Tag Archive | "Indianapolis Colts"

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Looking at who’s going to win the NFL Conference Championships

Posted on 16 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

The NFL’s version of the final four is upon us, and the Seattle Seahawks are poised to defend their crown and repeat as champions. In the NFC, Russell Wilson is going after his second Super Bowl ring, as well as Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. In the AFC matchup, Tom Brady has a chance to climb the Mt. Rushmore of 4 time Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. Andrew Luck leads the upstart Indianapolis Colts, as the only quarterback in the tournament who is attempting to win his first Lombardi Trophy.

Ever since the Patriots caught fire after their dismal performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in front of a national football audience, I’ve been predicting a Patriots – Seahawks finale. I still believe that after this Sunday’s games are over, those are still the two teams that will be left standing.

I expect the Patriots to activate Jonas Gray, and come out running against the Indianapolis Colts. Gray rushed for over 200 yards in Lucas Oil stadium, and with the addition of LeGarrette Blount, I expect more of the same this Sunday. Bill Belichick is a master of situational football, and just like he abandoned the run in the Patriots’ win over the Baltimore Ravens in the prior week, he will once again adapt his personnel to match his opponent.

On the other side of the ball, I do not believe that the Colts can go up to New England without a running game, and get away with it. They will go only as far as Andrew Luck will take them, and Belichick will take away what Luck does best, he will commit more players to defend the pass, and dare the Colts to run on his defense.

The Seattle Seahawks look to be a team on a mission. They are peaking at the right time, and their defense is the difference maker. They  have solid corners, unbelieveable safeties, active linebackers, and a defensive line that at times is dominant. They have a mercurial quarterback in Wilson, arguably the best running back in the NFL in Lynch, and they don’t beat themselves. They are also the most complete team in the playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers have come this far with sheer grit and determination, and on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. His calf injury has hindered his play, but on one leg he is still better than most NFL QBs on two legs. The key to the Packers having a chance is to unleash stout running back Eddie Lacy, but I do not see his offensive line opening up holes for him. He’ll have to make his own, and although he is capable of just that, I don’t believe it is going to be enough.


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ESPN’s Van Valkenburg thinks Colts, Cowboys compelling NFL teams

Posted on 27 September 2013 by WNST Audio

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A four-part summary of an easy Ravens win over Indy

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Drew Forrester

If you’re looking for some points-of-light besides the Ray Lewis story, I’ll go ahead and give you some.  I’m sure everyone else in the media will handle the Ray-retirement angle, so I’ll look back at Sunday’s 24-9 whipping of Indianapolis and give you four different things on which to chew.

Not in any order of importance, mind you, but here’s what happened on Sunday.

The stage was too big for Luck

Sure, he threw for a handful more yards (six) than Joe Flacco.  He also had thirty-one more attempts.  Yes, you read that right.  The kid had 288 yards on 54 attempts while his opponent in purple was an effective 12-for-23 for 282 yards.  Luck’s QB rating was woeful (59.8) while Flacco’s was superb (125.6).

Simply put, Andrew Luck wasn’t very good on Sunday afternoon.

Now, let’s note right from the start that his offensive line was horrendous.  And that’s being kind.

But the golden boy from Stanford – the likely Rookie of the Year in the NFL – was hardly a threat all afternoon, particularly in the first half when he looked completely rattled.  His deep balls had too much air under them and his inability to sniff out pressure led to far too many scrambles and errant throws.  Luck did settle down in the second half and was a tad better, but years from now he’ll look back on this performance and wince at how rookie-ish he looked for most of the day.

He’ll have plenty of big games in his career, but Sunday’s outing in Baltimore surely wasn’t one of them.

McKinnie steps in and steps up

With left guard Jah Reid out, John Harbaugh was forced to shuffle his offensive line on Sunday, and the emergency nod went to veteran Bryant McKinnie, who played left tackle in place of Michael Oher, who was switched to right tackle so that Kelechi Osemele could sub for Reid at right guard.  Get it?  McKinnie was the big benefactor of the Reid injury, and the Ravens prospered as well, as the big man put together a nice afternoon protecting Joe Flacco.

A week ago in Cincinnati, McKinnie saw extensive playing time in the final three quarters and to say he looked disinterested would be like saying Ray Lewis looked “sort of” fired up for Sunday’s home finale.

McKinnie has spent most of the 2012 season on the bench.  He’s also spent most of the season out-of-shape, overweight and, when pressed into duty, he’s been largely ineffective, no pun intended.

But Harbaugh got him to break a sweat last week in practice when Reid wasn’t able to suit up and the 5th year coach rolled the dice that his veteran left tackle might actually try in the Colts game.

It was a gamble, of course, for Harbaugh saw just one week before in Cincinnati that McKinnie’s series-by-series effort was basically a coin flip.

But the decision worked out for the coach and the offense, as McKinnie stood up to Dwight Freeney for four quarters and kept Flacco upright virtually all day long.

(Please see next page)

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Ravens Playoff Preview

Posted on 02 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

The Baltimore Ravens have made the playoffs for five straight seasons which in today’s NFL, seems impossible. For this playoff run, the Ravens will face the Colts in what will most likely be Ray Lewis’s last home game. In the previous four playoff runs, they have never lost the first game.

It is truly difficult to imagine the Ravens losing to Andrew Luck and the Colts. Even though the Colts are a good team, their magical run could come to an end in Baltimore.

If the Ravens win, it will be because of their run game. Last week against Cincinnati, they almost reached one hundred rushing yards by the first quarter! The Colts dont have nearly the presence inside as the Bengals do and we know Ray Rice will be motivated to run hard for Ray Lewis.

The only way the Ravens lose this game is if Joe Flacco turns the ball over multiple times. But Joe has been great at home and had one of the best games of his career against the Giants.

If the Ravens want to make the Super Bowl, they will have to face a gauntlet of elite offenses (remind you of the 2000 Super Bowl run?) led by Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning. The Ravens have faced three of those teams this season and are 1-2 against them with the two losses coming against the Broncos and Texans, both of which beat the Ravens by a significant margin.

I am going to predict a Ravens victory. The Ravens are a better team and have a lot to play for. Dont forget, Ed Reed’s future uncertain as well. Ray Rice will have two hundred plus all-purpose yards and several touchdowns.

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No Matter What Happens in Cincinnati, a Difficult Road Lies Ahead

Posted on 27 December 2012 by jeffreygilley

The Ravens schedule in 2012 has been among the toughest.  The Rams tied the Ravens with the fourth strongest schedule and the Browns, Broncos, and Giants were the only teams with stronger schedules.

The Bengals will line up against the Ravens with a lot to prove.  They have vastly improved after a three and five start and the defense has led the charge.

The Ravens’ offensive line played very well last week against the Giants but the Bengals have pass rushing threats at the defensive tackle position where as the Giants do not.  Therefore, look out for the matchup between Marshal Yanda and Atkins, it will be a great one to watch!

If the Ravens beat the Bengals, they would need help from the Dolphins who would have to beat the Patriots in Fox Borough for the Ravens to claim the third seed in the AFC.  Unfortunately, this wont happen so the Ravens will most likely host Andrew Luck and Chick Pagano in the wild card round.  Many are predicting a Ravens victory but the Colts are a very good team.  The Ravens would have to lean on the run game seeing as the Colts rank 30th against the run.

If the Ravens beat the Colts and the Patriots beat the Bengals (which is likely), the Ravens would have to travel to Houston to play the Texans who have only beaten the Ravens once in their history which was earlier this season.  The Ravens season might just end there and if they get past the Texans, the Ravens would host  a rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season.

The Patriots and Texans are arguably the best two teams in the NFL.  The Ravens would have to beat both of them to reach the Super Bowl.  But with Ray Lewis coming back for the playoffs and the defense getting healthier, anything is possible.

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Harbaugh makes the right call by playing to win in Cincinnati

Posted on 25 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

The Ravens are heading to Cincinnati for a football game on Sunday.

And they’re going to try and win.

As they should.

There will be plenty of people this week who suggest that John Harbaugh should rest the bulk of his starting 22 for the upcoming season finale against the Bengals.  Those folks will say “No way New England is losing to Miami” or “There’s no reason to risk a starter in a game that doesn’t matter” or “The number one goal is to be healthy for playoffs.”

Those are also the same folks who strolled into M&T Bank with a smirk on their face back on December 2 when Charlie Batch led the Steelers to town and said to anyone who would listen, “We’re not going to lose to Charlie Batch, obviously.”

Full disclosure: I was one of those people…but I didn’t have a smirk on my face as I walked into the stadium.

But I won’t be one of those goofs this week who recommends that the Ravens lay down in Cincinnati.  John Harbaugh hasn’t had the greatest December of his coaching career, but he’s getting this one right.  He must direct the Ravens to head to the Queen City fully intent on winning the game and, perhaps, securing the number three seed in the AFC.

To do anything else other than put your best AVAILABLE team on the field would make zero sense.

The word “available” above is in ALL CAPS for a reason.  Harbaugh shouldn’t play anyone who wouldn’t normally play in the game.  In other words, you simply put the 53 men out there who are healthy enough to play in an NFL game.  If Anquan Boldin’s shoulder is sore and he can’t practice Thursday and Friday, you sit him out of the Cincy game.  But if he practices and can play, he suits up and plays.

Saying “they should rest the guys who are banged up” is silly, because you’d be telling about 15 players not to play on Sunday. At this time of the season, nearly every starter or 35-snap a game back-up has an ailment that could use a couple of weeks of rest.  But, as the saying goes, there’s no rest for the weary.

So, Harbaugh should treat this game just like he plans for an early October contest.  The 53 players who can go, go.


Because as far as the Ravens go, the most important thing for them in the upcoming post-season can be summed up in two words.  “Home Field”.  I’ve paid attention to the Ravens this season and they’re nothing if not completely mysterious on the road.  At home, they’re a threat to beat anyone.  Away, they’re liable to stink it up worse than the Rolling Stones did at the 12/12/12 concert for Sandy relief.

They will either go into the post-season as the 3rd or 4th seed.  That means the maximum amount of home games they can play in the playoffs would be two.  They get a home game on either Jan. 5 or 6, then play on the road the following weekend if they win the opener in Baltimore.  Somehow, if the wild card teams win their games (which, if you check over the last five years, happens enough to never say never), the Ravens could wind up hosting the AFC title game.  Remember back in 2006 when the Colts beat the Ravens in Baltimore?  Guess who hosted the AFC championship game the following week when New England – the four seed – eliminated San Diego?  Right…the Colts.  Guess who went to the Super Bowl and won a couple of weeks after that?  Correct again, if you said “Colts”.

So — while the possibility still exists that your team could host the AFC title game, you go 100% in an effort to better your position on the chance you wind up getting the championship game in your building.

It’s that simple, really.

(Please see next page) 

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court storm

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MSB Trend Report: Who’s Storming the Court and Who’s Courting the Storm?

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s the MobTown Sports Beat, Tuesday Trend Report. It’s our appraisal of who’s balling and who’s falling in the world of “sports futures”.



Five on the Rise – Here’s who’s balling



Deron Williams


As everyone focuses on Dwight Howard and where his fortunes may lead him after this season (or at the trade deadline) the Nets are just quietly hoping that they’ll be able to retain Deron Williams, and use the allure of his services to land Howard too. Williams however seems intent on testing the waters of free agency, and may feel compelled to return home to Dallas and join the Mavericks or to land wherever he sees the best chance at winning and being happy. On the way there, Williams is showcasing all of the reasons why he should be the hottest commodity headed to free agency at season’s end.


After helping to jumpstart Lin-Sanity in its early stages, Williams responded to the hype in his second chance against the Lin led Knicks with 38 points and 6 assists. Since then Williams has handed out 8, 12, 8 and 7 assists in his last 4 games respectively, the last accompanying an incredibly efficient 57 points against the Charlotte Bobcats.


Williams is clearly peaking at just the right time.



Peyton Manning


As the Colts brace for the most anticlimactic $28 million decision in history, it seems that the Manning camp is at least giving them something to think about. Over the last day or so, allegedly unauthorized video of Manning throwing at Duke University has mysteriously surfaced, showing the QB’s arm and skills in a good light. It’s inconceivable that the latest “news” has done anything to sway the Colts’ decision, nor should it, but it’s at least an indication that Manning is on a better course than some have suggested to this point.



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NFL Hot Seat Rankings

Posted on 02 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

The end of another NFL season and the beginning of a new calendar year is sure to bring change as unfilled goals and promises demand accountability. Continue Reading

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Two days later: I’ll be the lone voice — it didn’t look like the Colts wanted to win on Sunday

Posted on 13 December 2011 by Drew Forrester

I decided to give it two full days before I brought the subject up here at “Two Days Later”.

I’ve looked, listened, watched and still…nothing.

No one has brought it up.

Except for me.

And that either makes me completely off-base — or I’m simply the only one willing to point out that there’s a big white elephant in the room and, accordingly, offer some evidence for what I saw this past Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts came to town.

I’ll say it:  I absolutely don’t think the Colts wanted to win the game on Sunday in Baltimore.  Yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying.  It looked to me like Indianapolis wasn’t trying to win the game.

While most NFL followers consider the #1 pick in the college draft to be an albatross no team REALLY wants, it would seem the Colts are hell-bent on “earning” that distinction in time for the 2012 draft, otherwise known as the “Andrew Luck gets to learn from Peyton Manning for two years” jam session.

I understand this smacks at the entry-level qualification for a professional sports event to be considered a “professional sports event”.  In other words, for it to be a game that “counts”, per-se, both teams have to be trying to win.  That’s the most minimal starting point for any competition — are YOU trying to beat ME?  And vice versa.  If so, we got ourselves a game.

I don’t think the Colts were trying to win on Sunday.  In case you haven’t seen the standings recently, our friends in Indianapolis have a stranglehold on that #1 draft pick if they just keep losing.

I watched the game with my own two eyes from the comfy confines of M&T Bank Stadium.  I watched carefully.  The Indy skill-set players on offense — that means anyone, except the center, who has a chance to touch the ball — were absolutely invisible until about two minutes remained in the game.  I observed them all.  It was a mass-mail-in effort from every one of them on the offensive side of the ball.  Wayne, Garcon, Collie, Clark, Addai, Brown…none of them put in a half day’s work, let alone took a lunch hour.  Dan Orlovsky was the sacrificial lamb who perhaps wasn’t in on the joke, but he traded his legitimate effort for poor play.  I think Orlovsky tried — he just wasn’t any good.

But the guys who most affected the game from the standpoint of offense had ZERO impact in 58 minutes.  Prior to their final series that generated 76 yards, the Colts had only 91 yards of TOTAL offense for the entire day.  And I’m not sure how they produced that much, honestly.

Go around the league and start HONESTLY assessing all the teams and their skill-set players minus their quarterback.  Just breeze through the rosters and look at wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.  You’ll be surprised how many of those teams have inferior skill-set players to those the Colts have.  Jacksonville, St. Louis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Washington, Oakland…I’ve just rattled all five.  Keep playing at home if you want.

Does no one else find it odd that a team loaded with high-efficiency offensive players is 0-13?

Is the NFL not interested in looking into the subject at all?

I’m being completely serious here — does the NFL not see 0-13 and 62-7 losses and 91 yards of total offense for 58 minutes and ask themselves, “Is something fishy going on in Indianapolis?”

If they’re not at least ASKING that question, there’s something fishy going on there, too.

I don’t know what they’d find, if anything.  I’m completely aware that intentionally losing a game or games — or at the very least, not TRYING to win — is extremely difficult to pull off, but I will take this opportunity (please see next page)

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Laughable effort from Colts helps Ravens to 24-10 win

Posted on 11 December 2011 by Drew Forrester

In my ten seasons covering Ravens football for WNST, I’ve seen some pretty poor offensive performances from the visiting teams.

But I’ve never seen a more pitiful effort – the actual effort put forth – than the one turned in by the Indianapolis Colts offense on Sunday.

If the league isn’t investigating the Colts, they’re not paying any attention.  Here’s the laundry list as I saw it on Sunday as the Ravens waltzed past Indianapolis, 24-10.

Reggie Wayne — mailed it in

Pierre Garcon — half an effort

Austin Collie — not interested

Donald Brown — didn’t break a sweat

Dan Orlovsky — made Kyle Boller look like a Hall of Famer

It was a junior varsity effort at best from the winless Colts, who clearly aren’t REALLY trying to win football games.  Whether or not that’s an edict from the front office is something we’ll never know, but watching them play in Baltimore revealed an ugly side of the game that you only see when no one on one side of the ball puts forth much effort.

The Colts somehow managed to score a touchdown in the game’s final two minutes, long after the outcome was decided.  The only story from the game was just that — a Colts touchdown on the final play meant the gamblers who took the Ravens minus-17 points wound up a loser.  And that, my friends, is why they build large, gaudy, half-billion hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.

Prior to that final drive that netted them their only touchdown, the Indianapolis offense had managed to compile a grand total of 91 yards…for the entire game.  Nope, not a typo.  91 yards in 57 minutes or so.  They then put up 76 yards to move down the field and end the game with a last-second TD, but don’t let that get in the way of the facts.  The Colts offense didn’t try on Sunday.

That the Ravens won the game 24-10 would give some indication that perhaps the game was close.  It was only close until Dan Orlovsky rose from his downtown Baltimore hotel bed on Sunday morning and proclaimed himself fit to play.  The Colts would have been far better off signing Gilligan to play quarterback for them on Sunday.

I understand Peyton Manning is really good.  I’ve seen enough of him to know that the Colts are a vastly different team when #18 is behind center.

But he’s not so good that the Colts can’t win one game without him.

That said, it’s hard enough to win in the league if your team IS trying…let alone when you pack it in and don’t put forth an effort like the Indy offense did on Sunday.

Hopefully these last two weeks against Division III teams like Cleveland and Indianapolis won’t slow the Ravens down next Sunday night in San Diego when they face a real team.

Someone else from WNST.net will cover the details of Sunday’s win from the Ravens standpoint.  Luke Jones will have some words of wisdom about the greatness of Terrell Suggs, who set a single-season sack record with his 11th, 12th and 13th sacks against the Colts.  Nestor will have video footage from a joyous locker room.

I watched the game, like most of you, and just couldn’t get over how inept the Colts were from start to finish, except for the final drive where they got the bit between their teeth and decided NOT to set the all-time franchise record for least yards gained in a game.

The league should be ashamed.

The Colts should be embarrassed.

And the fans who sat through it, particularly those who eschewed the early departure and stuck it out until the final whistle, should be applauded.

The game was over in the first quarter when the Ravens went up 10-0.

But the real story played itself out all day, where the Colts basically went through the motions on offense to ensure they’d fall to 0-13 in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Even the old drunk Bob Irsay had to be shaking his head somewhere.





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