Colts 41, Saints 10
As a Colts fan, I am thrilled with the outcome of last night's game. Although it took the offense a while to get going, this is reasonably typical as Indy is a 2nd-half team. The defense looked fantastic, despite all of the off-season personnel losses. I do think that Manning got knocked down more often that he is used to, so I think the loss of Tarik Glenn definitely hurts. Tony Ugoh will come along, but for a rookie did pretty well. Freddy Keiaho's tackle of Reggie Bush through a blocker was amazing.
As a Boilermaker, I was really hoping for an offensive shootout so that Drew Brees would have a good game. Don't get me wrong, I wanted the Colts to win. But it is possible for a QB to have a great game but still lose. Brees completed 68% of his passes, so although the rest of his numbers aren't so hot (not to mention 2 interceptions and a fumble...ouch), he's on target for the most part. He even managed to catch one of his own passes! What hurt is that most of those passes were really short. I've heard criticism before that the Saints' wide receivers are a tad slow, so maybe Indy didn't have too much trouble covering the deep ball. But even on the short passes, it seemed like every time a Saint caught ball, he had a split second before being tackled by 4 Colts. The Colts' D is seriously fast. So I can't decide if the Saints just sputtered out last night, or if the Colts' defensive is really that good. I guess we'll find out in coming weeks.
But with the Saints losing, the Bears likely to lose at San Diego, and the Patriots certainly capable of losing to the Jets (although I did...ugh...pick the Pats to win), I'm quite hopeful that the Colts can repeat.
Scary moment when Joseph Addai went down on the first play of the game. I really hope that several people on the Colts' staff saw him lying on the ground and thought "I can't believe we cut DeDe Dorsey." Not to take anything away from Addai (I'm wearing his jersey as I type this), but I don't like the gamble that the Colts are taking with the running game this year. After definitively establishing last year that sharing the load between two running backs works really well, they aren't trying to do the same thing this year. It's like they are trying to force Addai to be Edgerrin James. I'm not saying that Addai can't do it, I'm just saying that he hasn't done it. He shared time in college, and he shared time last year - his rookie year. This is only his second year, and he's expected to be the entire running game. Kenton Keith and DeDe Dorsey both looked good in the pre-season, but both lack experience. Keith got his first carry in a regular season game last night. Running backs get injured, something the Colts ought to know well considering how long it took for James to get back to health. There are three running backs on the Colts' roster: a 2nd-year player, and two more undrafted rookies. I call that a gamble. I'm not necessarily saying they should have tried harder to keep Dominic Rhodes, especially given the off-field problems, but they almost certainly need to find an experienced RB to serve as a backup. I'd hate to see Addai's career get cut short because he got injured trying to carry too much of a rushing load. Not to mention that the offense needs to remain balanced in order for Manning to be effective. If the running game just isn't there, then the defenses can focus on taking out the passing game. Maybe in a year or two we'll look back and see this as a gamble that paid off, but I don't mind admitting that I'm very nervous right now.