Monday, December 28, 2009
Count the Clarion Content in the camp with those who believe the Colts made a mistake by taking their foot off of the proverbial pedal in the third quarter last night. Leading 15-10 the Colts sent Payton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai to the bench. The Jets rallied to win against the third string quarterback, Curtis Painter, and a slew of other back-ups. In the process the Colts lost their undefeated season. They stopped their NFL record 23 game winning streak. They played, in the Clarion Content's opinion, a most dangerous game with their momentum.
Chris Carter was on ESPN radio this morning espousing much the same point of view. The Chargers are rolling. The Patriots looked terrific yesterday and Brady maybe rounding into form at just the right time. Conversely, how much do the Colts play their starters next week, if they pulled them after one drive in the third quarter this week? Their organizational logic would dictate they play them even less. Then as it would play out, the Colts would have a bye-week for the best regular season record in the AFC. Suddenly, they would be playing their first full game of live football in a month in the divisional round of the playoffs. A month of cadillacing and they are supposed to be ready to go against a battle hardened foe immediately? The Clarion Content finds this to be an unwise plan.
We think they evidence is with us, too. Peyton Manning came into the league in 1998. However, he didn't really put it together until 2002. We will give Manning a bye for his first five season as he learned the ropes and went 0-2 in the playoffs. But even since then, the Colts organizational philosophy to take their foot off the pedal late in the regular season has yielded one Super Bowl win in a seven year run with unarguably one of the all-time great quarterbacks. The Colts playoff record over that stretch is a lackluster 7 up and 6 down. They have not won the AFC other than in the Super Bowl winning season. Time will tell of course, but the Clarion Content thinks that the Colts made a mistake sacrificing invaluable momentum by lifting the starters yesterday and losing.