Monday, January 12, 2015

On the Colts, the Yes It Was A Catch, and stuff

A moment here, if you please, while I tuck this sentence beneath my arm, cradle it in my elbow, walk down to the corner and back, have a cup of coffee, trip on a throw rug, fall down and drop a preposition.

Darn. Some NFL official just ruled it's not a sentence.  Didn't make it to February fully under my control, you see.

That's essentially what happened in Green Bay yesterday, and before the Blob takes up anything -- how wrong it was about the Colts, for instance -- let's take that up. And try to maintain control of it.

Dez Bryant's catch: Was it a catch?

According to the rules, no. According to common sense, logic, the eye test and any other kind of test, yes. A damn brilliant one.

Something has gone seriously off the rails when your rulebook penalizes brilliance, and, in fact, denies that brilliance ever took place. As I've said before, I do not and never have worn a star on my helmet -- I think the Cowboys got away with one last week, when an equally horrendous call ruled that obvious interference against the Lions was not pass interference -- but wrong is wrong. And the NFL needs to correct this wrong immediately.

I've spent a lot of time in the last 18 hours or so watching Bryant's catch, and I've come to the conclusion that A) the rule as written was applied properly, and B) it was nonetheless a catch by any reasonable criteria. He grabbed the ball in mid-air. He pulled it in. He took one, two, three steps on the way down. He hit the turf with the ball still firmly cradled in the crook of his arm. But the ground knocked it loose, so somehow it's not a catch?

And what about the rule that says the ground can't cause a fumble? Doesn't that suggest a play is dead the instant any part of the player makes contact with the turf?

Yet by the rule, which states some muddle about "a football move," it's not a catch. And you know what's wrong about that, other than, again, it negates brilliance?

Had the NFL had the same rule back in the 1970s, one of the iconic plays in Super Bowl history -- Lynn Swann's juggling, double-grabbing catch over Mark Washington in Super Bowl X -- might well have been ruled an incomplete pass.

That's not just wrong. It's criminal.

* And now three words you've never heard before on the Blob, at least after the first few thousand times:

I was wrong.

The Colts are better than I thought. Or at least they were yesterday.

It's well documented I have not been impressed by them all season, but credit must go where it's due: Yesterday they played far and away the best game they've played all year on both sides of the football, at a time when they had to do exactly that to survive.

The subtext to the day, of course, was the clear passing of the torch from the previous Colts icon to the current Colts icon. Andrew Luck was simply brilliant, the very epitome of the next great quarterback legend. Peyton Manning, on the other hand, looked as if the curtain were finally beginning to come down on perhaps the greatest quarterbacking career ever.

On a day when weather in Denver was not really a factor, the deep throw wasn't there for him. Ever. And yesterday he needed it, because Luck put the Broncos down early and the Colts defense played the sort of  peerless football of which a lot of people (OK, me, then) didn't think they were remotely capable.

It's the first time in memory, really, that when Manning absolutely needed something from his extensive toolbox, it wasn't there. And if you perhaps can put that down to simply a bad day ... well, for the first time, it didn't look like a bad day. It just looked like what he is now.

And Andrew Luck?

He looked like what Peyton Manning used to be. And so off the Colts go to the scene of  their traditional resting place, Foxborough, Mass.

Do they have it in them to chase all the ghosts out of that haunted house?

The Blob says no. But then, the Blob didn't think they had it in them to beat Peyton Manning coming off a week's rest, either. So we'll see.

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