3:56 P.M. EDT: Regarding sitting John Lynch and Javon Walker …
As I just told my mom, who is set to watch from Florida, you have to think big picture. Better to sacrifice one or two games now to ensure full health for the balance of the season rather than play hurt, aggravate the injury and turn a one-, two- or three-week problem into a season-ending game. It makes life tough for the Broncos today, but as everyone in the locker room likes to say, “it’s a 16-round fight.” This is Round 4, and when did you ever see Rocky Balboa not go the distance? (At least when he wasn’t facing Clubber Lang?)
3:57 P.M. EDT:“Twelfth man, are you ready?” asks the overcaffeinated public-address announcer as we are now 19 minutes from kickoff. With those words, the music starts … and I know that nothing gets a crowd more pumped for a game than Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne … unless they’re going to follow this with Church of the Poison Mind by Culture Club.
3:58 P.M. EDT: I’m always disappointed in how there is such scant evidence of this franchise’s Baltimore seasons in here. Only the years “1975-79″ next to Ted Marchibroda’s name on the facade of the upper deck in the end zone provide any clue that this club had a history before the Mayflower vans steamed through the snow out of Owings Mills, Md. some 23 years ago.
4:01 P.M. EDT: I’ve never seen so many people in a crowd wearing jerseys. It looks like everyone’s wearing the same thing. I feel like I’m at a Sun Myung Moon rally or something.
4:07 P.M. EDT: You really can’t go wrong with having your team enter to The Who. Well done, Colts.
4:12 P.M. EDT: Jay Cutler calls tails … and the Broncos win the coin toss and will receive. Jason Elam is again the special-teams captain.
4:13 P.M. EDT: Domenik Hixon is back deep to field the kickoff … Tim Crowder is on the kickoff team as a blocker, making his NFL debut.
4:15 P.M. EDT: I’m not sure how much of this game I’m going to see. Jim Fassel, doing a national radio broadcast, is in front of me and WILL … NOT … SIT … DOWN.
4:15 P.M. EDT: Hixon gets his biggest kickoff return of the year so far … 35 yards to the Denver 36.
4:16 P.M. EDT: Brandon Stokley gets the start at wide receiver with Javon Walker out … Travis Henry scoots 10 yards on the game’s opening play and then gashes the Colts for 5 yards one play later to move Denver past midfield.
4:17 P.M. EDT: Travis Henry makes Marlin Jackson miss in the backfield and uses that boost to sprint 14 yards to the Indy 35 … then goes right for the first time on this drive and sprints 15 yards to the Indy 20.
4:18 P.M. EDT: Rob Morris finally puts a halt to the Henry charge, slamming into him with a crunching hit at the Indy 17. One play later, Jay Cutler misfires on his first pro pass in his home state, overshooting an open Brandon Marshall in the left flat.
4:19 P.M. EDT: Third-and-7 … Glenn Martinez in … Cutler with his receivers covered, makes a rather optimistic pass in Marshall’s direction, which goes out of bounds.
4:20 P.M. EDT: Elam drills it from 35 yards away … 3-0, Broncos.
4:22 P.M. EDT: Colts at their 30 after the kickoff … Jarvis Moss (!) and Tim Crowder start at the tackles, with Moss playing from a stand-up alignment … Simeon Rice at right end, Elvis Dumervil at left end … Domonique Foxworth at free safety in place of Lynch … Colts quickly get 16 yards and are on the move.
4:24 P.M. EDT: Great open-field tackle by Nick Ferguson forces the Colts into third-and-2 at the Denver 45 … Moss gets into the backfield from the stand-up slot … Joseph Addai gains two yards for the first down, in spite of the best, most stubborn efforts of Ian Gold and D.J. Williams … or maybe he didn’t get the first down; a measurement is forthcoming.
4:25 P.M. EDT: Addai got the first down … Next play sees Moss, still working from the stand-up, moving outside of Dumervil on the left side.
4:27 P.M. EDT: Sam Adams is standing in front of the defensive coaches as they make the signals on the sideline … Jarvis Moss nearly jumped on the play, but came back before the snap … Manning’s pass is low and incomplete on third-and-6.
4:28 P.M. EDT: Denver takes possession at its 13 after Hixon’s fair catch of Hunter Smith’s 25-yard punt … Somebody tell the press-box P.A. guy that it’s “Domenik” Hixon, not “Dominique.”
4:31 P.M. EDT: What makes Marshall work … he doesn’t go down at the first contact and he makes people miss. Thirteen yards for No. 15, and the Broncos are on the move … and now at the Denver 39 after Henry goes for 13 to the right side.
4:32 P.M. EDT: Henry is just lacerating the Colts defense so far today … Now Selvin Young ets a shot … Denver already has 74 yards, and it becomes 79 after Young goes for six more.
4:34 P.M. EDT: Cutler and Stokley not on the same page on second-and-4 … Third down; Young, Martinez and Nate Jackson ehcek in … and Young gets the football, coming around from the right side to left end on the end-around for 32 … Cutler, Matt Lepsis, Daniel Graham, Glenn Martinez and Chris Myers with the key blocks … Denver has first-and-goal at the 9.
4:36 P.M. EDT: Drive breaking down in the red zone … Now with third-and-goal at the 7 after Henry has the ball stripped by Dwight Freeney.
4:37 P.M. EDT: Cutler finds Marshall on the short pass … five guys running into the secondary, and Marshall catches it even though he’s in tight coverage … Broncos lead 10-0, and this crowd seems a tad stunned.
4:39 P.M. EDT: How to make a bad play worse … hit the kick returner after he’s well out of bounds. Now the Colts begin their possession at the Denver 47.
4:42 P.M. EDT: John Engelberger in at left end; Marcus Thomas at tackle … Broncos generate some pressure, but Manning still gets the completion for 6 yards … now it’ll be third-and-1 after Addai goes right for three yards.
4:43 P.M. EDT: Marvin Harrison is down and holding his knee …
4:44 P.M. EDT: He is now up and is walking to the sidelines under his own power, albeit somewhat gingerly in spots.
4:46 P.M. EDT: Broncos with a five-man front … it does not keep Addai from getting the one yard he needed, plus two more. Colts now at the Broncos 35, and the crowd is getting back into it.
4:47 P.M. EDT: Harrison now back in, and he makes an 8-yard reception with a defender draped over him … Addai runs up to the Denver 22 as the quarter concludes.
Tags: Indianapolis Colts