcus Stroud is half the Jaguars' defensive tackle tandem that could give the Colts trouble. (Getty Images)
    But my question is: Forget about playing close; does Jacksonville have a legitimate shot at winning. Does anyone?
    "Sure they do," said an assistant coach who faced Indianapolis this year. "The Colts can be beaten."
    Then he told me how. So did a couple of others Indianapolis vanquished. Now we make the case for you, and Jack del Rio, feel free to take notes. While all those interviewed conceded the Colts are the most complete team out there, they also insisted they're not impregnable.
    Here's what you must do:

    1. Extend your drives and punctuate them with points or field position.
    "It's not enough to keep them off the field," said one defensive assistant. "You have to get points or field position. You can't go three-and-out or five-and-out. You can't get anxious. I don't care if you don't score. Make sure you get something out of your drives." He has a point. Look at Indianapolis' last loss, that 20-3 defeat in the 2004 playoffs. People forget that New England led by only 6-3 at the half, and we had a ballgame. Then the Patriots struck with two enormous second-half drives -- one of 15 plays and 87 yards; the other of 14 plays and 94 yards. They didn't panic. They were patient. And they consumed yards -- and the clock -- with lots of Corey Dillon, who ran for 144 yards, and error-free play. Having a big-time back is essential to completing this job, and Jacksonville has one in Fred Taylor ... if he's healthy. San Diego has one in LaDainian Tomlinson, too. Seattle's Shaun Alexander not only leads the league in rushing, he's on schedule to break Priest Holmes' record of 27 touchdowns in one season. Remember: In the Colts' past three meaningful losses (I discount that season-ender at Denver last year) each opponent had a 100-yard rusher. But let's not forget the second half of this equation -- the idea of gaining field position if you don't gain points. Look at what happened in that January loss to New England. Six of the Patriots' drives ended in Colts territory, and their worst finishing position -- discounting the game-ending kneel-down with four seconds left -- was the New England 43. Now look at the Oct. 31, 2004, loss to Kansas City: 11 of the Chiefs' 13 drives ended on the Colts' end of the field. And the loss to Jacksonville a week earlier? Eight of the Jags' 10 possessions finished in Colts territory, including the last five. I think you get the message.

    2. Avoid third-and-long.
    The key to the Colts' defense is their two safeties, particularly hard-hitting Bob Sanders. Indianapolis likes to sit back in a two-high setup, and you want to -- no, you must -- force the Colts out of it. "The key to beating them," said an offensive coordinator who played the Colts, "is positive yardage on first and second downs." When Pittsburgh became the Colts' 11th victim a week-and-a-half ago the Steelers produced nothing early. On the first play of their first series, running back Willie Parker was stuffed for a 1-yard loss. On the first play of their second series, he was stuffed for a 3-yard retreat. On the first play of their third series, Jerome Bettis didn't gain an inch. Say good night, folks. The problem with getting into third-and-longs is that now you're forced to protect against the Colts' edge pass rushers, which means keeping everyone in except, oh, maybe three receivers. The Colts, meanwhile, drop seven into coverage, and you don't have to be a math major to figure out who holds the advantage there. The solution: Run early and often at the Colts defensive ends. They're better against the pass than they are defending the run. Make yards against them, and you force the safeties to move forward to support the run. That, in turn, loosens up the secondary and makes it easier to succeed with the pass. Can it be accomplished? Two of the Colts' next three opponents, San Diego and Seattle, are among the league's leaders in first-down production. The Chargers average 6.16 yards a play, second only to Indianapolis; the Seahawks average 6.14 yards, best in the NFC. Yeah, I'd say each has a chance.

    3. Take away one of their two explosive threats.
    You either contain Edgerrin James or bottle up their receivers. You can't do both. Some of that is up to your offense. The longer it stays on the field, the less your defense sees of Peyton Manning & Co. Most of it is on the defensive coordinator, and few opponents defense the Colts better than Jacksonville. "Because of those two big defensive tackles (John Henderson and Marcus Stroud), they can play the run with their front seven," said one assistant. "They don't need help." That is significant, and, yes, I know James has nine 100-yard games this season and is an MVP candidate. But look at the Colts' last three meaningful losses: James failed to rush for 100 yards in each. In fact, in two of those games he didn't make it past 39, and in seven career starts before this season he never once produced 100 against Jacksonville. Then the Jags threw a changeup at the Colts in September, attacking Manning and daring the impatient Colts to beat them with James. The strategy was effective ... until, that is, the Colts turned James loose in the second half. On the game-winning 17-play drive, Manning handed off 14 times. Nevertheless, the point was made: The Jags demonstrated they could neutralize Indy's pass attack. And they lost by a touchdown.

    4. Force red-zone field goals.
    We all know you're not going to keep these guys off the board. Manning hasn't been shut out in his career, and the Colts have put up at least 31 points in seven of their past nine starts. The problem with Indianapolis is that it has so many ways to beat you and can score in a hurry. Again, Pittsburgh learned the hard way when cornerback Ike Taylor was burned by an 80-yard touchdown pass on the Colts' first snap in that Nov. 28 loss. "The Colts are characterized as a finesse team," said one defensive assistant, "but that's not right. They can be physical, and they are good up front. They know exactly what you're doing, and they're going to beat you at that game. It doesn't take Peyton long to figure things out." Manning takes few sacks, but Jacksonville did pressure the pocket in September and forced him into hurried, errant throws. When it was over he had a career-low 122 yards passing and no TDs. But he also had a victory. If I'm Jacksonville, here's what gives me hope: In that game, the Colts three times were inside my 25, and only once did they produce a touchdown. If I'm Indianapolis, this is what I look at: The Jags' red-zone defense ranks 11th in the AFC and 26th overall. Now let's look at San Diego: The Chargers are ninth in the AFC in red-zone defense and 21st overall. Then we have Seattle, which is second in the NFC and second overall. In 33 series, the Seahawks defense allowed only 13 touchdowns. We're getting warmer.

    5. Stay close.
    Sure, the Colts are explosive, but try to keep them within reach. Pittsburgh withstood a furious first-quarter charge last month but imploded when a game-tying field goal went astray. Then the Steelers got stupid, trying to throw late in the second quarter when they should have been satisfied taking a 13-7 deficit to intermission and gambling on an onside kick to open the second half. It not only failed, it led to a game-clinching touchdown. "You can't afford to get down by more than 10 to these guys," said one coordinator, "because then they just turn those ends loose." The results speak for themselves: Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have 20 sacks between them, and the Colts outscore opponents 187-71 in the second half. "You can beat these guys," said one assistant, "but an awful lot of things must go right."
    Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by obnoxiousmodesty
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    4. Force red-zone field goals.

    We all know you're not going to keep these guys off the board. Manning hasn't been shut out in his career, and the Colts have put up at least 31 points in seven of their past nine starts. The problem with Indianapolis is that it has so many ways to beat you and can score in a hurry. Again, Pittsburgh learned the hard way when cornerback Ike Taylor was burned by an 80-yard touchdown pass on the Colts' first snap in that Nov. 28 loss. "The Colts are characterized as a finesse team," said one defensive assistant, "but that's not right. They can be physical, and they are good up front. They know exactly what you're doing, and they're going to beat you at that game. It doesn't take Peyton long to figure things out." Manning takes few sacks, but Jacksonville did pressure the pocket in September and forced him into hurried, errant throws. When it was over he had a career-low 122 yards passing and no TDs. But he also had a victory. If I'm Jacksonville, here's what gives me hope: In that game, the Colts three times were inside my 25, and only once did they produce a touchdown. If I'm Indianapolis, this is what I look at: The Jags' red-zone defense ranks 11th in the AFC and 26th overall. Now let's look at San Diego: The Chargers are ninth in the AFC in red-zone defense and 21st overall. Then we have Seattle, which is second in the NFC and second overall. In 33 series, the Seahawks defense allowed only 13 touchdowns. We're getting warmer.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by btowncolt
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    Am I supposed to be thouroughly impressed with this dynamite peice of journalism? Don't these rules apply to any halfway decent team?
    Well at least he didn't pull out the "play them on slow grass" card...
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  4. #4
    year of the black rainbow obnoxiousmodesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Yes, I too thought this was one insightful piece of work.

    I go out looking for articles about the upcoming game, and these are the kinds of things I'm finding. I think it'd be more fun we had had Bill Walton over as a guest NFL commentator. At least then I would know the speaker/writer knew he didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
    Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

  5. #5
    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Number 3 is flat out retarded. The Steelers decided to take away Edge. Guess what happened. 80 yards, first play. Come on you guys saw hte play.

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    Fat, Drunk and Stupid Lord Helmet's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Yeah, this is a pretty decently wrote article.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Crap journalism.

    Pure and simple.

    Grade A *****.

  8. #8
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Duh!
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

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    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Why don't you guys give the rest of us the depth you're looking for. How do you beat the Colts, in detail?

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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    Why don't you guys give the rest of us the depth you're looking for. How do you beat the Colts, in detail?
    Make Manning make more than 3 mistakes. Well really its more like, being lucky enough to be the opposing team, when Manning makes 3 or more mistakes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Hire Belichick.

    Or hire a sumo wrestler to go sit on Manning.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

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    Fat, Drunk and Stupid Lord Helmet's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suaveness
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    Hire Belichick.

    Or hire a sumo wrestler to go sit on Manning.
    Yeah, because Belichick will just challenge a no question TD and pray that works.

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    Member scar's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    I think the only way to beat the Colts is to have more points than them. JMO

  14. #14

    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helmet
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    Yeah, because Belichick will just challenge a no question TD and pray that works.

    I remind you that we have only beaten them once, and they were very injured. He's kicked our *** plenty times, in more important places.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by btowncolt
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    He's never once beaten the Colts.

    The Patriots superiorly talented defense did that.

    I think Bill would be the first person to tell you that he wouldn't look too smooth out there trying to make tackles.

    And they weren't any more injured this year than they were when we played them in the playoffs last year, despite popular opinion.

    You know what I mean


    The biggest loss IMO is their LBs. Johnson retired, Bruschi has been out, and whoever else (I can't remember). Their defense relies on those LBs.

    But I don't think they are better now.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  16. #16
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    So you all can ***** about the lack of in-depth analysis as if you know more, but no one has stepped up to even try here?

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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    The most important piece seems simple, but its quite difficult to do: don't get behind. If you get behind, you can't turn the game into a track meet (like the Bengals tried to do.)

    The Steelers had the right game plan, but they executed it quite poorly, as they've been doing since early November.

    In fact, the Steelers defense, but-for two plays (the first play from scrimmage where Ike Taylor bit on the pump fake and the botched on-side kick that gave the Colts a very short field), held their own and the Colts had to settle for field goals. In spite of poor play from our (slow) corners, the Steelers defense still made plenty of plays that stopped drives.

    On the offensive side of the ball, you've got to dominate the clock with the running game. The Steelers problem was that, with Ben's rust they had no vertical passing game to keep the Colts defense honest (I'd play eight/ nine men in the box against the Steelers right now, too), and with Marvel Smith's injury the Steelers' O-line couldn't keep the Colts' quick defenders out of the backfield. Our third down conversion rate, since the Green Bay game on 11/6, has been absurdly bad (0-8 vs. GB, 6-13 vs. Cle, 4-15 vs. Baltimore, 4-13 vs. Colts, and 6-13 vs. Cincy, thats 20-62 over a five week period.)

    You just can't try to "outscore" the Colts offense, but you do have to move the sticks, and we can't move the sticks against anybody right now.

    At this stage, the only thing that might defeat the Colts is one of two alternatives: (1) rust - if they begin resting starters and have a bye week; or (2) a key injury if they don't rest their starters.

    I don't think there's any other team with a good (and healthy) enough defense to keep the Colts to field goals. Although there might be a handful of physical offenses that could pound the ball at the Colts, they'd be behind and feel forced to pass the ball, and that's playing exactly into the Colts gameplan.
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  18. #18
    Member denyfizle's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Easier said than done

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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suaveness
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    I remind you that we have only beaten them once, and they were very injured. He's kicked our *** plenty times, in more important places.
    Sorry, I was just getting a little too optimistic I guess.

    Let me ask you, if the Patriots were playing the same players they did that beat us back in January, do you think they would beat us?

    I just don't think they would have, now.

    We still beat them and it doesn't say: 12-0-(Pats were injured, Ben was rusty)
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  20. #20
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    So why do you think nobody has read this article?
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ABADays
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    So why do you think nobody has read this article?
    Oh they read it, its just SOO deep and insightful they couldn't understand it.

  22. #22
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To Beat The Colts?

    Well if anyone did read it - it didn't work did it. 13-0!
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

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