The NFL season is finally back, and tonight it starts with the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts will try to defend their NFL Championship in 2007, but they’re missing a lot of key players on defense (Nick Harper, Cato June, Corey Simon, Anthony McFarland). As the playoffs proved, however, is that their key to their defense is safety Bob Sanders. Will he be able to keep his defense, and in turn, the Colts afloat this season?
Meanwhile, the Saints had a magical year in 2006, reaching the NFC Championship for the first time in franchise history behind the conference’s best offense. This year they need to prove that they can maintain that level of success.
It should be a lot of fun tonight…except for the NBC coverage. And Roger Goodell.
8:38 pm: Ahhh, nothing says “NFL” quite like forced humor between Peyton Manning and the star running back of the moment.
8:39 pm: AND THE NFL SEASON IS UNDERWAY! kickoff, and the Colts get the ball to start the game.
8:40 pm: One play into the season, and we already have a decleater. Just as he takes in the pass from Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai is just run over by Saints corner Mike McKenzie. He stays on the ground for a few minutes, but he’s gotten up and it looks like he’ll be okay. The Colts cannot afford to lose him.
8:44 pm: Indy is forced into a three and out as Peyton’s pas on third and 8 is just out of Marvin Harrison’s reach.
Left tackle Tony Ugoh is going to have a very busy night.
8:46 pm: The Saints convert on their third down, as Drew Brees find an open Marques Colston in the middle. Looks like the linebackers weren’t staying at home.
8:48 pm: Reggie Bush SO had a first down on that screen play, but he was dancing a little too much.
8:49 pm: Bush gets the ball again on the end-around. This time he gets the first and more.
8:51 pm: Wow. New Orleans is 3/3 so far on third down. This doesn’t bode well for the Colts defense, who could get tired early in this game. Some very good playcalling by the Saints to start this game.
8:53 pm: The Saints run a HB delay on third and long, and it backfires. Bush is tackled in the backfield for a loss, which puts them back to the 35 yard line, setting up a very long field goal. Olindo mare’s kick is long, but it’s wide left. The game is still scoreless. After 9 or 10 good calls for the Saints offense, it only took one bad call to ruin their scoring chances.
8:57 pm: The Colts begin with very good field position. They finally get a first down on a pass in the flat to Dallas Clark, and suddenly Indy is close to scoring position.
8:59 pm, (2:53 left in the first quarter): Marvin Harrison makes a nice catch to bring up 3rd and 1, adn Joseph Addai gets some nice blocking, runs to the 30, and brings the Colts into field goal range.
9:00 pm, 1:36 left: TOUCHDOWN! Marvin Harrison burns Jason David on the slant, and he catches a Manning pass in the back of the endzone. The Colts now lead 7-0 off the great catch, and suddenly that botched draw play by New Orleans is looking a lot more costly.
9:08 pm: Great awareness by Raheem Brock to knock down the pass on third and long. Brees manages to catch his own pass, but he can’t get the first down and the Saints have to punt.
9:10 pm: And the first quarter ends, with the Colts leading 7-0.
9:14 pm, 13:40 left in the 2nd quarter: Joseph Addai is running the ball well so far in this drive. That’s 3 straight long runs up the middle, and the Saints have not adjusted to it. Nice to see Addai back in the game after that huge hit.
9:15 pm, 12:15 in the 2nd: Peyton Manning knows that there are 40 seconds on the play clock. And he will use every last one.
9:16 pm, 11:32 in the 2nd: TOUCHDOWN! Reggie Waynes catches the ball, but it;s stripped clean out of his hands by Jason David. He teaks the fumble and return 55 yards back for the touchdowns, redeeming himself after getting burned on the Harrison touchdown. The game is tied, 7-7.
9:23 pm, 10:37 in the 2nd: Manning overthrows the pass for a three-and-out, as now Saints DE Will Smith shows that he’s the most versatile man in show business.
The Saints get a great punt return and very good field position.
9:25 pm: Oh yes…what would the NFL be without a Peyton Manning commercial every 2 minutes? It just wouldn’t be the NFL, would it?
9:27 pm, 9:45 in the 2nd: OH! Bob Sanders nearly gets the interception, as Bress got completely fooled on that play. If Sanders is two inches taller, it’s 14-7 Colts right now.
9:28 pm, 9:15 in the 2nd: A huge run by Aaron Stecker, and he gets inside the Colts 35 yard line. Hard to believe that he’s getting a lot of touches behind Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister.
9:31 pm, 6:30 in the 2nd: 3rd down in the redzone…and Bush drops the pass. Just a lack of concentration, and the Saints have settle for a field goal. Mare makes the kick, and the Saints take a 10-7 lead.
9:37 pm, 5:47 in the 2nd: I knew there was something missing! The one thing that the NFL delivers more than anything else…insane levels of hyperbole. Don’t get me wrong; Tony Dungy winning the Super Bowl is a tremendous achievement. But comparable to the civil rights movement?
9:40 pm: Now THAT was a good commercial. Football fans know Jerry Jones is a control freak; it’s actually pretty cool to see him embrace that side of his personality.
9:41 pm, 4:31 in the 2nd: That’s the second straight possession that ends quickly for Indy. The Saints D-line has been doing a good job of keeping Peyton under pressure in the 2nd quarter.
9:44 pm, 3:05 in the 2nd: How did Eric Johnson manage to recover tha fumble and maintain possession for the saints? He had to battle 5 Colts defenders in that scrum.
9:46 pm, 2:24 in the 2nd: What a play by Kieaho. He was being blocked by n offensive lineman at least 70 pounds heavier than him, and he just plowed through the guy to get to Reggie Bush behind the line and force a punt. As we approach halftime, two of the NFL’s best offenses have combined for one touchdown.
9:49 pm: Bob Costas: “In case you haven’t heard, Sunday night is football night.” Really? No s— Sherlock!
9:50 pm, 1:46 in the 2nd: Dallas Clark is wide open in the middle of the field, and Peyton hits him in stride. Clark runs for a 30+ yard gain inside the Saints 35 yard line.
9:52 pm, :49 in the 2nd: Joseph Addai gets a few nice carries to take the Cols into the Red Zone.
Wait a minute…why is New Orleans calling a timeout?
9:54 pm, :45 in the 2nd: Take a good look at that 3rd down play, you won’t see it often. What you just witnessed was a complete miscommunication between Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, and it leads to a 4th down.
Adam Vinatieri’s kick goes right down the middle to tie the game, 10-10.
9:57 pm, :24 in the 2nd: Just as it looks like the Saints might drive up the field and get a scoring chance before halftime, Dwight Freeney completely beats the offensive line and nearly sacks Brees, who’s forced to shovel pass behind his back to an offensive lineman.
10:00 pm: We’re at halftime, and the Colts and Saints are tied, 10-10. Everyone thought that this game would be an offensive shootout, but both defenses have been impressive tonight.
10:19 pm, 13:07 left in the 3rd quarter: The Saints get the ball to start the second half and almost immediately relinquish it on a 3 and out.
10:21 pm, 12:11 in the 3rd: Dallas Clark takes the end-around for the first down. The Colts offense line did a great job of pulling and blocking on the outside to spring the run on 3rd and long.
10:23 pm, 10:00 in the 3rd: Marvin Harrison absolute burns Mike McKenzie, and he’s open for a near perfect pass from Peyton Manning, and he takes it down to the 2.
10:25 pm, 9:45 in the 3rd: TOUCHDOWN! Jpseph Addai finishes the drive with a run on the right side into the end zone. The Colts lead 17-10 after the extra point. Hunter Smith does a great job of controlling the snap for the extra point. Never underestimate the importance of the kick holder.
10:30 pm, 9:39 in the 3rd: How is that not an interception? Bress forces a pass, ans it nearly gets picked off–twice! Bryan Bethea should have had that one.
10:32 pm, 8:05 in 3rd: Another 3-and-out for the Saints. Brees is having a rough night.
10:36 pm, 6:41 in 3rd: Addai gets a huge run up the middle, taking the Colts again within striking distance.
10:37 pm, 6:11 in 3rd: TOUCHDOWN! Jason David gets burned again, as Reggie Wayne slants at just the right moment for Manning to hit him wide open in the end zone. It’s 24-10 Colts, as the Saints may have a big problem at cornerback this season. Where were the safeties?
10:41 pm, 5:56 in 3rd: Deuce Mcallister gets a big run up the middle for New Orleans’ first 1st down of the second half.
The Colts have done a good job on defense tonight. It’s becoming pretty clear that Bob Sanders is the piece that holds the Colts’ defensive unit together.
10:46 pm, 2:02 in 3rd: The Saints offense seems to be back on track, committing almost entirely on the running game. It’s working against Indy’s deep safeties, and it take the pressure off of Brees to force passes.
10:48, :30 in 3rd: Yeah, it’s definitely Brees who has been the weak spot for the Saints in this game. Once again he forces a pass, and he finally pays dearly for it, as Keiaho picks the ball off at the Indy 45.
10:49, end of 3rd: Manning hits on a deep pass to Reggie Wayne, beating Jason David AGAIN! and the Colts will be back inside the red zone to start the 4th quarter. With the Colts leading 24-10 and the New Orleans offense struggling mightily, this game could be over very soon.
10:54 pm, 14:12 left in the 4th quarter: The Colts have to settle for a field goal. Indy leads 27-10. It’s now a three score game, and keep in mind that the Saints have yet to score an offensive touchdown.
10:57 pm, 13:49 in 4th: Just great. The one time that Brees’ pass is on target, and his receiver drops it. Has to be disheartening.
10:58 pm, 13:00 in 4th: It’s 4th and 1, and the Saints, down 17, are punting.
11:04 pm, 10:05 in 4th: Another play action fake, and Reggie Wayne burns David again, and the Colts get the touchdown to take a 34-10 lead. This game, for all intents and purposes, is over. Jason David is having the worst night of his football life.
11:06 pm: What do you know? Another Peyton Manning commercial.
11:12 pm, 8:05 in 4th: Drew Brees is stripped of the ball, and the Colts recover. It’s pretty much insult to injury at this point. I don’t think anyone expected this kind of a blowout.
11:30 pm: A microcosm of the night: Brees forces a pass, the ball is intercepted by Matt Giordano, and he returns it almost 90 yards back for a touchdown, as he outunrs everyone, and the Saints aren’t there to make the tackle. Colts 41, Saints 10.
11:35 pm: The Colts win 41-10, as the game mercifully comes to an end. The Colts dominated every aspect of the game tonight. Brees could not get anything done, and the Saints defense had no answer for Peyton Manning and his receivers in the second half.