Sunday, January 14, 2007

I can't say I'm surprised that the winner of today's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens allowed six points and produced four turnovers. I am absolutely surprised that it was the former and not the latter which produced this monumental performance. It seems that an accumulation of insults resulting from being 23rd-best in the league has spurred the Colts defense to two dominant victories. In two games, the Colts have allowed fourteen points, created seven turnovers and allowed just 370 yards of offense.

As for the game, it was filled with the dull, constant tension last seen about seven years ago in the 1999 NFC championship game. The Rams hosted the Buccaneers in what was, similarly, the league's best offense taking on its best defense. The result was that offense won, just barely, in a score of 11-6. The Rams and Buccaneers are also significant to this story because when the Rams shut out the orange-clad Buccaneers 9-0 in the 1979 NFC championship, that was the last time, until today, that a playoff game featured no touchdowns.

I don't know how to feel for Peyton Manning, for whom I've had a soft spot that grows with each brilliant regular season and each correspondingly pathetic playoff game. It's not that these two wins have been the result of Manning playing the sort of smart football that doesn't show in boxscores. In fact, Manning has been doing everything in his power to try and eliminate the Colts. His dramatic gestures at the line of scrimmage are, these days, nothing but dramatic irony. Everyone watching the game knows that throwing blindly into triple coverage off the back foot is moderately to severely disastrous. Manning, of course, is just playing a role, so give him a break.

At any rate Peyton, please act like a Pro Bowl quarterback next week and not a scatterbrained liability.

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