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Stream of Consciousness: Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals

This is the Cardinals last game before the bye week and the Colts come to the desert 2-0 and winners of their last eleven regular season games.  With the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams losing today, the Cardinals have a great opportunity to flex their offensive and defensive muscles and squelch the nay sayers for a couple of weeks.  This is a "synopsis" of the game, part play-by-play, part random comments.  This allows for Revenge of the Birds users to relive the game through the subjective view of one individual (the opinions of said individual do not necessarily reflect the position of cgolden, Andrew602, CardsFan08, or Pyromnc, the Arizona Cardinals or even Hawkwind the morning after); this also offers a "diary" of the game for users to comment upon key parts of the game.  Read, comment, criticize, cringe, and enjoy!

Pregame Prediction:  Cardinals 25  Colts 23

Sunday Night Football hasn't quite reached the hype of Monday Night Football in it's prime, but it's pretty darn close.  "I'm still old", great quote Kurt.  The Cardinals have tended to flop in prime time games until last year's playoff run.  By the sound of the crowd, the Cards should be getting the home support they've yearned for.

Colts First Drive:  Deep kick out of Rackers for a touchback.  Good start.  Peyton Manning throws deep on the right to Pierre Garcon is long on the throw.  False start on second down.  Go crowd!  Second and 15 pass is too tall.  Dallas Clark collects the third down pass but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is there for the quick tackle.  Punt!  Breaston is back on the punt (thank gawd!) and has a nice 11 yard return.

Cardinals First Drive:  Draw to Tim Hightower for a short gain.  Kurt Warner tosses to Timmy in the right flat for a nice pick-up to midfield.  Third and four.  Pressure is there as Dwight Freeney nails Kurt...ball is out...Gandy scoops it up and tries to rumble and gets back to the Cards' 48.  Hmmm.  Ben Graham boots it 43 yards where it is fair caught on the nine yard line.

Colts Second Drive:  Joseph Addai gets nothing on first down.  Austin Collie collects the pass on second down at the marker.  First down.  Garcon for six yards as Manning goes to a hurry up.  Manning is doing is pantomime thing.  Pass over the middle to Clark is imcomplete.  Third and four.  Pass caught at the marker by Clark...looks a little short...hard to type with a purring/drooling cat on my lap...fourth down and six inches...PUNT!!!  Good job defense.  Short punt, Cards bounce to their 35.  Nice.

Cards Second Drive:  Timmy is stuffed after a couple yards.  First down runs are looking weak.  Warner hits Steve "Boobs" Breaston for a nice pick up to the Colts' 46.  First down.  Crap, trick play that looks pretty sloppy as Tim flips a ball back to Anquan Boldin as if on a reverse.  Q falls on the ball for an six yard loss.  Lame.  Long pass to Larry Fitzgerald deep on the left side has blatant pass interference that isn't called.  Apparently the ball as uncatchable.  Hmmm.  BS.  Screen pass to Hightower is not caught which is just as well as it would have been a loss on the play.  Punt.  ::sigh::  Graham has another nice boot for 45 yards that is fair caught.

Colts Third Drive:  Addai threads his way through the defense for a nice eight yard gain.  Addai is hit by Calais Campbell after a yard gain.  Dockett is going off the field, ooooh ****!  Alan Branch is in and stuffs Addai short of the mark!  ALAN!!!  Doing more than dancing with Mexican media members!  Punt....Boobs takes it at the 39 and tangoes back to the 31.  Better give him forward progress.  What shoot out indeed, Al Michaels.

Cards Third Drive:  I guess not as the Cards start at the 32.  Warner connects with Anthony Becht for eleven yards.  Chris Wells is hit in the backfield for a loss as Dan Kreidler is blown up on the play.  We have a fullback for what reason again?  Second and 13 and Warner hits Fitzgerald across the middle and has his head nearly ripped off by a couple of Colts.  Flag.  Took a hand to the eye.  Blink it off Larry.  Ball is at the 29 now.  Pass to Jason Wright on the left flat for a short gain.  Jason Wright carries to the 21.  Third and two.  Warner is under pressure again and is able to move up in the pocket and lobs to the left corner of the endzone where Fitz isn't able to reach it.  Damn.  Rackers is in, and nails the 38 yarder.  Cardinals 3  Colts 0  Key Play:  Fitzgerald catch and 15-yard penalty.

Colts Fourth Drive:  Rackers squibs this kick (why?) and is picked up at the 18 and advanced by Donald Brown to the the 35.  Word from sideline is Dockett has a tweaked ankle and is doubtful to return.  Looks like Branch and Dykes will get a lot of extra work.  I hope this isn't a high sprain, hard to tell from the replay.  Looks like Ralph Brown flew into NINE-O on a run stuff.  Long pass play to Austin Collie (sounds like Al is saying "Boston College") to the Cards' 38.  Crap.  Alan Branch applies the pressure and hits Peyton's arm that causes the ball to flutter into the arms of Antrel Rolle!  Welcome to the NFL, Branch.  About frakking time.  Rolle goes back to the 43.

Cards Fourth Drive:  Wells carries for a short gain.  Second and eight.  Warner hits LaRod Stephens-Howling at the Colts' 47.  Dear gawd, my wife is going to eat the whole pizza while I am typing....what the 'ell?  Bird on the field, game is delayed.  A morning dove enjoying the AC apparently.  Third and one.  Warner is under pressure and throws to Fitz who is sodomized by the defender.  Pass Interference on Keiaho...nearly ripped his jock off.  From the 42 Warner hits Boldin whole drives to the 35.  Hell ya!  End of First Quarter 

Cards Fourth Drive Continued:  Warner pass to Kreider goes through his hands...Terrelle Smith, I miss you.  Seven different Cards receivers have touched the ball already.  Really?  Q gets another catch to the 10 yard line.  First and goal?  Warner is 8/12 for 93 yards so far.  He may be old but like in a good way like an old bottle of port.  Cards take a timeout...why?  ::shrugs::  Hightower has a strong run up the gut and fumbles to the ball as #33 sticks him.  Colts' ball on the five.  %$#*!!!

Colts Fifth Drive:  Don't give up the big play Cards after the turnover....McFadden tackles like a girl.  Addai gains seven.  Dockett is back in, good news, except Addai gains 12 on second down.  First and 10 from the 25.  Long pass on the left is incomplete.  Screen to the left to Clark for six yards.  Third down conversion to Clack for 15 yards as Adrian Wilson tries to strip the ball.  First and ten from the 41.  Addai for three with Karlos Dansby on the tackle.  Reggie Waynes hauls in a 15 yard catch at the Cardinals' 36.  Alan Branch blocks the first down thro with his head.  Collie has a nine yard catch to the 27.  Bend don't break, D!  Third and one.  A fake run handoff to Clark on the end-around picks up the first down to the 20.  Wayne collects teh pass with one hand and falls on the pylon for a TD.  DRC was guessing the route and was wrong, really wrong.  Colts 7  Cards 3

Cards Fifth Drive:  Gandy is bullrushed back into Wells and Freeney sacks Warner for a seven yard loss.  Warner misses Boldin on second down.  Is that a wobbly wheel on the Cardinals' Bandwagon?  Warner is pressured again and throws to Stephen Spach's feet.  Punt.  TJ Rushing picks up the short pass at his 43 yard line and gets a nice return that is all for naught as the Block in the Back brings the ball back to the other side of the 50. 

Colts Sixth Drive:  From the 43, Pierre Garcon takes an end-around and pushes DRC down like a rag doll as he gains 18 yards.  Lordy.  Our vaunted secondary is looking vulnerable.  Short gain on first down before Wayne picks up another first down to the Cards 25.  Manning to Clark after Gerald Hayes bites on the play action.  Colts just outside the 10.  Manning throws to Addai's feet as the screen is sniffed out.  Manning to Clark over the middle...TD.  Too easy.  Far too easy.  The Colts are looking strong.  DRC blocks the extra point!  Use that speed!  No, ball hit the camera on the cross bar.  Gooffy play.  Colts 14  Cards 3

Cards Sixth Drive:  LSH takes the ball at the one yard line and gains 20 yards.  Hightower has a strong carry on first down for seven.  Timmy's fumble totally changed this game.  10-0 is now 14-3.  Second carry by Tim is only good for two.  Third and one and Tim is hit in the backfield and is screwed.  A rain of boos that are well deserved.  Bad play call or bad execution?  Graham has a short kick (again) that bounces to the 30 and is picked up and has an immediate hit.

Colts Seventh Drive:  Short run for three by Addai who follows it up with a strong run of six.  Third and one.  Garcon takes the catch for a first down.  Strong player that dude with the French name.  Two-minute Warning  First and ten from the Colts 46.  Manning hits Garcon on the right sideline as a totally beaten DRC dives far short of Pierre's feet.  TD.  Whoever has Manning on their fantasy team is living fat tonight.  DRC is offsides on the extra point.  ::sigh::  Colts 21  Cards 3  New Family Guy tonight, right?  DRC is looking like a small school rookie this year. 

Cards Seventh Drive:  LSH takes the touchback.  Warner to Q for 14.  Warner to Boobs for 11.  Hits Jerhame Urban for six in the middle.  Foster hit Warner a little late for a Personal Foul penalty.  Put the QBs in bubble-wrap...a little late, but not that bad.  Maybe he drove him to the turf.  ::shrugs::  Believe me, I don't want to see Leinart yet but let the guys play football!  Colts coach must be part Vulcan, not emotion on the sideline even after that call.  Q has a nice catch over the middle after a route that would get you a DUI in most states.  First and ten from the 18.  Warner throws towards Fitz but high.  Good throw away.  Warner then hits the Colts' DB (Jennings) square in the hands but he drops it (Breaston was the intended receiver).  Warner then hits Breaston at the goal line while he's airborn...Boobs as nearly in but the second defender pushed him back to stop the score.  First and goal and 29 seconds in the half.  Audible by Warner, people are covered, throws to Fitz, bounces, hits two Colts before Bethea makes the INT.  Bethea had Boldin in a choke hold on the play.  WTF?!?!?  LAME ASS SHIT!  Bad call refs/Kurt.  End of the First Half

Halftime Musings:  Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.  Hightower's fumble at the Colts' five yard line makes all the difference at this point.  Sure, Colts would have stormed back most likely but at least the crowd would be in the game.  Seriously, when does FOX's Animation Domination start?  ::sigh::  Oh, yeah, eat pizza while you can....NBC tries too hard with their production...doubt I'll be seeing many more Cards games on NBC via the flex schedule at this rate.

Third Quarter

Cards Eighth Drive:  LSH is nice and ellusive on his return to the 26 yard line.  He'll break one this year for sure.  Short pitch and catch to Spach for nine yards.  Empty back field puts Hightower to the right and he takes the pass for a long gain on the sideline to the Colts 41.  Cards are going hurry-up.  Hightower carries for five.  Breaston catches at the marker.  First down at the 30.  Warner scrambles to the right, lures the linebacker away from Timmy who makes the catch for eleven yards.  Warner to Q for nine yards to the 11.  No gain to the left to Spach who is buried after the catch.  Third and one.  Warner hits Q in the left corner for the TD!  Looked easy.  Need the D to step it up.  Colts 21  Cards 10

Colts Eighth Drive:  Rackers has a deep kick.  Colts start at the 20 with 10:50 left in the quarter.  Waynes makes a spectacular catch on the sideline with McFadden trailing to the Cards' 47.  The Cards defense is looking lost.    Addai takes a sprint draw and weaves his way for nine yards.  Addai takes the next rush for six yards.  First down.  Manning misfires to Clark in the middle.  From the 30 Manning hits Addai for a flare screen that is a big gainer except Garcon was holding.  Second and 17 after the spot foul.  Donald Brown is in and likely makes many Cardinals fans wonder "what if" as he gains 23.  Lordy.  Is Dave McGinnis on the sidelines again, I'm having bad flashbacks.  Indeed Manning is picking apart the Cards D, Collingsworth.  DRC breaks in front of Garcon in the endzone and each player nearly comes up with the ball.  Third and ten.  Manning feels the pressure and throws to the ground.  Dockett and Campbell were there.  The man my wife would leave me for in an instant is on the field (Vinatieri) for a 32 yard attempt.  He "doinks" it off the left upright.  PHEW!!!

Cards Nineth Drive:  Warner misses Q.  Huh, Colts haven't been to Arizona since 1990.  Warner hits Q in the hands but  he cannot coral it.  The ball is nearly picked off.  Phew.  Warner has lots of time to find Fitz for 15 yards.  OH ****!!!  Warner overthrows Fitz on the left on a long bomb.  DAMN!  Hightower carries for four yards.  Warner nearly gets hit as Gandy holds his guy which negates the first down pass to Fitz.  Freeney is owning Gandy tonight.  Why are we paying Mike $5 million this year?  First penalty though!  Breaston catches in the middle on third and forever and is six yards short.  Graham booms the kick sixty yards into the endzone.  DOH!  That may have been the game right there on that drive. 

Colts Nineth Drive:  Darnell Dockett penetrates and nails Brown in the backfield for a two yard loss.  Come on D!!!  Oh, you've got to be kidding me!!!  What the frak was that kind of defensive coverage?  Who the hell is calling that frakking piece of crap defensive coverage!   Fuck me raw!  Christ!  Donald Brown > Chris Wells as he takes a short pass for a zillion yards.  Face mask to boot.  First and goal from the five.  Haggans stops Addai from going in but Addai then gets in on a middle screen.  Colts 28  Cards 10

Cards Tenth Drive:  LSH takes it from four yards deep only to the 17.  Freeney is making Gandy soil himself!  Bring in Keith, he couldn't do any worse!  Third and twelve after an incomplete pass and two yard loss by Hightower.  Breaston catches a deep ball in the middle to the Cards 44.  First down.  ::sigh::  Fitz gets a short gain.  Second and five.  Muir buries Warner who gets the ball off for an incompletion (Sendlein's guy).  Third and five, Warner calls a TO.  Warner is under a ton of pressure again but is able to connect with Breaston to the Colts' 47.  Flag.  Holding on Levi Brown.  Freeney is a beast.  End of Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

Cards Tenth Drive Continued:  Third and forever from the 35.  Warner is hit as he throws and is picked off by Marlon Jackson at the 44.  Well, at least the Niners lost....

Colts Tenth Drive:  First and ten from the Cards' 41.  Addai has a short gain.  Reggie Waynes takes a crossing pattern for 22 yards to the 18.  Damn, the Cards used to look this good.  Garcon takes the catch and DRC acts like I do after a Cards loss and gets all bitchy on Garcon on the sideline.  Offsetting penalties.  Lame.  First and ten again.  Al Michaels should not give linguistics tips during an NFL telecast.  The Cards are able to hold Addai short on third down as Hayes makes a great tackle.  Freeney is leaving the game with a left leg injury.  26 yard FG attempt is good by Vinatieri.  Colts 31  Cards 10  Steelers are 1-2 too.  ::sigh::

Cards Eleventh Drive:  Kick-off rolls to the one where LSH picks it up and is tackled short of the 15.  Should have backed up and taken a touchback.  First and 10 from the 14.  Hurry up offense.  Fitz has a 18 yard catch.  Mathis blows by Levi Brown and sacks Warner.  Second and 13...ball to Breaston is not caught though he wants a flag.  Third and 13...Warner is hit againas the balls is batted.  Graham hits a 45 yarder and a Holding penalty takes on ten. 

Colts Eleventh Drive:  Time to kill the clock.  First and ten from the nine as Brown is tackled for a loss by Wilson.  Short pass to Wayne on second down.  Oh boy, Michaels is bringing up Collingsworth's "worst team in the playoffs" comment.  He's been saying that since '98.  Third and four...ball is deflected by McFadden and Chike Okeafor cannot catch the ball.  ::sigh::  Punt...Breaston returns for six yards to the Cards' 46.

Cards Twelveth Drive:  Warner has been sacked three times, hit 12 times, knockdowned 4 times, but hasn't had a batted ball (guess the last Warner play was a knockdown > batted ball).  Nice.  Warner will have a hard time staying upright all season at this rate.  There's 8:41 left.  Short pass to Urban for nine.  Low pass to Fitz for the first down.  Cards on the 36.  Warner throws to no one.  ???  Breaston ran the wrong route.  Breaston for ten yards.  Warner under pressure throws over Urban.  Fitzgerald gets squished for a 10 yard gain.  First down.  Warner fires a bullet to Fitz at the goal line.  Damn.  Almost.  Warner throws behind Q on second down and the ball is nearly intercepted (again).  Third and ten from the 17.  Delay of Game.  What the 'ell?  Kurt!!!  Warner was distracted by defensive shifts.  Four man rush applies ample pressure for Warner to throw a wobbly ball towards Q that's incomplete.  Fourth and fifteen, they're going for it....four man blitz chases Warner all the way back to the 50 yard line.  28 yard sack.  Wow. 

Colts Twelveth Drive:  Brown short gain.  Matty Leinart is warming up.  Is that Colts fans leading a cheer in the stands?  Is this Sun Devil Stadium again?  Brown picks up seven for the first down.  Hayes stops Brown for no gain.  Brown then gains six.  Third and four and Ali Highsmith stops Brown for a loss.  Holding penalty is declined.  Fourth and eight and Colts are going for it...and connects to Wayne...nice coverage McFadden.  Play like that and you'll make a HUGE FA splash in a couple of years.  Colts have 508 yards total offense.  Awesome!  Two-minute Warning  Colts at the 14 on second and ten.  Lots of long faces on the Cards' sideline.  Wells, Boldin, Warner, Whisenhunt, I'm getting a "same ol' Cards" vibe from this team.  They don't believe in themselves.  Blank stares everywhere.  Fourth and 13 and Brown is tackled for a loss.

Cards Thirteenth Drive:  Leinart is in and my TiVo recording cut out to The Cleveland Show.  Nice.  Did he take a knee?  Final Score:  Colts 31  Cardinals 10

Upon Reflection:  The Cardinals need to take advantage of their bye week to make adjustments that are meaningful.  The home field advantage is gone and I doubt the Cards will run the table on the road.  Though turnovers in the redzone was the catalyst of the team's loss, the offensive line's inability to afford Warner enough time to work his magic was the crux of the team's failures on the field.  500+ yards of offense by the Colts is a testament to that team's greatness and how far the Cardinals need to come to be comparable.