I had to catch the first 3 qtrs of the game via audio only yesterday... with only glimpses of a TV here and there thru the 3rd. I was able to catch the 4th qtr via TV.

So tonight I put played my recording of the game...

Peyton played a good game. He had a couple of questionable throws that were interesting, and that hurry up on 3rd downs didn't work out too well, but overall he was in control of the game. It didn't look like he was out of sync or that the Ravens could keep him flustered or take us out of what we wanted to do.

That said, sometimes all it takes is one bad play to turn a game so I know where the detractors are coming from when they are casting a critical eye at Peyton. OTOH... now that the defense has decided that Freeney and Mathis don't have to pash rush and try and spin around the outside every.... single... down.... our defense is making it possible for our offense to play without a ton of pressure (the pressure to be perfect) on each possession. We don't have to have perfect offense when the defense plays like this.

Not only did the overused outside pass rush of Freeney and Mathis create gaping holes for the opposition to run to but it also was forcing the opposition away from their throwing game anyway (because who wants to throw when there was such an intense pass rush coming (seemingly) every down?). So IMHO it was failing on two levels. Someone finally figured out that stopping (and slowing) the run first, even if we did invite the other team to throw, was actually a benefit for the Colts (our pass defense isn't bad, plus the opposing offense can't be as safe throwing as opposed to running and might just make some unforced errors of their own when putting the ball in the air (like receivers running the wrong routes, QB's over/under throwing the recievers, bad snaps, or plain old dropped balls). And this has allowed us to start mixing it up again and keep the opposition guessing as the game wears on. So all of a sudden we can take advantage of Freeney and Mathis as pass rushers again as long as we keep things less predictable. Maybe it's a whole lot more complicated than that but that's at least that seems to me to be what we've changed (plus added Bob Sanders).

I'm a sucker for watching a defense be a big factor in wins. And that's what they are doing so far in these playoffs.

.02
-Bball