There's no place like Saturday...

January 24, 2010

Game Analysis: AFC Championship Game

Welcome to the show. Tonight's entertainment; Peyton Manning.

Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

With two early game sacks on back to back plays by Jets middle linebacker David Harris it looked as if perhaps the Jets could rattle one of the leagues finest single callers the NFL has ever seen. Then I sat back and realized; this was Peyton Manning.

It had been what looked like the Jets destiny so far in the playoffs, literally running through teams with rookie Shonn Greene. With little room for Greene and starter Thomas Jones to run in this one though, too much pressure was placed upon rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.

A ferocious first half defense by the Jets would soon be exposed by Manning. It can take all of one quarter before he will have your game plan figured out. There was no answer for Manning and the Colts offense in the second half, with Peyton putting on a clinic in what resembled a seven-on-seven walk through more than a AFC Championship game.

Manning pasted 377 yards and three scores on the Not-Yet-Jets, a collection of young NFL talent and an up-and coming coach in Rex Ryan. All-Pro cornerback Darrell Revis was able to hold Colts pro bowler Reggie Wayne to just three catches (however fell for one superb juke by Wayne) but it was the rest of the Colts pass catchers who gave the defense a fit. Pierre Garcon brought in a career high 11 catches and toasted the D for 151 yards, while rookie Austin Collie also posted career numbers in his first 100 yard receiving day.

In the end it came down to the Colts having a more polished team, thanks most in part to the speed of the Colts defense and leadership of Manning, Wayne, and veteran lineman Jeff Saturday on offense.

It will be interesting to see this Jets defense and young offense of the future take hold of the AFC in 2010 and beyond with Sanchez, the running back tandem of Greene/Jones, and receivers Braylan Edwards and Dustin Keller. They just so happen to have three pro bowl offensive lineman as well and don't forget about "Revis Island." Lookout next season Colts.

Final: 30-17 Colts

It was over when....Peyton Manning connected with Dallas Clark on a fourth quarter 15 yard touchdown pass with 8:52 left in the game. It put Manning and the Colts up 27-17 and took the wind out of the Jets.

Stat of the game.....86. Yards rushing by the Jets offense. The Jets had been averaging 170 yards in its previous two playoff games with 171 against Cincinnati wild card weekend and 169 against the Chargers last week. The Colts defense knew they had to shut down the run and did just that.

Hats off to.....Howard Mudd the Colts offensive line coach. After Manning was sacked on back to back plays on back to back possessions it looked like a long day. The line, led by Saturday, figured out the problem and held Jets blitzers the rest of the game.

Whats next.....For the Colts its a week off and a trip to Miami for a Super Bowl match-up with the Saints. For the Jets. A quiet plane ride back to New York and a long off season of "what could have beens" racing through their minds.

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