Are The Colts That Good or...?
National Football League week two. Welcome to this edition of The Morpheus Report. Here is my analysis of week one's games. Indianapolis began their defense of their Super Bowl championship by demolishing the New Orleans Saints. One of the biggest questions surrounding the Colts this season is their defense. If week one was any indication of how their defense will play this season, teams will have more to worry about. The Colts defense was fast, flying to the ball all over the field. Surprisingly, the usually high scoring Saints did not score an offensive touchdown.
Sants quarterback Drew Brees was 28-41 for a paltry 187 yards. This resulted in a below average 4.5 yards per pass play. Brees also threw two interceptions. They rushed for 106 yards for 4.1 average per rush. Is the Colts defense this good? The defense is built on speed and can cause havoc in the passing game. Where they are vulnerable is in the running game. Questions exist as to how physical they are. Let's see how they react to a physical offense that can pass enough to keep the Indianapolis defense honest. This week they will play Tennessee who physically went through Jacksonville, rushing 49 times for 282 rushing yards, an average of 5.8 yards per rush. The Jaguars have a physical rush defense and knew that Vince Young was not going to beat them with his passing. It was expected they could handle the run without having to stack the line with more defenders. Didn't happen. Are the Titans a great running team? No, I say they are average to good, but the way they ran through the Jaguars defense was impressive. It will be interesting to see how the Titans match up with a Colts defense built on speed rather than power this week in their home opener.
Big Letdown Again
One of Monday night's games featured the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals. Like their game last season against the Chicago Bears, the Cardinals lost to the 49ers in the closing minutes in a game they should have won. Arizona held San Francisco to 194 total yards, just 30 in the second half -- until that final drive. Alex Smith finished 15-of-31 for 126 yards -- 60 on the final drive. Everyone speaks of Arizona being this year's break out team. (Of course they have been saying that about the Cardinals every year for the past three seasons.) Until Arizona learns to win and not choke in the last minute of games, no matter who the coach is, no matter who plays for Arizona, they will be known as the same old Cards. A lot of promise but zero results.
On to this week and the hottest topic in football. Bill Belichick. By now everyone knows the commissioner determined Belichick broke the rules. As punishment Belichick was fined $500,000 while the Patriots were fined $250,000 and will lose a first round draft choice (their own not the one acquired during last years draft from San Francisco) if they make the playoffs and a second and third if they do not make the playoffs. Did the punishment fit the crime? Goodell had to make a statement and he did. It did fit the crime, it was embarrassing to the Patriot players, Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots organization and to Bill Belichick himself.
Make no mistake about it, Belichick was wrong for doing it. Did it help them beat the Jet's? No the camera was confiscated very early in the first quarter. What lost the game for the Jets was the offensive line of the Patriots having one of their best games in two years, a player you may have heard of named Randy Moss and the Patriots defense ability to not let the Jets come close to getting on track offensively. The Jets received a beating because the Patriots are a better team.
By getting caught the comments are raised as to whether the Patriots should put an asterisk on their championships? No. The players had to play the game and execute. It's also hard if not impossible to steal a signal, review what the signal is by comparing it to the defensive formation, then get it all to the quarterback in 40 seconds.
The New England Patriots Super Bowl teams earned their victories. Players from teams that the Patriots beat have been complaining about the Patriots cheating, claiming it may have affected their games as well. Hines Ward started commenting regarding the Steelers/Patriots AFC Championship game in 2005. Ward would be better off not obsessing over the Steelers loss in the AFC Championship to the Patriots from two years ago. The every-talkative Joey Porter chimed in as well from Miami, but Porter's routine has always been to talk about others. Porter is probably still upset about making reservations for the Super Bowl before playing the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, then having to cancel.
Patriots vs. Chargers
Belichick said in his press conference that is all behind him now. We will move on as well. Now for this week's match up: New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers.
Last week the Chargers defense only allowed 3 points to the Bears. Rex Grossman cannot be confused for Tom Brady. Grossman missed a numerous opportunities to hit his open receivers against the Chargers. On the flip side, Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (LT) only rushed for 26 yards. However, he threw a touchdown pass later in the game and rushed for one on his own. Tomlinson usually has a great game against the Patriots. I expect more of the same from him on Sunday. I'm not as concerned about Philip Rivers whom in my opinion isn't as good as the hype he receives from some of the so-called experts out there.
Two things I look for in this game: How well Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi plays and If the offensive line can repeat their success from last week in protecting Tom Brady.
Bruschi looks like he has lost a step as he ages. He was noticeably out of position a couple of times against the Jets. If he does that against LT it could be a big gain. I think Adalius Thomas playing next to Bruschi on the inside will help the defense a lot. If the Patriots can eliminate the big plays they may be able to get the Chargers offense off the field while putting their own on the field.
The other thing I look for is the Patriots offensive line play. If they play like they did against the Jets last week, Tom Brady will pick apart the Chargers. One player not receiving much attention last week was wide receiver Donte Stallworth. I think Stallworth will have a big game, as the Chargers will have to pay attention to Randy Moss after that monster game he had last week. Where this game will be won or lost is between the Patriots' offense and if it's more effective than San Diego's.
Picks And A Lock
Last week's results: 7-7-2 (win-lose-push)
Last week's lock of the week: Houston
This week's lock of the week: Detroit
Season lock of the week: 1-0
Ten pin bowling scores from my league:
Game one: 131 Game two: 117 Game three: 133
It was my worse performance in years. The fact I had not touched a bowling ball since May and had pulled something in my back may have something to do with it. Regardless of the excuses, that score was horrible. I'm convinced I will do better this week and will never turn in that low of a series score again.
Enjoy the Games!