So yeah, it is pretty tough to review a game after a frustrating loss like this, but here I am. I have a lot to say about this game...why we lost, what looked great, and what needs to change. I hope you all get into the discussion...follow me after the jump and we'll get started.
I'm starting with the coaching because to me, it is the biggest contributor to the loss yesterday. Here's my notes:
- Great defensive game-plan. We absolutely killed their run game and made them throw towards our talented secondary.
- Fantastic idea keeping Clark out of the picture. That was key to the success we did have against them.
- EPIC FAIL on not getting Cox some help in the 2nd half. Manning started to pick on him and just kept at it because we FAILED TO ADJUST. This is all on the coaches to me...they most likely don't score that last TD if you adjust.
- Another EPIC FAIL on how we started the game:
- Why do we insist on running bubble screens against a speedy defense? It is just stupid and expected. Indy is the LAST defense you want to throw your screen game at because they swarm so well and read so well.
- Why are we trying to establish the run against these guys when you O-Line isn't opening good holes and getting to the 2nd level to provide running lanes? If our WR / passing game is our strength, why don't we start the game out attacking?
- I agree with those who say that the team is not showing mental toughness. That is on the coaches to instill. Example: Cox should be watching the ball all the way into his hands before focusing on who is running toward him...this is a lesson he should be learning in training camp, not on the field.
- Indy wasn't doing anything to stop our passing attack...I don't see why you don't take the FG on 4th and 3, then either onside kick or stop their offense...at least then our team's emotions wouldn't be as deflated after repeatedly coming away with nothing in the RZ.
- Where was the blitz? I thought we were going to have an aggressive defense this year. I'm not seeing it and I think it is a poor decision. Our front 7 have already demonstrated their inability to create a pass rush on their own. We got to Peyton a few times, but too many times, just rushed 3 and let him pick us apart.
- The O-line is just SICK at pass-blocking. I really really am proud at how well they held up against the pass rush of Indy. They were superb in keeping our QB clean and for the most part have been all season long.
Kyle Orton can light it up and so can our WRs....maybe we should stress that in the near future.
- Let me also say his INT was all on him. It was a horrible read and he didn't even look the CB off or try to. The nicest thing I can say about that throw was that it was pathetic.
- On the flip-side, his play-action bomb to Loyd was fantastic. Again...what was that about a noodle arm?
- Our run blocking is as poor as our pass blocking is good. These guys just don't seem to be able to attack off the snap like you see from good running teams. We also don't have uber-talented RBs...they can get it done and make a guy miss, but not 2 or 3 at once...and that is what I see regularly. There is a hole, the RB goes to it only to get swallowed up at the 2nd level because no one is clearing the lane for them....this was even true with lead blockers.
- These guys did a great job playing physical ball. They straight-up were bruising the Indy receivers the whole game. It looked great.
- 1st game of the year where our run defense looked solid...helps to play Indy, but if we didn't stop them early, they would have exposed a run D that played poorly (see last week vs Giants)
- Cox can play in someone's pockets unless you have a QB that can throw perfectly placed passes. Really...Manning is a friggin stud QB. I can't believe how many times he threw it perfectly to his guy where we had no chance to stop it...placement, timing, UGH.
- Worth noting again...Cox needed help after Manning started picking on him. You can't keep doing the same thing with a rookie and expect it to work against Peyton. He's too good for that. Make him adjust...make him throw on someone else. He may still beat you, but at least you are making him work instead of just giving him easy yards and points.
- I would love to see more blitzing in 3rd and long. We've proven that we can get a team into an advantageous 3rd down distance, but we have also proven we will give them easy 1st downs over and over...happened in the Jacksonville game and multiple times against Indy.
- Okay, so we went from not giving up big run backs (mainly because we consistently were kicking off into the end zone) to muffing returns. I'm severely disappointed in Cox for that stupid drop. That was a key play of the game and a key reason we lost the little momentum we had (our defense at the time was establishing themselves very well).
- Willis holding call was weak...I like him catching the ball, not so much in ST this year.
- Here's what I want next week...not to notice the special teams at all. No big returns, no turnovers...just don't friggin contribute to losing the games please.
- Is anyone else curious to see what the Squid can do in the return game? I know he's not there because of the limit of active players, but I really don't want to see Cox out there anytime soon.