Vote for Peyton!
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is one of the three candidates for this week's Fed Ex Air Player of the Week Award. Show him some support by clicking this link and caster your vote. So far, in yet another awards sham, Carson Palmer has the lead even though he had less yardage and touchdowns than Manning. Okay, time to move on....I feel another Tedy Bruschi-type rant emerging.
Manning for MVP
Getting back to Peyton, Don Banks at SI.com handed out his midseason awards and makes Manning his MVP and Dwight Freeney as Defensive Player of the Year. Check out his column to see who else made his list from around the league.
It's already starting...
In "The Next Question: Can the Colts go undefeated?" sportswriter Reggie Hayes points out that only 20 teams in 86 years have reached 9-0. Ten of those have gone 11-0 and only four have reached 12-0. And while the odds are against it, Hayes says, "Perfection seems unlikely, but there's only one team left in the NFL with a shot at reaching it. Back to work, Colts." Well struck, Reggie.
Eric McHugh at The Patriot Ledger ripped the Patriots' defense in "Defenseless: Patriots put up little resistance against Manning and runaway Colts." McHugh says New England might still win the "atrocious" AFC East, but says it will do them little good when they have to play real offenses in the playoffs. "It's hard to look at this defense now as anything but unsalvageable impostors," McHugh says. Perhaps one of the best player quotes in the article is the one by Pats defensive end Ty Warren who says of the Colts offense, "They did what they did when they wanted to do it, and they did it well." Does anyone else find it the least bit ironic that some Pats fans are pointing out that the Colts still haven't played a really competitive team? Especially when the Pats play in the AFC "Least".
All is well
I loved this quote by Mike Lopresti of Gannet News Service: "On a Monday night with their psyche exposed to the world, the Colts chased the demons of New England, not to mention the Patriots 40-21." Ahhhhhhhh, doesn't it feel great?
New England Revelation
Charles Robinson at Yahoo! Sports posted his NFL rankings and dropped the Patriots out of the top twelve for the first time since he started them there. Oh, and guess who's number one....still? Check 'em out by clicking here. And when you're done with his, check out Vic Carucci's at NFL.com. Guess who's number one there....still?
Don't miss it
Jim Litke of the Associated Press has one of the better columns of the day. It includes some great player quotes like this one by Eugene Wilson about Manning, "It seemed like he was seeing something in our defense. He seemed to have all the answers." And he also relates a pretty funny response by Manning to a question during the postgame press conference when he was asked about facing a weaker New England defense than in previous years ("You a Patriots fan?" Manning asked, grinning. "Is that it?"). This one is definitely worth reading.
Bill Burt at the Eagle-Tribune does the unthinkable for someone from Massachusetts and tips his hat to Manning. "At 29 years old, Manning, who probably is already a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, has arrived. He has done something that Marino, probably his only equal as a passer, couldn't do at any point in his career. And that's exchange stats for victories." Take a look at his column by clicking here.
If he could do it all over again...
Head coach Tony Dungy didn't challenge a questionable catch that resulted in the Patriots' third touchdown of the night. He pulled the red hanky out, but unlike Bill Belichick -- who threw his out on the field in desperation later in the game -- Dungy put it back in his pocket. In hindsight, he admitted that he should have had the referee take a look.
"I should have challenged it," Dungy said. "We weren't going to need the timeout or the challenge. In hindsight, it probably was not a good play on my part."
I think most folks expected a contrasting quote from Belichick showing remorse for wasting everyone's time with his hanky-panky where he stalled the game after a Colts touchdown, but I haven't found one yet. He obviously doesn't mind playing the part of the grousing buffoon on national television.
Woe be to New England
Clark Judd at Sportsline.com points out that the Patriots are in real trouble whether they want to admit it or not. "Brady might not like hearing it, but there's no escaping the evidence, and it's overwhelming," he says. "Since losing Harrison in the third game of the season the Patriots haven't held one of the next five opponents to fewer than 394 yards -- and that one club was Buffalo, the league's 29th-ranked offense."
Polian draws praise
Colts President Bill Polian got some high compliments from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (imagine that!) regarding how the Colts have gone about assembling their defense. ''They have a college safety playing linebacker," Belichick noted. "They have a linebacker that is not a prototypical build. They have a defensive end that is 230 pounds. 'How much do you respect that they've gone the unorthodox route?''