ColtPower Playbook: Three Big Plays

What do Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley have in common? Sure, they are all receivers, but they are also the focus of Jess Huffman's ColtPower Playbook analysis this week. Don't miss it!

No need to state the obvious.

Cato June's interception was no doubt the biggest play of the Monday night's game against the Rams. It not only led to Indianapolis' first score, but also resulted in an injury their best player, Mark Bulger.

Hey, hey, don't get me wrong. I don't like to see anyone get injured. And I didn't say it was the best play of the game – just the biggest in turns of the outcome.

Explanation? Bulger was ripping up the Colts, already throwing for 121 yards. The combination of him and Steven Jackson was proving too much for the Colts. If both stay in the game, Indianapolis may not be undefeated on Tuesday morning. However, if one stays in the game, the Colts win 45-28.

So much for not stating the obvious. Wait for it.

There were many less blatantly obvious big plays that led to the Colts' victory Monday. Although they weren't talked about quite as much as June's first interception and Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison's 86th touchdown, they still deserve credit for flawless execution – not to mention getting John Madden to say "Boom."

If only he would have followed with Tough Actin' Tinactin. That, my friends, would be something truly special.

Biting on play action

Granted, we haven't seen the Colts do it nearly as much this year. In fact, Al Michaels and Madden had just pointed out that the Colts had only used play action on 20 percent of their downs this season. However, once again, this is because the safeties are sitting back, refusing to bite on the run. In effect, they are actually biting on the play action. Whereas the play action usually uses the threat of run to set up big pass plays, the Colts are using the threat of the play action to set up big running plays – and it's working. Edge didn't have 143 yards Monday for nothing.

However, the Colts are still using the play action in the traditional form.

Down 17-7, with just 4:16 remaining in the first half, the Colts made the Rams defense look like fools. On third-and-one, James was set at single back, tight End Bryan Fletcher was back to block, Dallas Clark was on the right side of the line, while Harrison was the lone wide-out.

Two tight ends in the formation, James is ripping it up – the Colts' are going to run, right? 

Manning takes the snap, turns to his right, hands off – wait, he handed off, right? Right?

Wrong. Dead wrong.

The St. Louis defense is frozen. A slue of linebackers – Pisa Tinoisamoa, Brandon Chillar and Chris Claiborne – all sink their teeth into the play fake. A total of seven St. Louis defenders are focused on James.  Harrison is getting single coverage, while Fletcher is drawing the attention of safety Adam Archuleta. The whole defense is shifted right.

Clark makes his cross to the left, with the single coverage of DeJuan Groce behind. Groce is only 5-foot-10. Clark is 6-foot-3. Manning throws, the ball high, out in front of Clark – Groce doesn't have a prayer.

It was only a seven-yard gain, but it gave the Colts a first down, continuing their most impressive drive of the game. If the Colts don't get the first down, if Clark doesn't make that catch, they're forced to punt, and probably won't score again before half time.
It's worth noting that Clark made another nice grab on the next play for a 20-yard gain.

Premium Members can click here for Part Two that breaks down the other two big plays by Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley!

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