If we could bottle it up and sell it...we would be rich!!! How a team can look so pathetic vs lower rated teams, then look totally different vs elite teams...I have seen this many times, over the years, it really defies logic, it sometimes appears that guys are just going through the motions, then just start focusing????? I guess that is why this sport is so crazy popular. Bad games happen and sometimes happen vs teams you are supossed to beat, but in the big picture, what really matters is when you are facing an elite team, can you compete...in the 3 games vs new england-carolina and denver, this team showed they can and I will repeat....there is a big difference between competing and winning, this time.....the result was a win. I have said that this team has the talent to compete, still not real confident they are good enough to win..in crunch time-the postseason, if they produce and play like they did last night, they can, but I also believe some other teams have a better chance in those type of games. For us to win, we have to play near perfect, very little room for error, but that can happen
Offense: Have to start with the obvious, the game plan seemed to be night and day different with Chud calling the plays vs Hamilton, the sluggish start is not 100% on Hamilton, he doesn't drop the ball, or throw the interceptions, or fumble, or make penalties or not make the right reads,etc....but I do believe he was a big part of the problem. To be brutally honest, Luck's play , for the most part, this year, if he was named........Painter and not luck, would have probably resulted in a benching.....he was that bad, then just like the overall team's production...somebody apparantly flipped a switch and he looked like he did his first 3 years.....how does that happen?.... you play like crap for 6 games and then......? Stats-wise it was a solid game-not great (21-36-252-2 TD's) with the biggest stat being............ZERO interceptions!!!
Gore (28-83-TD) was effective and the running game was a bigger part of the game plan, which had a lot to do with the great start as opposed to the frequent slow starts in the previous games. Hilton (5-82) showed up this week, Whalen (5-73) has played a big role the past 2 weeks and has earned more playing time vs another player (high priced free agent) who has had 1 good game this year. The O-line was again....adequate-with much room for improvement. Must be noted that although the stats weren't great, they were playing the best defense in the league. Another plus was time of possesion, we held a 40-20 edge, which is always the blueprint for sucess vs great QB's
Defense: the stats were very impressive, again considering the opponent, although Manning hasn't been consistently playing like the elite Manning, he is still one of the best, the rushing totals looked great (14-35) but denver was dealt the hand we have been dealt, all year, when you get that far behind, the game plan goes out the window and the running game-an afterthought. Butler and Adams had interceptions. The pass rush-again-adequate and finished with 1 sack (Langford), early in the season Anderson seemed to be the best of the group, but overall Langford has played at a higher level (leading the way with 6 tackles) while Anderson, who is now done for the year, has not be as effective, which will make the somewhat less than stellar group, even more suspect.
Special teams: probably their worst overall game of the year, Adam (2-2) was good, McAfee was good (not great) but the 83 yd return, at the time, looked like a back breaker. Although Bray has been an upgrade, it's too early to tell how much.
Summary: Who are they? Inconsistent.....on a roll...up and coming.....fortunate....who knows, it does give hope to play good vs elite teams and you can somewhat overlook the sluggish start-it happens....reality: this is a good team, who can compete vs elite teams, whether they can improve enough to beat those teams, down the road...............we will see.............this was for sure , a step in the right direction.