Before I get to the game, my apologies for being an idiot. The Colts are not playing the New England Patriots this week as I alluded to in my preview column. The Colts are playing the Houston Texans this Sunday, and playing the Patriots in two weeks. This was a kind of a big flub on my part seeing that I based my “It's A Trap!” theory around the Colts looking past the 49ers and focusing on the Patriots. I apologize for my lack of research before I wrote the preview, and it won't happen again. For as much as I hate to say this, I'm glad that this game panned out like I said it would, that way I didn't end up looking like a complete idiot. Now, enough housekeeping, let's take a look at the game.
The Indianapolis Colts taking on the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday had all the makings of a trap game, and it certainly didn't dissapoint. The 49ers gave the Colts all they could handle; they lead the game through two and a half quarters. However, the Colts scored a touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter to pull ahead, and ended up staying there for good; winning the game 18-14. Peyton Manning went 31/48, for 347 yards but didn't throw a touchdown, which is the first time this year that he's been shut out of the end zone. Joseph Addai lead the Colts in rushing with 61 yards on 20 carries. Addai also took part in the only touchdown of the game when he executed a halfback option pass to Reggie Wayne for 22 yards. Wayne was the player of the game in my opinion; he caught 12 passes for 147 yards and the one touchdown thrown by Addai. For the 49ers, Alex Smith looked good in his first start of the season, going 19/32, for 198 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Frank Gore lead the team in rushing with 91 yards on only 13 carries and scoring 1 touchdown. Michael Crabtree looked stellar in his first start as a professional catching 6 balls for 81 yards.
I would say the underlying theme of the game was the lack points scored by the Colts when they entered into 49er territory. The Colts entered 49er territory 7 times on Sunday, coming away with 4 field goals, 1 touchdown, 1 punt, and the other time the Colts ran out the clock to end the game. Seeing that the team is averaging 28.1 points per game, their offensive performance Sunday was definitely subpar. For whatever reason, when the offense got in 49er territory, they struggled. Definitely give credit to the San Francisco defense, they were very stingy inside the red zone and kept their team in the game by not letting the Colts put up points. They also were able to do something that no other team had been able to accomplish all year; put pressue on Peyton Manning. Going into Sunday, Peyton Manning had only been sacked two times all year, but the 49er defense was able to put Manning on the ground 3 times and hit him a bunch more. At times, Manning looked uncomforable in the pocket, missing throws that he would normally make due to the pressure that the 49er defense was applying. The San Francisco defense also didn't allow the Colts' running game to get off the ground, with the Colts only gaining 60 yards on the ground all day.
From a defensive perspective, it was a tale of two halves for the Colts. In the first half, the 49ers could pretty much do what they wanted to on offense. Alex Smith spread the ball around very well, in particular he was able to find tight end Vernon Davis and rookie wideout Michael Crabtree for chunks of yardage at a time. Also in the first half, the Colts defense allowed 49er running back Frank Gore to score on a 64 yard run right up the middle, breaking at least three tackles in the process. Gore was able to rush for 80 yards and 1 touchdown in the first half. However, in the second half, the defense really buckled down for the Colts. The Colts only allowed 11 yards rushing to Gore and sacked Alex Smith 4 times in the second half. The defense was able to keep the team in the game while the offense struggled to get points. During the fourth quarter, the Colts defense capped off the day by sacking Smith on a pivitol 3rd and 10 from the 49ers' 35 yard line. This forced the 49ers to punt and give the Colts' offense the ball back so they could run out the clock and get the hard earned win.
Every good team needs a game like the Colts had on Sunday. A game where they weren't firing on all cylinders and needed to earn a victory the hard way. The Colts offense struggled putting points on the board and the defense had trouble stopping anybody in the first half. But for as poor as the Colts played, they still walked away with a win. This game was very important for the team's psyche in my opinion. This game shows the Colts that they can still win even if they play a B or C type game. Hopefully the Colts got their B or C type game out of their system, because in the next two weeks, A type performances will be needed. This Sunday the Colts play the 5-3 Texans, and in two weeks, in come the hated New England Patriots. If the Colts have the same B or C type game that they had this week, they're going to get their ASS's kicked by the Texans and the Patriots.
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Written by Andrew Gifford