Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mike III's Domination Machine: The Return

Some thoughts from today's game on CBS...

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms always seem to broadcast a game like they're in the clubhouse chatting with the bartender before heading out for the back nine don't they? They always come off sort of bemused at what's going on with the game like they've had a bloody mary or two and now all they can remember was that great drive on 7, so they're always eager and happy despite the fact they're broadcasting a blowout.

For further evidence of this just check out Nantz's comment after Don Lee scored on a quick pass right up the seam in the second quarter. Nantz comes up with the gem "Donald Lee scores and instead of doing a Lambeau Leap, he did a Lambeau Lee!" Tell me, who says that except for a slightly tipsy guy having a good time with his friends?

The only difference between him and you is your friends would mock you for hours for saying that and Phil Simms treated it like a fart and ignored it... Also, he has used more styling products on his hair than you have hairs on your head...and he's rich...and slightly famous...Okay, frankly you are not a good comparison for Jim Nantz. Way to go and ruin the whole premise of my argument. Jerk.

I kind of like the blood red of the Red Zone indicator deal that CBS employs. A) It makes real life look more like a video game, and how could that ever be a negative? B) The red looks awesome. Just a great color there. Truly. I can't decide if I should stop rambling about color choices or keep going until I get some ads from HGTV or something here.

The Run Game

The playcalls continue to be run-heavy. I'm assuming this is due once again to Aaron Rodgers' bum shoulder because Ryan Grant clearly hasn't earned this sort of trust. His 33 carries last week were great and helped us control the game, but 2.7 yards a carry isn't going to do it most weeks. Grant had an early fumble that somehow, magically, Korey Hall recovered to keep an early drive going but was otherwise solid.

A second straight game with more than 30 carries, and this time for more than 100 yards AND his first TD of the year makes me happy. Grant, just by being a vague threat, made the Colts honor the run and they got bit on a number of playaction passes as a result. Since Rodgers can only throw it 25 times a game apparently it's handy when they do go well.

I just want to reiterate something. When Grant gives us something, anything, this offense looks like it can be big time. That's a good feeling going into the bye.

The Bold Choices

Clearly the coaching staff came into this one thinking that their defense wasn't going to be up to the challenge. I'm not necessarily arguing with that assumption mind you, but Mike III's choices were bold and thoughtful and I liked them all, despite the fact that they didn't always work.

After our initial drive, and 3 points off the leg of Mason Crosby, we went for an onsides kick in the 1st quarter. It caught the Colts completely off guard, but the ball went out of bounds. At this stage in the game that's just a 5 yard penalty, so no real harm was done. I really liked the aggressiveness, even if it was because we felt the Colts were going to score whether they went 80 yards or 40.

In the 2nd quarter the coaches again went for the throat. This time, on 4th and 1 near midfield, Ryan Grant picked up 7 on the stretch to the right side. The drive ended with a touchdown and a 10 point lead for us. This team always seems to respond when challenged, I wish coaches did it more often.

As further evidence of the "Challenge = Success, Safe play = Disappointment" corollary I give you our clock management at the end of the half. With about 20 seconds to play we decided to run the clock down to 8 seconds and have Crosby try a field goal. It was just a 36 yarder, but it seems that anytime we just stop trying and say "Crosby will hit it" we virtually guarantee that he will not, in fact, hit it. He pulled it wide left. Instead of being up 20-7 against a team that scored 3 td's in 5 minutes just a few weeks ago we went into the half up by 10.

The Defense

I don't know if the guys on D looked at the gameplan and thought "hey, screw this, they're basically saying we suck right now, let's go show 'em!" but man, they showed 'em. Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole swatted down at least 3 Peyton Manning passes at the line. I love it when this happens. The QB just gets that "who farted" look on his face when he realizes the wasted opportunity, the camera man always seems to fight off a seizure to keep the play in frame and I get to watch 300 pound individuals jump around like little kids. It's awesome.

With just about 6 minutes left in the game Chuck Wood was sitting in his own end zone, clearly upset with Aaron Rouse. Rouse had, at the last moment, jumped in front of Chuck and his man to try for an interception but then dropped it. I can't read lips but I'm fairly confident Chuck may have mentioned something like "Say, fellow, if you are not certain that you will intercept the wayward pass from Mr. Manning in the future please stay the heck out of my way, as I have Heisman hands and would surely have caught that ball."

Just about a minute later Rouse jumped a pass to Anthony Gonzalez in the end zone and returned it 99 yards for the score. This pretty much sealed up the game, even with the Colts ridiculous scoring bursts, and was the perfect response to Chuck's concern.

Much earlier in the game, the first drive of the second half to be exact, Nick Collins took a tipped ball from Reggie Wayne and returned it 60 yards for a TD as well. It's impressive that, despite all the injuries and shuffling and whatnots that this D continues to be a threat to score. I've been disappointed in them for a lot of things this year, but this trend is nice. We have actual playmakers in the secondary.

The Unnecessary Shot

Do you think that Derrick Frost went to his teammates this week and gave them a fiery speech? I mean, the dude is a punter who has a really, really difficult time punting well. So, instead of actual learning how to kick maybe he just convinced the fellas to play so well that his services wouldn't be needed til the 4th quarter? I'm just spitballing here but it makes some sense right? I mean, it's not like he still has the job because of his punting ability right?

The Win

Green Bay 34 - Indianapolis 14

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