Let’s take a trip on the Horseshoe Time Machine and venture back to 2010 to when the Indianapolis Colts traveled to Oakland to face off against the Raiders!
Aug 9, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) catches a pass from quarterback Matt Flynn (15) during the first quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The 2010 Indianapolis Colts were in unfamiliar grounds by Week 16 of the 2010 season. Usually, they would have a playoff seed and a division title locked up by then. These Colts were a different breed than their previous incarnations. The Colts had been riddled with injuries all season. The defense lost Bob Sanders (again), Melvin Bullett, and Gary Brackett to injuries which made their pass defense become exposed worse than it had been in many years. On the offensive side of the ball, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie were all hurt throughout the season thoroughly hampering the offensive performance of the Colts and of course, Peyton Manning.
August 19, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie (17) warms up on the field before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
- With Austin Collie and Dallas Clark in the lineup, Peyton had 17 touchdowns and 3 interception
- With them out of the lineup, Peyton had 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
The Colts had lost heart-breakers against the Eagles and the Patriots due to late game interceptions by Peyton and were embarrassed at home against the Romo-less Cowboys. Peyton threw 11 interceptions total in three weeks time in the Patriots, Chargers, and Cowboys games. Four of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns. This can be attested to the lack of running game which was worst in the league as well as injuries on the offensive front. The offensive line also had played poorly as they did nothing to open up lanes or pass protect which coupled in Peyton making a bevy of bad throws.
The Raiders on the other hand were fighting for their playoffs lives. They had at that point in time gone 5-0 against the AFC West and with a win against the Colts, a Chiefs loss in Week 16, and a Raiders win over the Chiefs week 17, they would win the division. They have played well against their own division but not good against everybody else amassing 2-7 record. Darren McFadden had a breakout year and Jason Campbell played stellar enough all season.
Here are some notes from the game.
- Special teams were again a detriment to the Colts as the Raiders took back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It wasn’t the first kickoff/punt they allowed all season for a big gain/touchdown and it wouldn’t be the last.
- The Colts running backs ran for 191 with the return of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. It was a positive look for a running back corps that has been exceptionally terrible all year
- Peyton Manning finished with 179 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. One of those interceptions was a bad pass in double coverage while the other was a tipped ball by Jacob Tamme
- The defense again put a stop to the run game, something it had failed to do all season. They contained McFadden and the Raiders stout run game with succession the same way they stopped Maurice Jones-Drew the week prior.
- The pass defense played well enough in the red zone but with the game winding down, they let Jason Campbell march down the field with ease and make the game a late one score game.
With this win, the Colts would control their destiny as with a win in Week 17, they would win the division. The Raiders on the other hand were eliminated from the playoffs while the Chiefs would win the AFC West. After Week 17 was all said and done, the Colts would win their game against the Titans thus earning them the AFC South crown while the Raiders would go on to sweep the Chiefs and give the Colts the third seed in the AFC and would face and eventually lose to the Jets in the AFC Wild Card round.
Fast forward to 2013 and the Colts are an entirely different team and franchise now. There’s no more Peyton, no more Jim Caldwell,
Oct 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson wears a sticker with CP in support of coach Chuck Pagano who has leukemia and is on the field before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
and no more Polians. The dramatic change has brought the Colts back to where they were before the 2011 season and if you really want to up the ante, to before the 2010 season. I believe the 2012 Colts team was a better and more solid team than the 2010 team that was riddled with injurys and bad drafting/free agency additions as backups.
Fun Fact: Only one player, Pat Angerer, still remains from that 2010 draft class.
Another fun fact: Kevin Thomas was selected in the draft by the Colts, a pick before Jimmy Graham.
I think I speak for most, if not all, Colts fans that with this new regime, we don’t have to worry about a quarterback carrying the team as Ryan Grigson has done well in free agency and the NFL draft.