Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ladies And Gentlemen...Dominic Rhodes

Okay...let me see if I understand this. With 2:41 left to go in the game, Manning hits Harrison for a touchdown to tie it up at 24. Houston then uses the next 2:41 to engineer a drive that brought them to the Colts 30, where they kicked a 48-yard field goal to win the game as time expired. The focal play in the drive was a David Carr pass for 17 yards to place the Texans in field goal range. This from David Carr, who had thrown for a whopping 146 yards in the game to that point?

The Texans were driving in that last 2:41 with an opportunity to win the game on a last-second field goal or a touchdown drive. The game was tied - a game that might not have been tied if Butterfingers Rhodes had not coughed up the ball on the first Colts drive of the day - on the second play from scrimmage. I missed most of the game because I was at work - please tell me that Butterfingers coughed up the ball because a fucking piano fell on him and there was no way that he could hold onto it. I bet that wasn’t it, though, right?

Take out the Rhodes fumble and the resulting Houston touchdown, and the next two Colts drives result in touchdowns, which would have given them the lead and the momentum and forced Houston to play from behind. That’s speculation, of course - maybe they give up a touchdown between the two they score, who knows? - but something that is not speculation is that the Rhodes fumble took the wind out of the Colts’ sails early in the game, and they played like lifeless clods for the rest of the day.

Apart from Manning and Harrison, who seem to have reignited some of the magic they had in years past, before the emergence of Reggie Wayne as the number one threat. Manning hit Harrison 8 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. In the first thirteen games of the season, Harrison had 6 touchdowns - he has had 5 in the last two games.

Following are the lines, on the year, for Joseph Addai and Butterfingers Rhodes:

Addai - 1017 yards, 205 carries, 4.96 yards per carry, 1 lost fumble
Butterfingers - 599 yards, 178 carries, 3.37 yards per carry, 3 lost fumbles

Why does Butterfingers still have a job? I just don’t get it. Why can’t the Colts bounce back from mistakes? I don’t get that, either, and I have wasted an inordinate amount of space in the blog-o-verse trying to figure it out - and I have to say that it’s getting frustrating. Like it does every year when this team’s glaring weaknesses come back to bite them in their ass at the end of the season. There isn’t enough time for the Colts offense to adapt to a new coach before the years start taking their toll on the ability of Manning and Harrison - and even though Reggie Wayne is emerging as a number one receiver and Addai still has tons of great years ahead of him, the clock is ticking on Manning.

I said in a previous post this year (after the Buffalo game, when Rhodes had one of his fumbles) that Butterfingers Rhodes was this year’s tragedy waiting to happen. Today’s loss effectively cost the Colts the 2-seed - the only way they can win it is if they win next week and Baltimore loses next week - and that means they will have an extra playoff game to play and might have to play on the road in the second round, if they get that far.

All because of one tragic Rhodes fumble this afternoon?

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