January 14, 2007

Colts kick past Ravens: while the Saints march by the Eagles.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia to football at 07:29 AM - 27 comments

The most exciting part of the Ravens game was Ray Lewis working the crowd into a frenzy pregame. The Colts offense was so beatable on Saturday that the Ravens will be kicking themselves all off-season. Weird to see Peyton Manning dink and dunk his way to an AFC championship. Even weirder: Expecting the Saints to win the NFC, no matter who they play next weekend.

posted by rcade at 07:35 AM on January 14, 2007

Who would have thought that the Colts' defense would have kept them in the playoffs? The off-season acquisition of Vinatieri looks the work of a genius right now. If they would have still had the "liquored up idiot kicker," Manning would heading over to his dad's house to meet up with his bro.

posted by wingnut4life at 08:22 AM on January 14, 2007

My thoughts from watching the Colts-Ravens game -- Vinatieri is money and Ed Reed is incredible. I was reading somewhere after the season that the difference between Gostkowski and Vinatieri actually is not as great as it seems. While Vinatieri had a better field goal percentage (25-28, 89.3%) than Gostkowski (20-26, 76.9%), Vinatieri only had a slight advantage over Gostkowski in average kick-off distance (65.8 to 65.5) and the Pats' opponents on Gostkowski kicks had worse return averages than the Colts' opponents from Vinatieri kicks (23.0 v. 25.3 -- although that is more dependent on the teams' overall kickoff coverages and hangs less on the kickers themselves). The reason this is significant is that most studies show that much of the value of a kicker over the course of a year comes from kick-offs and kick-off distance is the most repeatable/predictable skill for kickers year over year. I think someone mentioned in the thread when Vanderjagt got canned by Dallas that the main issue with Vanderjagt (and the reason that Dallas should have overlooked his gaudy FG% stats and not signed him in the first place) is that he largely sucked at kick-offs. Anyhow, the long and short of this is that Gostkowski, over the course of 16 games, is not that different than Vinatieri. But, you have to wonder if the Patriots are in a close one today whether their play-calling in a tight game at the end will be any different because they don't have Vinatieri. Vinatieri's historical performance in the playoffs is uncanny enough to make me think his "clutchness" is actually a repeatable skill. We'll see if the Patriots miss that at all today or maybe in the weeks to come. As to Ed Reed, what can you say? I have seen him play before, but man it was like he had a bead on every 10+ yard pass Manning threw last night. He had the two interceptions, caught another one flying out of bounds and had another bounce right off his chest. Definition of ball hawk and, in my mind, the best player on the field yesterday. Finally, it was great for this Saints fan to see the Saints take out the Eagles, but man is their secondary crap. The good thing for them I suppose is that they will either be facing the erratic Mr. Grossman next week or will at least have a home game against the Seahawks. And stop the big blitzes!

posted by holden at 09:06 AM on January 14, 2007

Cheers to the Saints from a broken-hearted fan. I'll pull for them now mainly because I really like Sean Payton and Drew Brees. As for the Eagles, let's just say punting on 4th and 15 punt with under 2 minutes was not the choice I'd have made. Also, I thought the Eagles really blew the game on 3rd and 1 from the 4 yard-line with that -2 yard pass. I know they just stopped Westbrook for no gain, (and not to take anything away from Fujita's tackle) but why the hell would you drop your QB back 8 yards when he only needs to go forward one. Holden, Ed Reed is awesome. That game wasn't flashy, but I did enjoy watching him.

posted by SummersEve at 09:43 AM on January 14, 2007

And don't forget the work of two underrated parts to the Colts-Ravens game: the Colts suddenly appearing D and Dominic Rhodes's 4th quarter running. Those two have to be the major keys for how the Colts overcame Baltimore's strong defense. Honestly, the Ravens dropped BOTH safety's 15 yards deep AT LEAST throughout the entire game, taking away the deep pass from Manning, so the Colts had to work with what they got. On the New England-San Diego game, LT will get his, but there will be about 4-5 plays during this game where Philip Rivers has to get the ball to one of his receivers. Other than Antonio Gates, I'm not sure if I trust those guys to make the big play. Although, Brady has the same problem as well. I'm not making a pick here, but the winner will be the one who sticks to their original game plan of running the ball (then again, thoughts of the AFC Championship between Pittsburgh run through my mind and how Brady came out firing passes left and right). Finally, to the New Orleans Saints...YOU ARE NOT BOISE STATE!!! Sean Payton needs to realize that he has 2 good running backs (a luxary for the playoffs) and that he needs to utilize BOTH of them in order for his team to have a shot at winning. Still, the Deuce and the Bush have this team at the doorstep to the super bowl this year. Great coaching job to those Saints. PS- Bears smash Seahawks

posted by chemwizBsquared at 09:46 AM on January 14, 2007

Go point SE about the punting issue. You just made a 4th and 10 and shot yourself in the foot. The entire world knows the Eagles could have added Ray Lewis and ED Reed to their roster pregame and still wouldn't have been able to stop Duece. That said, I won't come out and say Philly beat themselves with the 4th and goal field goal or punting with 1:56 on the clock, I'll just say note to Jim Johnson:DON'T play one gap systems against power runners. They were shredded all year for over 200 rush yrds a game doing so. It was funny to see the ESPN.com fan polling map. Every state except PA(duh) and DE wanted the Saints by a 2-1 margin. Question: If the AFC is so much better than the NFC, why have the NFC games been so much better so far?

posted by Bishop at 09:55 AM on January 14, 2007

Bishop, equal level competition is always exciting to watch, but it doesn't follow that there are better teams in teh NFC, but just evenly matched teams. I think that this was pretty evident when you had about 6 8-8 teams fighting it out for a playoff spot.

posted by brainofdtrain at 10:43 AM on January 14, 2007

Excellent defense by the Colts yesterday to hold the Ravens to just 6 points yesterday.Just when I thought the Ravens were going to run the ball on that weak run defense of the Colts,they turned the table and did an unbelievable job on the Ravens defensively.Although they did hold Manning to no TD's,in steps up Vinatieri to kick five field goals.I'm just hoping for us Pats fans to get by the Chargers today and pray that next weeks game against the Colts doesn't come down to a field goal.Even though the stats that holden pointed out above comparing Gostowski vs Vinatieri,how can one not take Vinatieri in a game winning or any other clutch kick situations.

posted by Ghastly1 at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2007

As to Ed Reed, what can you say? He was the man. Alone, he was more exciting to watch than most of the offense and I usually find defensive struggles boring.

posted by jmd82 at 01:06 PM on January 14, 2007

Wouldn't it be ironic if the Colts finally make the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning being largely inneffective.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:12 PM on January 14, 2007

Wouldn't it be ironic if the Colts finally make the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning being largely inneffective. I think this is largely what happened with the Broncos and Elway. Although I wouldn't say Elway was ineffective in the years the Broncos finally won the Super Bowl, he didn't have the gaudy individual statistics he had in earlier years when the Broncos made several Super Bowls but got blown out. The late-90s Red Wings also come to mind, with Steve Yzerman becoming much more of a two way player instead of a purely offensive threat and the Wings finally winning the Cup after a number of years of having the best (or close to the best) record and having nothing to show for it.

posted by holden at 03:19 PM on January 14, 2007

Bishop, equal level competition is always exciting to watch I didn't mean to insinuate that the NFC was better than the AFC. When I saw the final 4 from the AFC I thought either game would make a great Superbowl. It doesn't get more evenly matched with these AFC juggernaut's and so far the games have been 1 sided or fieldgoal contests. The NFC is suppose to be evenly matched "so so" teams, the AFC is suppose to be evenly matched Superbowl contenders. NFC games thus far have been battles to the end with last second heroics or blunders. AFC games have been take it or leave it type games. As I type this, the Seattle/Chicago game heads into overtime tied at 24.

posted by Bishop at 03:24 PM on January 14, 2007

COLTS WIN One high profile running back after another goes no where and all that everyone in the media talks about is Peyton Manning and the interceptions. Two weeks ago the local media was calling for the head of the defensive coordinator. Today these same local media are ranting on about the Dungy defense. Hell, a former Tampa Bay player named "Booger" got more press than the defensive coordinator. Here is today's trivia question. Named the Colts defensive coordinator who put outstanding back to back game plans together and got no recognition. What's the prize. We don't have no stinking prizes.

posted by BlindAlvin at 04:34 PM on January 14, 2007

I only heard the term Downhill Runner (or that back runs downhill) a few months ago, but after watching the games this weekend, especially the Eagles-Saints game, it should forever be retired and never uttered again. It's meaningless and stupid. I know this rant is only tangentially connected to the playoffs, but I feel better now.

posted by Aardhart at 05:49 PM on January 14, 2007

PS- Bears smash Seahawks Not exactly.

posted by tommybiden at 07:04 PM on January 14, 2007

Would one of the admins PLEASE fix the FPP title? It is "their" (ownership), not "there" (location). It has been driving me up the wall each time I visit and see it at the top of the page.

posted by grum@work at 07:16 PM on January 14, 2007

Somebody please call the grammar police ASAP. As for the game, what a surprise. The Colts defense was the story. Baltimore was convinced they would advance due to superior defense only to be upstaged by the Colts.

posted by urall cloolis at 07:44 PM on January 14, 2007

Pats at Indy next week!

posted by jerseygirl at 07:46 PM on January 14, 2007

Is there a history there? With you on that, grum

posted by yerfatma at 07:47 PM on January 14, 2007

I say Saints next week. Pats have not gone dry for two years. Plus, in 2003, the Pats beat an NFC South team in CAR, and won the next Bowl in Florida the next year. Brady's great on turf, at RCA. I say NE def. NO in XLI. Ya Reggie's great, but HOF QB's beat rookie HOF RB's any day of the week.

posted by LA_Dude at 07:54 PM on January 14, 2007

Saints vs Colts in SB41. Go Saints! But, unfortunatly, I'm predicting a Colts win in Miami. Go Hawks in 2007!

posted by ggermanctl at 08:04 PM on January 14, 2007

Was anyone else completely stoked for the Saints win but completely turned off by Tom Benson's running onto the field with his fist raised? God, that almost ruined the moment for me.

posted by Ufez Jones at 08:35 PM on January 14, 2007

Is there a history there? With you on that, grum I don't think so. It just reflects on SpoFi's image if we have a glaring error like that on the front page.

posted by grum@work at 10:33 PM on January 14, 2007

Huh? My first comment was@jerseygirl's "Pats at Indy next week!".

posted by yerfatma at 05:46 AM on January 15, 2007

It just reflects on SpoFi's image if we have a glaring error like that on the front page. True. Shoulda caught it earlier.

posted by rcade at 08:51 AM on January 15, 2007

It's great to see that field goals still matter instead of a last second kick it's a whole game of them The tournament is great to watch

posted by luther70 at 08:35 PM on January 15, 2007

What tournament are you talking about?

posted by hawkguy at 09:01 PM on January 15, 2007

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