I wasn't overally convinced of how good this team was, after routing Jacksonville and Tennesee, yes, maybe a rout wasn't expected, but a win was, but after beating a very good Ravens team and now a very good ( at least they used to be) Bengals team and the dominating way it was done, I am convinced.
Offense: totally clicking on all cylinders, Luck spreading the ball around, the running game looking very good and the much maligned O-line , really getting it done. Luck has been unstoppable (27-42-344-2 TDS) and 0 interceptions, 5th straight 300+ game, tieing a Colts record, he hit 8 different receivers, which has been a season long theme and very good for morale, when everyone is involved, everyone except Nicks, who is becoming a major non-factor. Hilton led the way (7-107) and has been just as unstoppable, Allen and Bradshaw added TDS. The running game, which has been on a downhill run, came back strong, with Richardson, Bradshaw and Herron totalling 166 yds and a TD (Bradshaw), led by Richardson (77). I think that was a combination of having Mewhart and Thortan back in the starting lineup and having complete control of the game and just better execution. The O-line has really been playing great, the pass blocking has really been on a roll and the run blocking has been good, for the most part and at times, very good. I believe that if this group stays healthy, they will continue to get better and better. It does look like Harrison is the "new" center of the future (hmmmmm). The #1 rated offense in the NFL, in total yards, passing yards, scoring and time of pocession, padded those totals with 506 total yards, 344 passing yards and a 40-20 edge in time of pocession. It's time to give Hamilton his due for his game calling, the players still have to execute and they have been, but he is putting them in the position to do that, on a regular basis
Defense: total domination vs the #5 offense in the NFL....135 total yards ( not a typo!) and a good chunk of that, during their last drive when we were just laying back and letting them catch short passes.....1-14 on 3rd and 4th downs!!!!! 4 (more) sacks and zero points...shutout!!! There really aren't many great players on the defensive side of the ball, Davis and Jackson are playing at or near a pro bowl level, the rest are just playing together...team defense, there are alot of really good players, playing at a high level. Adams has been a big addition, with Landry and Howell out and Brown has not been overmatched, despite very little experience. All 4 of the Cb's have played well, all year. Jackson and
Freemen (when healthy) are a great combo inside, I have been really impressed with the play of Walden and Werner ( the last 3 games) on the outside and it all starts up front, if those guys aren't playing great, the rest of the unit...... won't. It's about every guy, doing their job and doing it well. Guys stepping up.....Francois,Brown, Gordy and today Newsome, who has looked the part. Jackson led the way with 7 tackles........Werner,Redding, Francois and Kerr had the sacks. And Manusky deserves a lot of credit, as well, this defense is playing lights out and he has got them playing dominating defense
Special teams: McAfee is a complete specialist...kickoffs-punting- on side kicks and lets not forget, the best tackling punter (ever), Adam has yet to miss and what the heck, we are on a roll, 5 straight wins, just leave Whalen in there.
Next up, the Steelers
ps- I am usually on top of career records,etc, I didn't realize how close Reggie is to becoming the #2 all time career reception leader, he only needs 63 more catches to replace Marvin at #2 , only behind Jerry Rice.....a-w-e-s-o-m-e!!!