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Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

Defense lacking as Indy falls to Jags

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010, at 6:22 PM

I have never been a football coach, nor have I played one on television. But the one thing my dad taught me was how to count.

Sometimes you have to wonder if football coaches learned any lessons about the value of time management.

Hindsight is always 20-20 and mistakes are easily made in the heat of the battle.

After the Colts scored with less than a minute to go to tie their game Sunday with Jacksonville at 28-28 and a short return to the Jacksonville 23, I pointed walked toward my friend's TV and pointed to the 42 seconds remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter and said, "That is the Colts enemy, not the Jags."

Translation, get the hell out of dodge and try to win it in overtime. After playing from behind most of the second half, I thought that it would be the smart play, even with Peyton Manning ready to pull out another miracle for the Colts.

I was flabbergasted when Indy coach Jim Caldwell called a timeout after Jacksonville ran for 8 yards on first down. My friend said he might have called time if the Colts would have held them to a 1 or 2 yard gain, but not 8.

The Jags apparently were content to run out the clock and go to overtime, and with the way they were moving the ball on the Colts and Indy's inability to stop one of the worst offenses in the league, why not be cautious? But the extra time gave them a chance to rethink their strategy.

Two completions by David Garrard put the hosts at the Colts 41-yard line and just enough time for kicker Josh Scobee, who had beaten the Colts twice with fourth-quarter heroics.

After a timeout by Indy, Scobee booted a 59-yarder -- that would have been good from 63 -- straight as an arrow to give Jacksonville a 31-28 victory.

Caldwell told the media he would employ the same strategy again. Even if the Colts had stopped them on three straight plays and called time after each rush, they might have gotten the ball at their own 25 or so with about 20 seconds left and no timeouts.

Long odds at best, Jim, even with one of the best quarterbacks of all time. And remember that Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri doesn't have the leg he used to. Indy would have had to move the ball to the Jacksonville 31 to have a legit chance.

As the little boy said in the movie Angels in the Outfield, "It could happen."

I know that Jacksonville could have won the toss and pulled out the win in overtime and Scobee could have beaten us in the fifth quarter, before Manning ever had a chance to touch the ball.

Maybe Caldwell didn't want to watch his porous defense for another second make Jacksonville look like Super Bowl contenders.

In reality, I know the Colts did not lose the game because of the time out. The two turnovers in the shadow of the Jacksonville goal line were ultimately the difference.

It is easy to find fault when you lose and easy to overlook miscues when you win.

With the way the defense is performing, there is no room for error on offense. That is a fine line to have to tread by the offense every week, unless the defense finds their mojo soon.

The Colts have started slowly before, yes I know that Manning's bursa sac injury to his knee had a lot to do with that, but they always seem to rally.

Is the magic gone? Is there really a Super Bowl loser curse? Are fans overreacting to two early-season losses at the quarter pole?

It will likely take until Jan. 2 (the end of the regular season) for those questions to be answered.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.


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