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Stillers-Colts Postgame Analysis and Grades

November 29, 2005 by Still Mill

Colts , Stillers 31 ���
Colts 26, Stillers 7 ���. Nov. 28, 2005 ����Game #11


Stillers-Colts Postgame Analysis and Grades


The Stillers fought decently throughout most of the first half, but faltered a bit late in the 2Q and gave up 2 FGs for a 16-7 Indy halftime lead.In the 2nd half, led by Billy Cowhard�s ill-fated decision to start off the half with an onsides kickoff, the Stillers folded like a tablecloth and were dominated, en route to a thorough 26-7 assbeating administered by the Colts.




QB:Benji returned after the 3-week hiatus, and was rusty and skittish early on.He missed an open Ward on a simple flag on the 1st drive, and was also tentative in the pocket.He did get more comfortable, but also threw 2 critical INTs.He was picked by Doss on a poor pass on the run after being flushed to his right.�� This was particularly costly, as it set up Indy for a huge FG as the half expired.It was doubly costly, because there was an acre of wide-open running room that Benji could have run through for an easy 1D and a step OOB.Ben also threw a poor INT in the 4Q, on a lollipop lob to Wilson that was picked by David.There was also a poor curl to Ward that was dropped by LB Gary Brackett.Benji also missed a wide open Miller down the left-side on a 2d & 3 dump to Parker in the 3Q.Ben did have a perfect strike to Ward for the lone TD, and also made a superb play on 3d & 11 in the 4Q, scrambling to his right and throwing deep on the run to Wilson for a 35-yard gain.C+.


RB:Parker got the start, but Whisenhunt and Cowher soon went to a grab-bag committee approach, with Bettis and Staley getting some carries.None of the backs shone at all.The Doughboy had 9 yards on 6 carries, and Staley had 6 yards off 3 rushes.Parker ripped off a nice 24-yard run in garbage time.Parker had 4 grabs, mostly on short dumpers.Haynes did not dress, which ultimately could hasten his departure as a FA in the offseason.C.


FB: Kreider had the best run of the game (in non-garbage time) for the Stillers, gaining 7 yards on a quick-hitting plunge.He didn�t play all that much and his blocking impact was minimal.B-.


WR:It was a very quiet night for the WR corps.�� Ward had 3 grabs for 28 yards, including a 12-yard TD.Morgan had 1 grab for 7, and failed to get OOB on this reception late in the 2Q.Wilson had 3 grabs, including the 35-yard grab.El, the best RAC threat on the fast turf of the RCA Dome, was limited to 2 grabs for 5 yards, which had to be the root of his sideline frustration that was shown on ABC TV.�� C+.


TE:Miller had 4 grabs for 26 yards.He was used extensively in the 1H as a blocker, and stood on the sidelines all too often in the 2H while the Stillers used Morgan and Wilson in their multiple-receiver sets.B.


OL: The O-line had an entirely shoddy evening.MaxiPad Starks was as worthless as a used tampon, getting continually whipped and abused the entire evening.Quite simply, he was absolutely atrocious.He allowed Brock to dip inside him for a Parker loss on the first series, and continued with piss-poor slop thereafter.He even got bullrushed by backup DE Josh Thomas in the 4Q, giving up a sack in pitiful fashion.But Starks wasn�t alone in the stumblebum department.KenDoll Simmons got tooled quite a bit, plus he committed THREE false starts, including 2 in succession in the 1Q.He was manhandled by Corey Simon deep in Stiller territory in the 4Q, forcing a quick dumpoff.It�s entirely obvious that this right side of the line has to be overhauled in the off-season.Faneca was totally abused by lowly Montae �Alex� Reagor in the 1Q, resulting in a 3D sack.If Faneca makes the Blo Bowl, it will be entirely on reputation.Marvell Smith was thrown around like a rag doll by Freeney, before Smitty succumbed to an ankle injury (or a sore ass; we�re not sure) in the 2Q.Rookie Trai Essex fared no better, getting steamrolled in hilarious fashion by Freeney that resulted in a sack that was negated by a Freeney facemask of BenRoth.He also had 2 false starts.Hartings had a costly �low block� while making the stop on Doss�s INT return, but I won�t fault him for busting his tail and for what is actually an asinine rule in the rulebook.(I understand that the �return team� should be punished for a low block, but the �defensive� team at that point isn�t blocking; they�re trying to tackle the ballcarrier.)All in all, for a team that brags about how vaunted its O-line is, this unit played like complete and utter dogshit tonight.D-.


DL:The D-line had an ok evening.They bottled James at times, though, at times, they allowed him to pop through for those key 6-8 yard gashes.There was some harassment of Manning, though obviously not nearly enough.There was a lot of subbing, plus the use of some 2-lineman defenses.Aaron Smith had a strong all-around game.This unit was far less responsible for the loss than most of the others.B-.


LB:The LB corps, once again, had very, very little impact on this game.Foote was slow and feeble on Wayne�s RAC on the 2nd series, allowing a huge RAC for a 19-yard gain.He was also poor and sloppy on James� cutback run late in the 1Q.Foote and Farrior had an inordinate number of missed tackles of James, especially when they had their mitts on James but failed to deliver the blow and failed to fully wrap.Big Joey Porter had a strip of Manning, but this was while he had the luxury of facing TE Dallas Clark in a solo blocking assignment.Big Joey did all his hitting during a pregame confrontation with Thornton, but facing LT Tarik Glenn, Porter did nothing the entire evening.Haggans was pretty active and had a decent game.He had some pressure, although he was held on more than a couple occasions by Diem, with no flag.Like the O-line, this crew badly let the team down with a subpar evening.C-.


DB:lke Taylor felt the burn marks quite early, getting abused on the very first play while stopping to peek into the Indy backfield on a playfake, which resulted in an easy 80-yard scoring strike to Harrison.Ike was also flagged for a PI on a short slant in the 1Q.The secondary regrouped after the 1Q and played okay, though Tyrone Carter and Chris Dope were both slow to react and overtly clumsy on the Fletcher TD in the 3Q.Carter had the underneath coverage and looked as confused as nun at a hash party, while Hope had the �top� coverage and failed to bust up the play.Pola had a big INT in the 1Q, and then added a huge return to set up the Stillers for their lone TD.But he, too, missed a litany of hits and tackles.McFadden was schooled early and often on underneath routes by Wayne.Manning threw 25 times for 245 yards, which was a decent effort by the secondary.But the height of sadness was the fact that the best safety on the field tonight was, by far, Bob Sanders, who grossly outclassed both Pola and Hope.C+.

Spec teams:Another lousy game by the STs, which is pretty much a basic staple of Billy Cowher.Gardocki punted like vomit.He had 2 critical opportunities to pin the Colts deep, but boomed his first punt into the EZ and launched a 3Q punt into the EZ as well.The 1Q punt was critical, as on the very next play, Manning went deep to Harrison for the 80-yard bomb.Perhaps if pinned down on their own 2-yard line, the Colts don�t go deep.Jeff Reed should have relished the chance to kick on the turf, inside a dome, but instead had a miserable evening.He was just-wide left on a 41-yard FG try in the 2Q, which would have knotted the game at 10.He also had a pathetic onsides KO attempt to start the 2H, booting a weak dribbler that was well short of the required 10 yards.The guy looked like he�s never, ever practiced an onsides attempt before.There was shitty punt coverage on the Stiller punt in the 2Q, which Walters fielded and ran for 13 yards to set up the Colts at the Stiller 36.Four plays later, without making a 1D, Indy kicked a critical FG.Sean Morey was flagged for running into the kicker on a PAT.The lone bright spots were El�s 19-yard PR, and a decent KO return by Morgan, who then drew a flag for a late hit as he ran OOB.C-.


OC:Ken Cheezenhunt showed us everything we needed to know about him.Going against an entirely malleable defense that Cinci riddled last week, Cheezen had no game plan whatsoever.Remember, defense is the weak sister of this Indy team, yet all The Cheeze Man could muster was 7 points.This was a classic grab-bag effort, as the offense had no identity and no purpose.It�s as if Cheezenhunt simply pulled plays out of an empty box of Cheeze-Its.It�s hard to believe, but true � had this offense generated more than the paltry 75 total yards in the 1H, the Stillers may have gone into the locker room with a lead.FIVE 3-and-punts in the 1H, which is inexcusable. The failure to get Randle El involved was bizarre.Here you have a dangerous receiver and runner, tailor made for the turf of the RCA Dome, and Cheezen basically wrote him out of the entire game plan.Two measley passes to El, and no use of El as a QB or a ballcarrier on a reverse.The 5 false starts, as well as Ward�s illegal formation penalty, must be at least partially attributed to the OC, whose preparation was obviously piss poor.The QB draw on 4th & 4 -- with a QB just coming back from a knee scope -- was as clever and imaginative as a toddler doodling with a crayon on a paper plate.The lone scoring drive traveled all of 7 � SEVEN � yards.Reviewing the game, you�ll see there were zero toss sweeps, zero reverses, zero misdirection plays, and zero influence plays where Indy�s speed was used against them.This was a classic example of an OC smugly going into a game, haughtily thinking his offense was simply going to pound the ball up the gut for 7 yards chunks on each and every down, not entirely dissimilar to the gameplan versus NE in last year�s AFCC.Very, very poor.�� F.


DC:LeBeau regrouped after yet another horrendous opening, score-giveup drive � which was something like the 8th of the season � and limited the Colts thereafter to just 1 TD and 4 FGs.Unfortunately, his tacklers weren�t up to the task of stopping James, and the pressure and smacking of Manning was all too infrequent.Lastly, a huge knock on Dick and DB coach Darren Perry -- how in the hell does Ike Taylor peek into the backfield on the opening play of the game??�� If Manning�s PAP work wasn�t drummed into every defender�s head at least 96 times during the week, then Dick and Darren failed.�� C+.


HC:Billy Cowher is supposedly the grandmaster of getting his teams fired up for prime time TV, but on this evening, with a chance to knock off the unbeaten Colts, they bowed out with barely a whimper.The intensity and hitting was marginal, at best.The defensive tackling was flaccid and feeble.The offensive gameplan, which Bilbo presumably approved, was a stinking pile o� shit.The plethora of pre-snap penalties showed a distinct lack of focus and preparation.As ABC showed, Cowhard�s team has had the incredible luxury of playing the least number of games, by far, in domes the past several seasons, and it showed.The decision to conduct the onsides KO to start the 2H was dubious, at best.Then Cowhard immediately follows up that riverboat gamble, trailing 23-7, by PUNTING on 4th & 7 at the Indy 37.How the hell do you try an onsides KO, down 16-7, but then on the next series, punt from the opponent�s 37-yard line while the score is 23-7??Then there was the excessive grabass on offense late in the game, in which the Stiller �O� showed no urgency, and on the last possession, simply plunged the ball on all of its final 5 plays. You�d think Cowhard would want to get his QB and WR corps to get some work as well as send a message to the entire offense, since all they could do was muster 7 piss-ant points.Instead, the dimbulbed Cowher was more than content to do nothing but throw in the white flag of surrender and do what he does best -- blindly and blandly plunge the football.Collectively, tonight was just another example of why Cowhard will never win a championship in the National Football League.D-.


Synopsis:If you read my pregame analysis, this beating unfolded the way I expected it to.The playoffs� home field is obviously lost, but all is not lost�not yet.Sure, it�s embarrassing to get whipped on MNF.But the Stillers need to learn from the litany of mistakes, and then quickly forget this whipping and focus on the Cinci Bungals, who come to town as the division leader this Sunday for a tilt that will likely determine the division champ.If they rebound, the Stillers can move on and wrap up the division title, but should they lose a 3rd consecutive game, this team will teeter and wobble down the stretch, in danger of missing the playoffs.



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