by Bert Beiswanger
So, five games into the season and discussions have already started with friends of mine about how good the Colts are coming off the solid win against Seattle last Sunday. With so many blue faithful giddy after the win, it’s a fair discussion. As can be the case with these types of discussions, the topic of quality wins came up, which I always think is an interesting discussion. You know: this team at 4-1 is better than that team at 4-1 because that team didn’t play anyone.
It was pointed out to me that, prior to the Seattle win, the first three Colts victories came against teams with a combined record of 5-10, so it was the Colts first quality win. Well, aren’t three of the reasons that 5-10 record is what it is because the Colts beat those teams? I mean, if the Colts only win one of the three (Jacksonville doesn’t even deserve a hypothetical win right now), then the combined record of those teams is 7-8. If you take out the 0-5 Jags altogether, you’re looking at a combined record of 7-3 for the two teams involving the hypothetical Colts losses.
See what I did just there? If you’re confused, you should be. What I did is actually make the argument of comparing the quality of NFL schedules kind of silly -well, in this particular scenario, anyway.
And a win in San Francisco isn’t a quality win? Despite the injuries the 49ers were dealing with and the funk they seemed to be in at the time (not to mention the coaching staff forgetting in the second half Frank Gore existed), that is absolutely a quality win, especially when you consider division foe Houston got throttled at San Franciso a couple weeks later.
If we’re going to play the strength of schedule game, look at New England’s wins – Bucs, Jets, Falcons, Bills.. By comparison, the Colts resume isn’t any worse. Actually, it’s better.
At some point a team is going to play good and bad teams in this league. And by the end of the season, who knows where teams will be. A 9-7 team can be the better team if they’re healthier than, say, a 12-4 team. In my opinion, it’s more about the quality of a team in general at a given time – the Colts, in this case – and how they’re playing, not so much the schedule.
Here’s one cliche I agree with: any win in the NFL is a good win, especially a road win. Who cares who the win came against. There are good wins and bad losses. There’s no such thing as a bad win and no such thing as a good loss. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.
Back to the Seahawks game. I think the Colts were VERY fortunate to beat Seattle. It was an incredible game and atmosphere. But Seattle is probably wondering how they lost that one. Short of the long TD bombs to T.Y Hilton, Indianapolis was out-played by Seattle. And Seattle didn’t get much help from the referees. The Colts did get help from the referees and they needed it.
It was a great win but lets not get carried away, yet, with putting this team in the upper tier of the league. The Colts are 4-1, so indeed in good position in the AFC (though, I still contend the Miami loss could haunt them). Having said that, Indianapolis is racking up a ton of injuries, and I did not leave that game thinking the Colts looked like an upper tier team, yet. It’s probably a tier two team right now – any team you think that is a contender not named Saints, Patriots, Broncos – and maybe, oddly enough, even Seahawks. The Colts are knocking on the door, though.
I would’ve loved to see this team have a five game stretch with its core to see how good it really could be – TE Dwayne Allen (HUGE loss) and Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw – but we don’t have that luxury. Allen can run, catch, block, you name it. Ballard and Bradshaw are 4+ yards-per-carry backs. But the Colts are pressing on without them and deserve a lot of credit for their toughness, resolve and ability to execute in the clutch.
If the Colts don’t go to San Diego and win with Denver coming in next?..it could be 4-3 just like that heading to Houston. So I need another three to four games to figure out where this team stands with me. By then I will also have legitimately figured out if Trent Richardson can average more than three yard per carry. I’ll also know just what tier this team truly belongs on based on its play on the field, not simply the schedule.
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