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The Setup
Both teams came in at 0 & 1. Colts got waxed last week 46 - 9 by Rams. Cards blew a lead and lost in the 4Q to Detroit. Both teams consider this a "must win" contest. Injury-plagued ("Luckless") Colts will be start Jacoby (Who?) Brissett who's been in Indy barely long enough to shake hands with his teammates. The equally injury-jinxed Card and their fans are still trying to figure out: "Who are the Cards?"

The Lede
Cards Barely Escape Colts in OT


The Bottom Line:
The Badger saved the day intercepting a Brissett pass early in OT, after Phil Dawson blew a chip-shot FG attempt with 0:03 left in regulation with the game tied 13 - 13.

Colts won the toss in OT. (It gets complicated here - the latest regs giving both teams the chance to kick the winning FG come into play, but frankly, all this stuff makes my brain hurt). All I could be sure of was that the Colts had first crack at kicking the winning FG, and I wasn't sure how the rest of it worked out. But on the first play of the extra session, Tyrann Mathieu cut in front of K Aiken, picked off the pass and returned the interception to the Colt 21. Three plays later, Dawson didn't miss from the 12. His 30-yard FG was good. Cards pulled out a 16 - 13 squeaker.

Let's be honest - judging by the "intensity" of comments made throughout the ASFN game-thread:

"Carson Palmer should be benched"...."BA and SK Should be Fired"..."Both Teams Were Awful - Cancel My DirecTV Subscription"..."Bench All the Old Guys We Traded For & /Play the Rookies"...And, I must confess to being the idiot who tweeted "El Sticko-Forko" at halftime. Well, we won. It weren't pretty, but it does serve to show us that: "even when we suck, we have a shot at winning if we contain our mistakes and hang in there. Consider this game an ugly "teaching moment."

Cards are now 1 & 1. Colts are 0 & 2, but in many ways, the Colts looked like the better team. Card fans deserve a great big WHEWW! i

Game Recap
Cards looked butt-awful for most of the game, falling behind 10- 0 in the 1Q, 10 - 3 at halftime, still 10- 3 at the end of the 3Q only to tie the game 13 - 13 with 3:25 to play and having the opportunity to kick the winning FG with :03 still left to play only to blow it and go into OT.

Colts started a rookie (Brissett) at QB. The youngster looked better than Carson Palmer for most of the game and Colt receivers got open more often and did a much better job of holding onto contested balls than did Cardinal receivers - until part way through the fourth quarter, when Carson Palmer and his receivers seemed to get their sea-legs under them.

Cards caught up and tied the game 13 - 13 with 3:25 left in regulation with Dawson's missed FG at 0:03 forcing the game into OT. The Badger then saved the day on the first play of OT and set up the winniing FG by Dawson.

1st Quarter
  • Cards received. (First series wasn't televised). Run, sack, incompletion punt from 20. Punt returned to Indy 46. Brissett (who seemed unstoppable) put together a 14-play drive capped by a 5-yd TD run up the middle by Cardinal Killer Frank Gore. Colts 7 - Cards 0.

    K Williams returned the KO to the Card 18. Two short runs and an incompletion. Punt from Card 23 returned to Colt 40. Brissett managed to move his team to the Cardinal 28 where Vinatieri was good from 46. Colts 10 - Cards 0.

    TB on the KO. Cards moved to the Colt 8 as the quarter ended.

    1st Quarter Score: Colts 10 - Cards 0.

2nd Quarter
  • A 3rd down pass completion to Nelson moved to the Colt 1. BA "went for it" - Palmer's pass to Fitz was incomplete. Indy ball on their 1. Cards held them to three & out. Punt fair caught at the Card 37.

    Cards put together a 15-play drive ending in a 27-yd Dawson FG. A 9-yd TD pass to Nelson at the back of the end zone was reviewed and nullified - Nelson ruled out of bounds. Colts 10 - Cards 3.

    KO returned to the Colt 20. A sack by Mauro helped treat Indy to another 3 & out. Punt from their 24 out of bounds at the Card 28 with 4:05 till halftime. A sack of Palmer helped set Palmer's obligative "just before halftime" interception on a pass for Nelson.

    Colts took over on their own 35 with 1:22 on the clock. Card defense and an untimely offensive holding penalty helped run the Colts out of time at their own 47.

    First Half Score: Colts 10 - Cards 3.

3rd Quarter

  • Colts received. TB on the KO. (This is a point in a typical NFL game where taking a 2nd half kickoff and converting it into a score can influence the final outcome of many a game). Colts opened up with a 20-yard completion to B Williams, but Cards held them to a set of downs and forced them to punt from their own 48.

    Punt out of bounds at the Card 13. Cards went 3 & out and punted from their own 21. Punt returned by Colts to their own 25. They managed to move to the Card 44 but couldn't convert a 3rd & 2 and were forced to punt. Fair Catch at Cardinal 13. A 22 yd completion to Ellington moved the ball to the Card 41 but a sack of Palmer forced a punt from the Card 35. Return net a 10-yd penalty gave Indy the ball on their own 13.

    Brissett moved Colts to the Card 36 as the quarter ended.

    Third Quarter Score: Colts 10 - Cards 3.

4th Quarter
  • Colts moved deeper inside Card territory, where the Cards hung tough at their 11 and forced Vinatieri to kick 29 yarder to complete a 16 play scoring drive. Colts 13 - Cards 3.

    Colts back on top by 10 with 11:42 left in the 3rd quarter. KO net penalty on Ford gave Cards the ball on their own 15. Palmer moved his team in 6 plays to the Indy 45 where he completed a 45-yd TD pass to Nelson. (We're back in it). Colts 13 - Cards 10.

    KO returned to the Indy 24, but were held to 3 & out. Punt from the Indy 31 was fair caught at the Card 38. A completion to Nelson (who - if he could tip-toe - might have tight-roped down the left sideline for a score) picked up 31 yards put the ball in FG range at the Indy 22 with 3:28 left. Dawson's 40-yard attempt was good. We're all tied up.Colts 13 - Cards 13.

    TB on the KO. Brisset completed a 16-yarder to zhilton on the first play of the series. but Cards held them off and they punted 4 plays later. Punt from the Colt 43 was fair caught at the Card 15 with 1:56 left.

    After Palmer hit Golden for +29 on the first play, Colts held us off and we punted 4 plays later. Indy got the ball back at their own 13 with (gulp!) 1:22 left

    Cards held Indy to 3 & out and punted from their ow 13. Cards got ball back just short of midfield and managed to move to the Colt 24 in 3 plays. Just as Dawson appeared to kick a 42-FG with 0:03 on the clock, Indy "iced" it and forced Dawson to kick it again. This time, the attempt was wide right and we went into overtime.

    4th Quarter Score: Colts 13 - Cards 13.

Overtime

Colts received and returned the KO to their own 26. On the very first play from scrimmage, Brissett's pass for Aiken was intercepted by the Badger who returned it to the Colt 21. After moving to the Colt 12, Dawson attempted a 30-yd chip shot. This time it was good.

Final Score: Cards 16 - Colts 13

Notable Game Stats.

  • Passing: Palmer was 19 for 36 332 yards 1 TD and 1 Interceptions. (Brissett was 20 for 37, 216 yds, 0 TD's and 1 pick).

  • Rushing: C Johnson came in late but led Cardinal rushers with 44 yards on 11 carries. Kerwynn williams started the game but only picked up 22 yards on 6 carries, (Colts held to 76 yards on ground. "Cardinal killer" Frank Gore picked up 46 yds on 14 carries).
  • Card rush defense gave up 2.6 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 3.3)
  • Receiving: JJ Nelson led Cards with 5 grabs for 120 and a gorgeous 45-yd TD catch Jarod Brown followed up with 4 catches for 73 yards. Fitz and Elllington had 3 catches apiece.

    Turnovers: Even. Each of the two QB's threw one interceptions. Neither team lost a fumble.

    Penalties: Surprise! Watching the game, you'd assume that the Cards were penalized more than the Colts, but it turns out that the Cards were penalized 6 times and the Colts 8.

  • Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 25/36. (Ind: 29/37)

  • Kicking: Dawson was 3 for 4. Colt guy was 2 for 2.

    Net Punting Yards: Lee averaged 41.8. (Colt dude averaged (42.4)

  • Tackles: The "old man" (Dansby) led with 10 tackles followed by C Jones (7), Bethel (6 and Branch (6).

    Sacks: Total of 4: C Jones racked up 2 sacks. Bynes and Mauro each had one. Colts aso sacked Palmer four times.

    Interceptions: Each team had one pick: Palmer's obligatory "just before halftime" pick and the Badger's OT game-changer.

    Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 6 of 15 for 40%. (Colts: 8 of 18 for 44%).

    Red Zone Efficiency: Cards were 0 of 3 - 0%. (Colts were 1 of 2 - 50%).

    Time of Possession: Cards 28:49/ Lions 33:09

Bright Spots

  • We won.

  • Nelson - who on a previous play was ruled out of bounds at the back of the end zone - redeemed himself by outbattling 2 Colt defenders in the end zone at the tail-end of a 45-yard hookup - winding up with a team-leading 5 grabs.

    Chris Johnson seemed to have shaken off all the rust and may save our bacon as the Cards' new #1 RB.

    Chandler Jones (2 sacks) and Golden kept up pressure on Brissett.

    Hero of the Day - The Honey Badger. Is he truly "b-a-a-c-k?

    Bethel did OK (3rd in tackles).

    Dawson rebounded from being iced late in regulation to win the game in OT

    Biggest deal is that the Cards played what seemed to be the least-inspired game they've played in recent history, only to hang around land stay close long enough to turn things around in the 4Q and win the darned thing. (I've been used to seeing our opponents play uninspired football only to come back to beat us late. It's nice to turn things around for a change. Perhaps BA and his coaching staff can use this ugly victory as a "teaching event" that will help us win future nail-biters).

    Major injuries were zero or close-to-it (Gasped when Jaron B went down, but he came back and finished the rest of the game).

The Dark Side

  • We let a rookie QB and a patchwork of opposing backup linemen and receivers push us around at will early in the contest.

  • Palmer sacked 4 times

  • Their TE (Doyle) ran rings around our safeties and LB's - had 8 catches

  • K Williams did not have a good hair day.

  • Our DB's had trouble in tight coverage vs. Colt receivers on quick short and intermediate routes - often seeming to be a half-step late.

  • Despite the win - there are few if any NFL teams we can feel confident playing. The overall level of play must be elevated and remain consistently higher. (Some teams have been able to accomplish this in the past - but an equal number just settle into ruts of mediocrity).

Last Word:
We're 1 & 1 (but extremely lucky in doing so). We are not playing at the level of most of our opponents and will have to raise our game in order to be a solid competitor.

Biggest question has to be whether Cardinal weaknesses are "chronic" or whether they can be coached out of them. Can the OL get better? Will our WR's (aside from Nelson) catch more passes than they drop? Will we tighten up our ability to cover short/intermediate passes? Will Chris Johnson be the answer as Davd Johnson's replacement?

Clearly the team has the talent on paper to rise from the ashes to become a legitimate contender. But paper is cheap - individually and as a team - we've got to play better.

I hope our players view this nail-biting win as a "gift" that should not be squandered. (You've got a new lease on life. Don't blow it).

 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012