Clifton's Colts Notes

Tony Clifton shares his bye-week and postgame thoughts, including some great comments and insights on Nick Harper, Montae Reagor, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark and many more Colts!

7 and 0. It's all we could have asked for at the season's outset as we eyed the bye week. To get there, all that stood in our path, the final bump in the road, were the Houston Texans, who've been scoring less than the Houston Astros. And now, as expected, Colts fans have the dream start to our season, clutched firmly against our collective manboobs, as we revel in Dungy's 100th win.

Play-by-play man Don Criqui had this insightful comment as we awaited the opening kickoff: "Back deep you see Jerome Mathis, another rookie, out of Hampton (dramatic pause). He can run fast." Just ponder the depth of that gem, my friends. Criqui is deep, in a Slingblade sort of way. Potted meat and French-fried taters for everyone!!!!

The only thing that gets sacked more than David Carr is groceries.

Aside from late in the first half, when the dashing young Texan QB made like The Galloping Ghost, Crazylegs Carr soon found himself assuming his regular, fetal position, sucking face with the FieldTurf as Colt defenders took turns planting him like a fine sapling, albeit with a tad less care and nurturing!

Forget "Cut That Meat". Last game it was Cato June making like Marvin Harrison, in this game it was "Nick The Pick" Harper running precision patterns as he jumped the route slicker than Fonzie jumping the sharktank, continuing a tremendous season. With so many Colts defenders playing great, and receiving their due accolades, let's not forget the great year Harper's had so far.

It seemed like it was TOO easy for the Colts at the outset, as they quickly opened up a 14 – zip lead and looked ready to go bananas on the Oilers offspring.

But the Colts fell asleep at the wheel just long enough to allow Carr and Davis to make a game of it. Until the second half started, anyway. About the only thing that could have made the Texans any more inept after the break was if Charlie Brown had attempted to kick off instead of Kris Brown.

1,2,3 – DOMINATE!
The offense absolutely took charge on the opening drive of the second half. With all the talk about Colts opponents mimicking the defense of the New England Patriots, has anyone else noticed that the Colts offense has become more like...the New England Patriots? A little less big play, a lot more ball control.

And how about the runblocking of the offensive line? The portly fellas upfront are pounding it. Again, even the short yardage packages are now clicking. Wild Bill Polian made some hints at a couple of things he wanted to improve upon this year; the runblocking of the offense is one area that has obviously been upgraded. The perception of team toughness is now very evident witht this team, and not just on the defensive side of the ball.

That's what our opponents will be saying, adding Reagor to the list of Colt defenders who continue to draw attention to their playmaking styles and abilities. Reagor spent almost as much time in the Houston backfield as Carr did.

Huzzah for AFC Defensive Player of the Week, our very own Robert Mathis, who made one of the most impressive hustle plays you'll probably see this year.

On 3rd-and-11, Mathis blew by the Texans' right tackle en route to Carr. As Carr stepped up, Mathis flew past -- well to the left of the pocket. Carr then started scrambling to his right, eventually getting to the right sideline and heading upfield, where he was knocked out of bounds by -- Robert Mathis. If you have a tape of the game, check it out. For non-stop effort, I thought I couldn't see a better play on the day.

But not so fast...

Edgerrin James continues to bring me to my feet with his running abilities. His 30-yard gain in the second half was a showcase for a number of his skills. The vision to bounce to the outside, the burst ( as Ralph Malph would say, "he's still got it!") to get upfield, the ability to freeze a defender and then deke him out of his shorts, the patience to then wait for blocks, and the power to literally swat a defender out of the way.

And just who were those Colts 25 yards downfield getting the final blocks on that huge James jaunt? One was a rambling Jake Scott, showing some great attitude. The other was Big D, Dallas Hustle – the guy who got the INITIAL block where Edge bounced it outside.

It's plays like these, when the team gets together later and watches the tape, that will inspire EVERY OTHER PLAYER on offense to hustle on every play, to get downfield, to make that extra block. In the same way that big plays on defense inspire and get contagious, plays like that are a shot in the arm for an entire offense. And Clark is quickly making a habit of those hustle plays; another facet to a game that is quickly becoming very multi-dimensional and very dangerous.

I almost feel bad not giving kudos to the Colts trio of wide receivers extraordinaire, but these guys are so good I expect nothing less of them than the type of game they had, once again, last Sunday. I guess taking them for granted in this fashion is perhaps the best compliment I could give them.

Has anyone else noticed Reggie Wayne's maturity this year? It's like he EXPECTS to be called upon to move the chains, and expects to move them. And has anyone else noticed Marvelous Marv playing with a little more 'tude in 2005? Maybe the dinged up wrist has him a little more angry. Whatever it is, I like it.

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