Heather Lloyd (a.k.a. The Blue Mare) returns after getting last week off due to the short turnaround from Sunday to Thursday. Since her last Q&A chat with Phillip B. Wilson, the Indianapolis Colts have extended their winning streak to four games entering Sunday’s test against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Phil B: Where are you at right now with a little extra time to assess where the Colts are at?
Heather: A lot has happened in the last week. We had two games in there. It’s hard to look back already and think about what our perspective was going into the Baltimore Ravens game. All I remember is this has to be the first tough team they’ve beaten and, yeah, they were able to do that. It was a really good, solid win and it felt great. After slaying two cupcakes, as we were saying the last time we talked, we were able to go in and beat a tough team that could be a playoff team. And then Thursday night, we went from beating the Ravens and in the first half we really dominated the Texans. In the second half, things looked a little different and we made some mistakes and let them back in the game. But the Texans, for all the talk about them not being a great team this year, they’re pretty tough. They’ve got some great talent. It shows what happens when you let your guard down a little bit. We can now look at it as, No. 1, the Colts are at 4-2, which is a great place to be after starting at 0-2. Also, the Colts are 3-0 in the AFC South, which is as good a position as you can be. In the last week, looking at the team as a whole, I think we’re looking at things completely differently now.
Phil B: After the time off, with some guys banged up, the Colts won against the Texans without two starting offensive guards, without Arthur Jones plugging the middle and without a suspended LaRon Landry and without nickel back Darius Butler, there were guys missed but they got it done. Even though the Texans’ stars came out, J.J. Watt was incredible, Arian Foster does what he does and Andre Johnson makes sick catches all the time, and yet the Colts still won. I got the feeling this one really meant a lot, considering the short week and the guys they were missing and for what they were facing from Houston.
Heather: They came out like it meant a lot. They came out fast. I don’t know who makes the call, whether Pat McAfee does on the onside kick …
Phil B: I knew you’d love that McAfee onside kick.
Heather: The way they used that, that early in the game, the way they came out, it was obvious this game was really important to them and it should be. If you look at the goals for this season, what’s the first one? It’s always to win the division. This was the game that put them in control of the AFC South, and really if they can continue to stay there, they can check that first box off. This was really the first step in them establishing what they want to establish in the season. I also think the Texans, that’s a pretty good rivalry in the AFC South. There are good, good players on that team. Did we really think that J.J. Watt wasn’t, at some point, going to come out and try to dominate that game? Yeah, he did. And they have a star running back and a star wide receiver. When I look at how the Colts came into this game, especially from a defensive standpoint, I am amazed at what they’re able to do right now with the players they have on defense.
Phil B: They had five sacks.
Heather: Who would think this team would be getting the sacks they’ve been getting the last couple of games with Robert Mathis out? Who would think that with LaRon Landry out and so many others, that team on the defensive side of the ball is a bit banged up, and they’re playing like it at all. That right there is showing they are together, they’re determined. I keep hearing coach Chuck Pagano saying this team has no quit in them. I think when you look at it right now, that’s what we’re seeing.
Phil B: So now we’ve got a little time to recharge the battery, the players do, and the Bengals come in and maybe the Colts are catching the Bengals at the right time. A.J. Green has a toe problem. The Bengals looked like maybe they were the best team in football after three games. We talked about how this stretch of games on the Colts schedule was tough, but if they can win this and get to 5-2, I’ve already said most of the last six are favorable for the Colts. This would be huge if they could beat the Bengals.
Heather: Yeah, I was looking at that schedule going forward. We won’t be talking about cupcakes for a while. That conversation is over. They are in for a rough stretch here. They are playing some playoff teams, going forward, for a while. The Bengals come in here, and they really were the team in the AFC for a while, then they got knocked on their butts by New England. The Bengals will probably be the biggest test yet for the Colts, at least after playing the Broncos and the Eagles. That is a team we could see making the playoffs. It’s going to be interesting.
Phil B: As much as we enjoy watching the Colts roll, one thing that always annoys me a little is when this happens, the national media folks get on the bandwagon and start debating if the Colts are a Super Bowl contender. I mean, where were you after two weeks in September? It seemed like the Colts were given up for dead in the national consciousness, and not they’re the media darlings again, all of a sudden.
Heather: It is amazing to watch how all of this plays out in the media, just how fast we are to judge different things. The first half of the Texans game, I’m watching Twitter. The tweets are all about the Colts being an absolute possibility to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, which is fantastic. Then the Colts slow down a little bit, the Texans get in the game, J.J. Watt does his thing, and my Twitter timeline was completely different. I suddenly got the feeling had the Colts won that game like it looked how they were going to win it in the beginning, I felt like the Colts would have been the talk of the sports media. Then in the second half, I started thinking if the Colts were not able to get out of that game with the win, they would have been the talk of the media in a totally different way, which is they can’t pull together and they’re not disciplined and they’re not a contender all of a sudden. It’s amazing in one game how the opinions and the emotions differ from really a span of maybe 20 minutes. It was unbelievable. I kept seeing people tweet that the Jonotthan Harrison experiment needs to be over, but the guy has played in just three NFL games. Really? If you judge people in the quick, harsh way that we tend to judge teams and players, a lot of players we love wouldn’t have got a chance in the NFL. Whether it’s the team, a player, a coach, it’s amazing how people emotions change. Maybe social media makes it so easy for us to voice those emotions. The pendulum goes back and forth dramatically and quickly. Thankfully, for the players, I don’t think they pay a lot of attention to that. I know they hear some of it, they see some of it, they know what’s going on, but it’s exhausting to watch and read some of that.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.