Andrew Luck, you’re our hero. RECORD BREAKING GAME! They say it’s a passing league, well blow me down as our quarter back has a bottler of a season! Vick Ballard had another blinder. TWENTY carries, the man is a work horse. Just as important as the yardage, he draws the defense to him, so while they are piling extra cover on Vick, Reggie and Donnie get a clearer run. Brian Arians, again your time management can only be described as a “RIPPER”.
So to all the amazing men and women that make up this great team, from this ocker downunder, a very sincere thank you!
Now for those that do read my blog, I hope you will join me in this Christmas prayer: “Dear God, as we gather to celebrate the memory of the birth of the baby Jesus, we thank you for our blessings and ask you continue to look after the people of the great city of Indianapolis and the people that work hard for its football team, which helps unite the this city. We also than you dear God, for the success that we have had this season but wish You to know, that in this time of miracles, we’d give it all up tomorrow to see the healthy return of our Coach Chuck Pagano. We pray for a peaceful and safe Christmas in Indianapolis and, indeed throughout America and the rest of this world You have created. Amen.
Rooting for the Colts a half a world away. Our resident Aussie blogger, Rob Zammit, is a veterinarian and dedicated Colts fan.
Posted in Voice of the Fans
Frank Capra would take one look at a script for the Colts 2012 season and say, “Nah, too far-fetched. An audience would never buy this story.” And yet the Colts have produced in real life a story that would have sounded utterly ridiculous had you sketched it out at the beginning of training camp.
Like “It’s a Wonderful Life” the Colts 2012 highlight film starts with an ominous beginning and moves through what could have been tragedy toward a story-book ending. But instead of George Bailey being helped out by an angel named Clarence, the Colts version has Bruce Arians, a career NFL assistant coach, being helped out week after week by a rookie named Andrew trying to earn his wings as an NFL quarterback.
When the Colts jettisoned over half their roster last off-season and hired a new general manager, Ryan Grigson, with no previous experience in the position, everyone wrote off 2012 as a necessary growing pain. You don’t overhaul your roster like that in the NFL, especially while being severely limited by the salary cap. You certainly don’t do it while breaking in a rookie quarterback, succeeding a legend, playing behind an offensive line anchored by a second year pro that hadn’t played a down together. And you don’t do it with a new coaching staff, headed by a coach, who like Grigson, had no experience at the position. If the Colts equaled their 2-14 mark of 2011, no one would be surprised.
But Grigson and his front office elves assembled a roster of cast-offs like Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski and players trying to recreate their careers like Donnie Avery. He sprinkled a Jerrell Freeman, who was a force north of the border, but hadn’t done anything to make the NFL take notice. In April, he added a draft class that would produce five starters out of 10 picks.
Then he handed all these parts over to Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians and Greg Manusky to see what they could make of them. Things looked promising in the preseason. The quarterback, Andrew Luck, amazingly began his career with a touchdown pass, just like the legend he was following. “He could be pretty decent,” everyone thought. “Maybe they’ll win six or seven this year.”
Then in week one the Chicago Bears introduced this motley assortment to the NFL. There was a lot of work to do. They beat the Vikings at home, but the Vikings were about as bad as the Colts were last year, so that couldn’t be counted as a great win. Then right before the bye, the Jacksonville Jaguars came to Lucas Oil Stadium and broke the Colts’ hearts with an 80 yard slant route to win the game right before time expired.
The young Colts were 1-2 heading into the bye week with the Green Bay Packers waiting on the other side. Things couldn’t be much worse. That was before Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.
Bruce Arians was introduced in an emotional news conference where Jim Irsay broke the news to the public. The Colts’ new head coach wouldn’t be fighting for wins. He was fighting for his life.
Suddenly football seemed an afterthought. The Packers were still coming in and with all the distractions surrounding Pagano, the Colts would be lucky to stay within four touchdowns.
In the first half, it looked like that would happen. The Colts headed to the locker room trailing 21-3. The only question was whether or not Arians could prevent the game from becoming a total rout.
It was at this moment, in that locker room, that Capra began writing the Colts’ script. Instead of limping home for the final 30 minutes and being 1-3, ChuckStrong was born. The Colts rallied with the spirit of their stricken coach and erased the Packers lead, emerging with a 30-27 victory.
From there the Colts won eight of their 11 games. All but one of those wins came by a score or less. Several games seemed lost, but the Colts dug deep, finding a mysterious strength and found a way to win.
Sunday’s win in Kansas City was just another part of this amazing story. The offense struggled. The defense was yielding huge chunks of yardage on the ground. Yet when the final gun sounded, there were the Colts, victorious and proud owners of the fifth seed in the NFL playoffs.
If the story ended there, we would all watch the credits roll and go home having enjoyed a wonderful show. But that’s not all. These Colts aren’t finished writing their story.
Chuck Pagano will return to work this week. He’s finished with his chemotherapy and declared fit to come back by his doctors. He’s won the battle for his life against leukemia. Now he will be on the sideline this week when the Colts meet the Texans in the season finale.
More importantly, he’ll be on the sidelines when the Colts take the field, most likely in Pagano’s (and the Colts’) old home of Baltimore in two weeks.
Whether they can continue to write additional chapters after that remains to be seen, but what they’ve come up with so far is nothing short of a miracle.
Yes, Colts fans, your team is in the playoffs. Believe.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
Intro: Each week Colts.com will take a look at the rest of the AFC South and review the previous weekend’s games.
Vikings 22, Texans 6
-Looking to lock home the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Texans could not overcome the leg of Vikings kicker Blair Walsh and a staunch Minnesota defense. Houston led 3-0 early in the first quarter before Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder hit tight end Kyle Rudolph for a three-yard touchdown later in the stanza. From there, Walsh would kick three field goals and the closest Houston would get the rest of the day would be 10 points late in the third quarter. A win next week for the Texans would still clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
NEXT GAME: @Indianapolis, Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Packers 55, Titans 7
-Coming off a short week after a Monday Night Football victory, the Titans struggled to find any rhythm against one of the NFC’s best teams. Running back Chris Johnson was held to just 28 rushing yards and Tennessee did not get on the board until 1:39 remaining when quarterback Jake Locker found wide receiver Kenny Britt for a two-yard touchdown reception.
NEXT GAME: @Jacksonville at 1:00 p.m.
Patriots 23, Jaguars 16
-The Jaguars did their best in trying to spoil home field scenarios for the Patriots on Sunday. Jacksonville jumped out to a 13-3 first half lead but turnovers plagued the Jaguars in the second half. In cutting the lead to 23-16 midway through the first quarter, the Jaguars twice drove inside the Patriots 12-yard line over the final eight minutes but quarterback Chad Henne was picked off twice. Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon continued his strong second half to the season with seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
NEXT GAME: Tennessee, Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
2012 AFC South Standings
Posted in Colts Blog
With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week Colts.com will take a look at how the first-year players performed.
Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had three catches for 18 yards on Sunday and brings his season total to 43 receptions and 500 yards. He ranks third on the team with three touchdowns.
Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard’s ran 20 times for 69 yards against the Chiefs. The 20 carries ties a season-high for Ballard and the rookie now has 736 rushing yards on the season.
LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday and finished the game with one tackle. The tackle came at the 10-yard line on the kickoff following the Colts touchdown to take a 20-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for two yards against the Chiefs. He also recovered a fumble in the first half. On the season, Fleener has 25 catches for 280 yards.
T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton’s had two catches for 34 yards on Sunday. Hilton ranks third on the team with 46 catches for 750 receiving yards and continues to the lead the team with six touchdowns.
Delano Howell, S: Howell played his fourth game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Chiefs.
Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 17-of-35 for 205 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on Sunday. His 4,183 passing yards is an NFL rookie record and he also tied a league record with his seventh fourth quarter comeback on the season. Luck also set a rookie record with 599 pass attempts in a season.
Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell was active but did not play on Sunday.
Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Chiefs.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bradley Sowell, Coby Fleener, Delano Howell, dwayne allen, LaVon Brazill, Nate Palmer, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog