It’s been a good ride, but the young, wild and free Indianapolis Colts met the end of their season on Sunday in a 24-9 loss against the Baltimore Ravens. It allowed a loyal Baltimore fan base to say goodbye to their iconic hurricane linebacker Ray Lewis, and allowed America to say “Hello” to Andrew Luck and company.
The Colts just never got it going. The Ravens expertly disrupted the rhythm of the Colts’ offense despite having their own trouble getting the offense going when they had the ball. Later in the game the Colts really just needed someone to step up and make a play. I kept waiting to hear Reggie Wayne’s number, but all I really heard from him was a huge dropped pass, and a few miscommunications between Wayne and Luck. The Colts kept the game close, until their lack of execution caught up with them as the game was out of reach after a touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.
There was an air of disappointment for the young Colts team, but not defeat. They seemed well aware of the things that they had accomplished for the love of the game and their coach, and could see what we all can see in that they have only a brighter future ahead of them. I’m sure the Colt fan base shares the sentiment of brighter horizons as they have enjoyed a roller coaster ride of Super-Bowl contender to bottom-feeding irrelevance to building their arsenal again.
The only part of this dynamic Colts team that has some mileage is their defensive end tandem of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Freeney and Mathis have struck fear in OC’s eyes for over a decade and have nearly 200 sacks between them. The league used to think We just got Peyton off of the field, and now we have to deal with these two? Then it was At least Painter won’t do much against us while we deal with these two. Now it’s We just had Luck grab the lead on us late in the game, and we have to deal with these two? The latter will likely remain the league consensus for a couple of years, but even the greatest ends of all time rarely put in more that 12-13 year careers, as the position is just too demanding.
Luck’s offense has proven that there won’t be much waiting on the learning curve before the Colts start winning games, so I’m sure that Mathis and Freeney will be some of the first to strap on the pads come August. There probably isn’t another team more anxious for the spring and summer to end to get back on the field and try again. The fans will be there, donning their new Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton jerseys on the edge of their seats. Pagano will be there, hopefully with a clean bill of health, and will likely bring an energy with him that will really take this Colts team places.
The Ravens did exactly what they always do…the opposite of what you thought they would. Much like the Eagles, the Ravens always seem to win games you think they won’t or lose games that they shouldn’t. In Sunday’s case they won a game handedly in what everyone thought would be a close one. This year’s postseason has soap opera drama written all over it. The divisional round is primed to see the matchups that everyone wants to see. It’ll probably go something like this:
-Peyton leads a late game winning touchdown drive to beat the Ravens
-The 49ers lose the ball on special teams and let the Packers advance
-The Seahawks let Matty Ice score 14 on them before scoring 28 unanswered
-The Patriots go down early to the Texans only to storm back and win by 20
-Classes, work, and all government services are closed as Peyton and Brady face off in the AFC Championship, Brady beats Denver on the first play in OT.
-The Packers and the Seahawks play a hard-hitting shootout as Rodgers finds James Jones for the game-winning touchdown on his signature rollout of the pocket and pass downfield
-Then finally we get the Super Bowl matchup that everyone has been dying to see in Rodgers versus Brady and regardless who wins the NFL eclipses 11 billion in revenue
Alright fine, it might not go exactly like that. However, the Packers-Patriots matchup has been pinching my guts all year. Lord knows Green Bay wants it, as does Foxboro. I’d love to see Matthews flex after flooring Brady and having Gisele scream like a Banshee from her skybox.
Speaking of Brady, I’m sure it’s been a relief to not have to deal with the horseshoes in the postseason, but it won’t be long before the Pats and Colts will likely meet again in January, maybe even February. The Colts season has been the most fun to watch of all the NFL teams this year. I was reluctant to join the Luck bandwagon, mostly because tanking games on purpose for a prospect makes me sick. However, it does seem like the ends justified the means in Indy. Go Luck! Go Colts! ChuckStrong!