Some weekend of heated action on the old gridiron!

Most significantly, to me at least, was the Colts going to Denver and, aside from shaky first possessions on both sides of the ball, completely controlling the game and escaping with a border-line shocking 11-point win.

I say border-line shocking because while many people this morning are acting like it wasn’t that big of an upset, there weren’t many people outside central Indiana picking a Colts win before kickoff.

It was a masterful performance on defense. Other than the early, long touchdown throw, they kept the Broncos in front of them all day. Even knowing the weapons that the Broncos had on offense, there was never a time in the second half where the game felt in danger. Denver’s receivers dropped too many balls. CJ Anderson got yards, but never gouged the Colts’ D. And Peyton was thoroughly awful.

It’s kind of a shame that Peyton played so poorly, and that today word is breaking that he played with a torn quad. Because that overshadows how well the Colts D, which sucked the last two months of the regular season, played. How solid the offensive line was in creating holes for runs and in protecting Andrew Luck. And how the Colts receivers made big catches time-after-time, in sharp contrast to the Broncos receivers. Luck wasn’t other-worldly, but he also did exactly what you have to do to win on the road in the playoffs. He was smart, tough, and the only mistakes he made were not crippling ones.

The Colts reward? A trip to Foxboro! Yay!

As for Peyton, this news that he played the last month with a torn quad adds an interesting angle to discussions of his future. It’s hard to see him going out on a performance like this. Especially if he was suffering from a relatively minor injury.[1] But the Broncos are facing serious free agency issues in the off-season. There’s no guarantee he’s going to have all the weapons he’s enjoyed the past two years back again. Forget being physically ready for another season. Is he prepared to break in a new series of skill players?

Right now I think it’s more likely that he does return for the 2015 season. But it would not surprise me if he hangs them up and decides to finally start making some money outside of football. He should look into making commercials. I bet he’d be good at that.

I really don’t know what to say about THE CALL in Green Bay. Dez Bryant caught that ball. Only the rules say he didn’t. I totally get Dallas fans being furious with the reversal. And I can totally understand the logic the refs used in overturning it. As Peter King wrote, it was the correct usage of a bad rule.

That call speaks to a bigger problem with instant replay. We want it to be quick and decisive. And most of the time it is. But fairly often it is a lengthy, messy process to get to the final judgement. And the legislation that instant replay forces makes coming to a decision more difficult.

I honestly think that’s a bigger problem in college basketball than in the NFL. There was a replay review at the end of the KU-Baylor game last Wednesday that took nearly five minutes. Two referees went over to the scorer’s table, waited for the replay to queue up, then watched it. And watched it. And watched it. Then they discussed it. Then they waved over the third referee to take a look. Then they huddled up and discussed again. Finally they ruled that the original call was correct.

It was a very close call. But should it take stopping play for five minutes to get it right? Shouldn’t refs be given a maximum time, from the moment they see the first replay, to either make a decision or stick with the original call?

Throw in all the fouling, substitutions, and time outs along with the one or two replay reviews that liter the end of a typical college hoops game, and the game is becoming damn near unwatchable.

THE CALL aside, Green Bay made some big damn plays in the fourth quarter to win. But they will be overshadowed by a ruling made on an instant replay.

Seattle-Carolina was interesting for awhile, but ended up about where I expected.

I missed most of the first half of the Baltimore-New England game, so when I tuned in the Pats had already made their first rally from 14-down.

I keep saying that this New England team doesn’t seem as good as their previous Super Bowl squads. But they sure do keep finding ways to win games. They are wonderful at making in-game adjustments. It seems like a different player steps up each week. And where Peyton Manning may be ending his career with a(nother) playoff whimper, Tom Brady is making huge plays in crucial moments again. He’s not going to hand the Colts the game this week like Peyton did yesterday.

I suppose the good news for the Colts is that they are due to win one in Foxboro in January. That’s about the only positive I can find right now.

As for tonight, I want the Ducks to win. I fear St. Urban is going to get the Buckeyes the win.

  1. Tearing your quad is no joke. But it’s not career-threatening, like blowing out your knee, or in Peyton’s case, suffering another neck injury.  ↩