Even at ColtPower, Larry Tripplett was hailed as the savior of the game when
he halted Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown inches shy of the goal line on the
final play of the game for the Cardinals' offense. And rightfully so since it
was a whale of a play, forcing a fumble to boot as Gilbert Gardner provided an
But Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks deserves a pat on the back as well. Working with mostly backup players at his disposal, he helped put his team in position to stop the Cardinals from scoring the go-ahead score with seconds remaining. Because get this: Josh McCown wasn't planning to run the ball on that play.
That is, not until Meeks forced his hand.
The Cardinals wanted to pass on their fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, but Meeks aligned his players properly to make the Cardinals quarterback change his mind. Arizona wanted to toss a backside slant pass to wide receiver Anquan Boldin. If he didn't get the right matchup for that play, McCown would try a fade to the other wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. Meeks set up his defense with two Colts covering each receiver. McCown went for the quarterback sneak instead, and almost pulled it off had Tripplett not stepped up to make the play.
Green won't waste time in Arizona
Cardinals Head Coach Dennis Green promised that changes will begin in Arizona as early as today as the Cardinals try to figure out a new strategy following a disappointing season. "Everybody knows I move fast," Green said on Sunday, pointing out that he already had a series of meetings prior to the Colts game in an effort to determine some of the changes needed. Some of those changes will include the firing of some of his current coaching staff.
"The dynamics have to change," Green said. "When you are 5-11, I don't think there could be anything more disappointing except 4-12."
Not only did the Colts finish with the best record in the NFL this season with their 14-2 record, they finished tops in scoring in the AFC with 439 points. That's all the more amazing when you consider that Peyton Manning sat out all but a total of three possessions during the last two weeks of the season. The Seahawks finished with an NFL-best 452 points.
I haven't been a big fan of Jim Sorgi to date, but yesterday he showed me that he's not necessarily as vanilla of a quarterback as I thought. FortWayne.com's Justin Cohn gave him a thumbs up as well in this story. Sorgi is 43-of-62 for 444 yards with three touchdowns and one interception this season. That's not too shabby. I'm willing to grant him the promotion to "french vanilla" after the past two weeks, especially after watching him stay calm in a pocket that had to feel like a white-water raft ride during that stretch.
Fiesta Bowl note
Many Colts fans may remember Stan White, the linebacker out of Ohio State who played for the Colts from 1972 - 1979. Well if you tune in for the Fiesta Bowl today, keep an eye out for Stan White, Jr. who is a fullback for the Buckeyes as they take on Notre Dame.
"We're going to be fine."
Colts defensive tackle Larry Tripplett isn't concerned about the relative inactivity of the starters by the time they get to play their first playoff game. Even though the first-string won't have played an entire 60 minutes in almost a month by then, Tripplett told Peter King at SI.com that, "We went 0-5 in the preseason. When it counts, it counts. The blessing for us was starting 13-0 and clinching home field so we could get some our hurt guys the rest they need before the playoffs. I'm not worried, and I don't think anyone in this room is either.''
The Colts finished the regular season second best in the NFL for points allowed (247). The only team to fare better was the Bears who permitted just 202. That's a big leap for Indianapolis after finishing around the middle of the pack while allowing 351 points last year.
After the Lions lost their season finale yesterday to the Steelers, former Colts tight end Marcus Pollard admitted the season didn't meet his expectations. "I was hoping at worst for 10-6," he said. "It's been tough, to say the least. I knew it would be a challenge coming here."
Did Belichick tank one?
I enjoyed this story by our Steelers affiliate at Scout.com. Not only is it a good overall read about a team the Colts could be facing in two weeks, sportswriter Jim Wexall drew my interest as he wondered if Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick tried to avoid drawing the Steelers as their first-round opponent -- or at worst is hoping that they could knock off the Colts for New England.
"That's the perception of dopes, and I am a dope," Wexall writes. " I really think Belichick did not want to play the Steelers in the playoffs and didn't care that his team lost Sunday. Throw logic in my face until I'm black and blue, but I won't change my mind. Belichick is smart. His team is playing well and he could afford the loss."
All-Star inactive list
The Colts' inactive list on Sunday included three of their seven Pro Bowlers: safety Bob Sanders, running back Edgerrin James, and linebacker Cato June are all on the squad heading to Hawaii in February. Offensive tackle Ryan Diem, wide receiver Brandon Stokley, defensive tackle Montae Reagor, defensive tackle Corey Simon and defensive end Robert Mathis were also on the list, all of whom play key roles for the Colts but who are recovering from injuries. James was on the inactive list simply for rest and to give one of the usual inactives an opportunity to suit up for a change.
Cornerback Jason David was the only starter who came out of yesterday's game with an injury. He left the contest after experiencing groin discomfort. Head Coach Tony Dungy was optimistic that he would be fine by the time the Colts would be lining up for their first playoff game in two weeks. "I think he got out of there before it really got pulled."