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Thread: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

  1. #1
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    Call it the Curse of Schottenheimer

    By Billy Witz

    Way back when on Sunday, just as the Colts were preparing to spiral down that old familiar Foxboro rabbit hole, coach Tony Dungy made a decision.

    Here it was, early in the second half, and the Colts had been outplayed decisively and already wore their not-this-again looks.

    Yet as unfortunately as events had unfolded, they still had plenty of good fortune. Thanks to Patriots tackle Matt Light jumping offside, which cost his team a touchdown, and safety Eugene Wilson dropping a sure interception in the end zone just before halftime, the Colts trailed just 6-3.

    And here they were, after Peyton Manning completed a third-down pass to Brandon Stokley, sitting at fourth-and-a-short-1 at the Patriots' 49-yard line with 9:54 left in the third quarter.

    It was their first opportunity to seize momentum, if not control, from New England, and give themselves and everyone else in the stadium an idea that this time might be different.

    Even Manning, who was slump-shouldered most of the day, perked up. As he eyeballed the short yard the Colts had to make, he motioned to the sideline that he wanted to stay on the field.

    True, if the Colts go for it and don't make it, the Patriots have just half the field to cover. On the flip side, if the Colts convert, they have an opportunity not only to tie the score or take the lead, but to change the tenor of the game.

    What Dungy's decision boiled down to was this: Do you trust the most prolific offense in the NFL to gain 1 yard on one play, or do you believe your defense, which was 29th in the league in yards allowed, can keep New England pinned in its own end?

    In other words, where do you place your faith?

    It's the same question that Jets coach Herman Edwards faced Saturday after kicker Doug Brien missed by inches a 47-yard field goal that would have sent New York to the AFC title game.

    The Jets, by their own good fortune, had another crack with a first down at the Pittsburgh 25 and 56 seconds left. They ran Curtis Martin over left guard for no gain, LaMont Jordan over left guard for 2 yards, then had Chad Pennington kneel down to run off a few seconds for a loss of 1.

    This left Brien with a 43-yard field goal.

    Or precisely 3 yards more than Nate Kaeding was left the week before, when Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer ran LaDainian Tomlinson into the line three times for no gain.

    The result for Brien was the same as it was for Kaeding, which was the same as it was for the Colts, who punted and then watched New England drive 87 yards on 14 plays in eight-plus minutes for a touchdown.

    They all kissed their seasons goodbye.

    These decisions were made nine days apart, in three different cities, by three different coaches -- and the lipstick marks are all the same.

    Call it the Spawn of Schottenheimer.

    Schottenheimer may be the reigning NFL Coach of the Year, and he has won more games than any other active coach, yet when the playoffs roll around, any instinct to go for the jugular or simply give his players the freedom to make plays is suppressed with Dr. Strangelove-like resolve.

    Perhaps it dates to 1980, when Schottenheimer, then an assistant with the Browns, watched as Cleveland quarterback Brian Sipe, his team well in field-goal range in the final seconds, threw an interception in the end zone to Oakland's Mike Davis, sealing a 14-12 playoff loss.

    It was the first playoff game of Schottenheimer's 28-year NFL coaching career, and whether it scarred him or simply served as a harbinger of other painful playoff losses, this much seems clear: It's contagious.

    It's no coincidence that Edwards' first six seasons in coaching came under Schottenheimer in Kansas City. Or that Dungy spent three years on that same staff. Or that Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett coached under Schottenheimer with the Chiefs and with him in Cleveland.

    What is telling is that when in came down to it, Schottenheimer and Dungy -- who had two of the three highest scoring offenses in the league -- couldn't betray their nature as defensive coaches and let their playmakers make a play.

    Neither could Edwards, despite the fact that Pennington has never thrown an interception in the red zone his entire career .

    All three coaches have proven themselves consistent winners because their teams play hard, are fundamentally sound and rarely beat themselves. If you do these things consistently, playing it safe is a fine strategy over the long haul.

    It's also hard to get to a Super Bowl that way, let alone win one. When there's so little separating the best teams -- and there's never been less in the NFL -- the ones who win playoff games can't be the ones who are afraid to lose them. And don't think players don't feed off that vibe.

    This may not be good news in Pittsburgh, where under Bill Cowher the Steelers have played host to the AFC Championship Game four times and won just once.

    Whether he was scarred, or whether it was simply a harbinger, it may be worth noting that 19 years ago, Cowher got his first job in coaching. Under a young, hard-nosed, defense-first coach. In Cleveland. A fellow named Schottenheimer.

    Billy Witz covers the NFL for the Daily News. He can be reached at (818) 713-3621 or billy.witz@dailynews.com

    http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1...659228,00.html
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  2. #2
    year of the black rainbow obnoxiousmodesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    You know, when that decision was made by Dungy, I honestly did not give it much thought. Normally I'd have been all over Coach Dungy for making such a questionable move, but I think my brain was in shock from the previous 2 hours of mediocrity and I didn't realize what had happened until well after the game. Perhaps the coaching staff was undergoing the same state of stupor. I now feel dirty for admitting any similarities with that group.

    It was a key moment in the game, and the team should have gone for it. If you're going to let Peyton go for it on 4th and 6 from your own 25 against the Chargers, you sure as hell must let your team go for it on 4th and 1 at midfield in the playoffs.

    I'll admit I'm quite pissed at the entire Colts organization right now, especially Polian and the coaches. I think they threw an entire year away and simply shook their head stupidly while doing it. I want some results or they must go. I'm tired of the "awww shucks" attitude.
    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.

  3. #3
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    Well, if we actually had a defense you could count on consistently and were a normal football team with a normal balance then the odds say kick it away and play field position.

    But we're not. We're a team made to overwhelm and outscore you... not stop you. We only try to slow you down and let you stop yourself with a TO, bad play, or occassional big play on our end. Who didn't think the Pats would be back at the 50 yrd line on their next drive? We needed to steal the momentum back and had little to lose with the way the game was going. We were lucky that they had their one TD called back. How many bullets could we dodge?

    It also goes back to last year. The Pats went for it on 4th down in a similar situation and made it. It was even less of a place to be going for it actually... and it showed a total lack of respect for the Colt defense. And it worked brilliantly for them.

    I agree with the tone of the article posted and I even more agree with it when you are a team built like the Colts are. We cannot play grind it out football and continue to put that defense on the field and expect them to get stop after stop.

    I'm not convinced that a football team built on the offensive onslaught theory is going to win January football (without a much better defense) but if that is the path you've chosen then that is the path the coaching staff needs to follow.

    -Bball
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  4. #4
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    I know only a small percentage of what you guys do about the game, but I was simply amazed and told my gf that at that specific moment the Colts lost the game, just a second after I saw Peyton walking of the field.

    Not only do I think it is a capital blunder by the coaching staff, it also shows that you do not believe in what you are doing, have no faith in that same offense that is out there and the same MVP QB that is handling the ball for you.

    Was there anyone really amazed that that precise moment was the deadknoll of the game?

    Any confidence the offense had picked up at that moment was killed by the coaching staff and never surfaced again during the game.

    It reverberates; not only if successfull you go ahead, and they have to come from behind, but your defense gains momentum as well since it is a difference whether you are defending a lead or trying to get back into a game from behind, not to mention they would have had more minutes to rest.

    But then again, hindsight etc........
    So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.

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  5. #5
    Fat, Drunk and Stupid Lord Helmet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    Quote Originally Posted by obnoxiousmodesty
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    You know, when that decision was made by Dungy, I honestly did not give it much thought. Normally I'd have been all over Coach Dungy for making such a questionable move, but I think my brain was in shock from the previous 2 hours of mediocrity and I didn't realize what had happened until well after the game. Perhaps the coaching staff was undergoing the same state of stupor. I now feel dirty for admitting any similarities with that group.

    It was a key moment in the game, and the team should have gone for it. If you're going to let Peyton go for it on 4th and 6 from your own 25 against the Chargers, you sure as hell must let your team go for it on 4th and 1 at midfield in the playoffs.

    I'll admit I'm quite pissed at the entire Colts organization right now, especially Polian and the coaches. I think they threw an entire year away and simply shook their head stupidly while doing it. I want some results or they must go. I'm tired of the "awww shucks" attitude.
    I agree I am pretty pissed at them also. They gave that game to the Pats. I'm sick of getting our asses beat by the Patriots every year. Its getting old, and it better stop.
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  6. #6
    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Cursed the Colts? Btown should enjoy this...

    I was furious when he made that decision.
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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