Thursday, February 7, 2008

Imagining the Game that Wasn't

After watching the Super Bowl, it got me thinking that had the Colts traveled to Foxboro for another AFC Championship, the result likely would have been the same as past failures there.  (Perhaps Ty Law would have run out of the stands and picked off Manning as well... just for old times sake.)

With Freeney gone for the season, the Colts had zero pass rush against the Chargers.  It showed in the inability to get the defense off the field on 3rd downs... allowing a conversion rate of 60% with zero sacks.  They managed to make Philip Rivers and Billy Volek look like winners... which they are not.  Without Freeney, Robert Mathis was less effective, and nobody else could gain any pressure.  This deficiency was camouflaged by the weak second half of the season:  KC, @ATL, JAC (the exception), @BAL, @OAK, HOU, TEN.

In the Super Bowl, the Giants were able to get to Brady:  he was sacked a season-high 5 times and knocked down 23 times.  He looked visibly rattled... perhaps the first time I've ever seen him look uncomfortable.

Brady sacked by Strahan

I was surprised by the Patriots blocking difficulty.  I've always considered that line to be the best in the league.  Indeed, they were 5th in sacks allowed, giving up only 21 in the regular season.  It's not an uncommon sight to see Brady standing in the pocket for obscene durations, knowing that nobody will ever touch him, then delivering the ball much later than most QBs can afford.

Supposing Tynes had missed again in the NFC Championship, or that Favre had not thrown such a terrible pickle in OT.  Would Green Bay have been able to pressure Brady enough to win?  I think not.  We'd be subjected to the misery of 19-0 history and the "Greatest of All Time" hype, and we wouldn't be able to deny it.  Thankfully, the only NFC playoff team that had the right tools to beat them, did just that.  And the Colts, would not have.

Here's wishing Freeney Godspeed in his recovery.

1 comment:

FilteringCraig said...

After having watched my second straight season of Colts games, I can understand you wishing Freeney a speedy recovery. I also think the Colts need to find a couple more pieces for that defensive line. One thing that I have learned as a football fan over time is that it doesn't matter who is playing linebacker or in the defensive backfield (for the most part) if the D-line is getting pressure on the QB. So, while the Colts will do better when Freeney gets back, I think they should also try and pick up a couple more pieces on that defensive line. I don't think you can have enough quality in that part of the field. Just ask the Giants.