Letters From The General

Letters From The General
Rick Riggin

General

Dearest Beth,
On a day where we honored our battalion’s retired Commander, Gen. Manning, our Vice President seemed to concede an early defeat by leaving the battle arena as he faced the crouching enemy. Today was bittersweet as I, once again, was not able to join my men in the trenches. But we were able to come away victorious against the invading gold miners of San Francisco. Now we depart these blood soaked fields to battle Titans from Tennessee. The journey will be short, but the fight will be long.

Sincerely,
General A. Luck

History in Indy!

Indianapolis- We are stationed at the media center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lunch has been served and gotta say IMS can put a spread together!

We just witnessed history here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sam Schmidt who is paralyzed just raced one of the greatest racers in the world 77-year-old Mario Andretti. So yes you read that right paralyzed from the neck down Sam Schmidt is competing in a race. Some may say he has nothing to prove and this may be true. However that didn’t stop the 52 year old Sam Schmidt from the challenge. The drivers drove a 4 lap race around the “Indy Road Course”.

IMS prez Doug Boles thought the idea was pretty nuts himself. To quote Doug Boles “I got a note from Sam sometime last fall, early winter, saying, ‘Hey, I’d like to do a head-to-head race next May against Mario Andretti,’ and I thought he was crazy,” Boles said. “But I thought Mario might be even crazier, and I didn’t know that you could actually convince Mario to do that, but Mario actually agreed.

Photo Credit Indy Car
Photo Credit Indy Car

It was an amazing scene here at IMS. Mario won the race and Sam Schmidt was quick to challenge a rematch. It was clear Sam Schmidt was very emotional about the experience. The “The Mayor of Hinchtown” waved the flag! James Hinchcliff the 2011 Verizon IndyCar series Rookie of the Year. Driver of the #5 Indy car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport. is a driver for Sam Schmidt.

The grid is set for the Indy Car GP with will Power on the “POLE” and setting a new Track record 1 minute, 10.2014 seconds — on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Penske claimed the top two spots on the speed chart! Penske looks to dominate today’s race. Even after a disappointing qualification for Simon Pagenaud who will be starting back in 6th position.

Indianapolis Colts star QB Andre Luck will give the “Race Command” and Retired Colts outside line backer Robert Mathis will drive the Pace Car for the Indy Car GP.

I spent some time walking the pits and garages and I can tell you the teams are ready…the fans are here..and so are we!

Colts Ended Season on Embarrassing Note

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The Indianapolis Colts played their worst game since the 2-14 season on Sunday against the Patriots. They were dominated at every turn, and on every down. Both sides of the football, the Patriots dominated.

On the offensive side, Andrew Luck played terribly. He had a season low 126 passing yards, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His throws seemed short, and inaccurate the entire game, but not that it mattered. Receivers couldn’t get separation and T.Y. Hilton had 2 defenders at his side at all times. The run game was the same, but they seemed to have alittle more sucess than usual. They finished with 83 total yards, and 51 from Boom Herron; who averaged 5 yards a carry.

The defense was the real embarrassment. Allowing the Patriots to score 45 points, on 397 total yards of offense. Lead by Colts-killer LeGarrette Blount, who yet again stampeded the Colts front 7 for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. Its not that Blount out ran anybody, but the Colts just could not tackle, and Blount was just an unstoppable train. The Colts however did limit Gronk to 28 yards and a touchdown.

Tom Brad had a pretty pedestrian game, with 226 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. But that’s all they needed was a pedestrian game form him with the under par performance of Luck and Blounts’ great game.

Later on allegations came out against the Patriots stating they were deflating footballs, and it affected the game. The NFL stated that its normal to have a least one, but the situation become “abnormal” or “rare” to find multiple like that. Regardless of the verdict, they could’ve played with a nerf football and still lost the game. Either way the Colts got outplayed, and deserved to lose.

The Colts have got a bright future ahead of them, and for a team that young; reaching the AFC Championship is a big deal. This offseason will be a big one for the Colts. A new Andrew Luck contract coming, and a decent amount of money to spend, they’ll look to make improvements.

 

Why the Colts can win the AFC

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This week has been an distracting week for the Colts. The Josh McNary rape allegations, Trent Richardson and Xavier Nixon missing the team flight to Boston due to tardiness and ‘personal issues’ and then talks of a massive Andrew Luck deal.

It seems as if things just wont line up for the Colts, and with these distractions; analysts are scared to even mention a Colts victory. Yet when do the Colts play best? When the world is against them and the odds are stacked highest.

Indy will be facing their biggest challenge so far this season. A New England Patriots team that has dominated them in every category in the Luck era. Each Colts loss hasn’t even come close, all of them being a margin larger than three touchdowns. This week the Colts have every single reason to lose, and that is why they’ll win.

Last week every single analysts on ESPN NFL Gameday picked the Denver Broncos handily over the Indianapolis Colts. This is the type of thing that fuels Indy and its players. Last week it did, and after hearing all week about how ‘the Colts don’t have a run game’ or ‘Luck cant beat the Pats’ they’re motivated. Motivated to get this New England Demon off their backs, and reach the Superbowl.

Prediction: This game is going to come down to Luck, obviously. If he can take care of the football, the Colts have an easy shot at victory, but lets be honest their will be some turnovers; but they need to limit them. Boom Herron will be a big X-factor (has 18 catches this postseason), and time will tell if Bill Belichick’s plan will consists of  slowing down Boom. Brady will have a tough tie against the Colts secondary Sunday. With Davis and Toler Vs Edelman and Amendola, The Colts have got the physical size advantage; but they’ve got Gronk. Who is Brady’s favorite target and is a tough cover for Laron Landry and the Colts linebackers. It would be easy for me to say the Colts will get blow out again and young talent will be defeated by experience and tricky play calling. But I cannot, because Luck is about to knock Brady right out of his Ugg boots, and finally the demons will be gone. Colts 24-21.

Colts Play Best Game of Season

Denver Broncos versus the Indianapolis Colts

Its official. The baton has been passed. Manning to Luck. A new era has begun, and at the center of it is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Yesterday was an expected battle, which would most likely be a back and forth offensive battle, with practically the entirety of analysts in the known universe betting on the Broncos. Strangely, those those expectations failed, and Andrew Luck and the Colts shocked the world.

Being an avid Colts fan, I expected many turnovers and mistakes to take place, but I expected Lucks talent to overrule all else. This expectation was also partially incorrect.

The game seemed to be one of fight, with the game tied 7-7. Then the turning point of the game. Colts rush linebacker and rookie Jonathan Newsome beat left tackle Ryan Clady; to strip sack former Colt Peyton Manning. Why was this the turning point? It changed the momentum, and the Colts never turned back. On the ensuing drive, the Colts scored on a pass to a Dwayne Allen that was practically being hugged by frustrated corner Aqib Talib.

Denver caught the Colts on the wrong night. Every part of the Colts defense was clicking. They held Denver to 288 total yards of offense, deflected 7 passes, gave Peyton Manning 27.9 QBR, and held Colts-killer Julius Thomas to a lowly 53 yards. Oh and Denver scored 1 touchdown, the ENTIRE game.

Hakeem Nicks made his mark on the game with yet another great late game catch, this one for a touchdown on a bullet pass from Andrew Luck.

Maybe the most impacting performance of all Sunday, was the Colts offensive line. Which was quite unexpected, considering the injuries to Gosder Cherilus and Jonathan Harrison and extreme inconsistency of Hugh Thornton; the o-line playing well doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The biggest suprise was Colts left tackle Joe Reitz. Earlier this year he had a few bad games, in his worst against Jacksonville he allowed 4 sacks in the first quarter. Since then hes been a pretty decent help, and yesterday he played very well. Shockingly they allowed NO SACKS yesterday.

Peyton Manning went 26/46 on passes Sunday, and seemed to struggle hitting wide open wide receivers down field. In fact it seemed painful to watch Manning try to loft a ball downfield. The torn quad, and his age a showing, and it does not look good. After the game when asked about retirement he stated “I just cant give that simple answer, I cant say right now”. When Peyton is unsure about something, its likely that he may be done, and I cant blame him.

The Colts will play the New England Patriots next Sunday in Foxborough for the AFC Championship. Andrew Luck has never beaten the Pats. In fact, he hasn’t come within 3 touchdowns in any matchup. I expect things to be a lot closer, and far more interesting.

 

 

Colts Struggles

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This season the Colts have had a rough going against elite teams. Starting off the season with a defeat to the Denver Broncos; in a game which seemed to be a blow out, until a quick Colts spurt, and an eventual 31-24 loss.

The Colts have had in terms of team prediction records; the easiest schedule in the NFL. They now sit at 10-5, with the division clinched. Have they performed that way though? Considering the schedule, and the blow out losses to contenders like Pittsburgh, New England, and Dallas. This Colts team may be shakier than we first imagined to start the year.

They might have the best young team in football, but they’ve got some growing up to do. Luck has thrown double the interceptions he did last season, and the Colts defense has improved, but is far from being solid.

Last season was similar to this one. Disappointing losses, some flashes of greatness, and horrendous performances. That’s what you get when your entire offense was practically all drafted the same season, and your defense struggles to find any sort of consistency.

After the Dallas blowout 42-7. Journalists had a field day, throwing the Colts down the gutter any chance the got. Now of course this is permitting of the loss; but does it justify the Colts playoff chances? Maybe.

After all we all thought we were going to get blown out by Kansas City last season; and it ended up  being the 2nd greatest playoff comeback of all time.

You can never tell with the Colts. The inconsistency is inevitable, but often times the inconsistency flips. So don’t be surprised if the Colts pull off another crazy win the playoffs or make a very surprising deep run; that makes no logical sense.

Colts Vs. Patriots Preview

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Injury Report:

Colts:

Erik Walden LB; quad, probable

Patriots:

Chandler Jones DE; hip, out

Brandon LaFell WR; strept throat, questionable

Colts Vs. Patriots. Manning Vs. Brady? Nope. This time its Andrew Luck, the leagues best young quarterback. Colts team with an explosive offense Vs. a Patriots team with a complete turnaround season.

After a 41-14 loss to Kansas City in week 4, the Patriots sat at 2-2; wondering what the future held. Could they still compete? Patriots future hall of hame quarterback Tom Brady went as far to say “I don’t think we’ve played well for a long time”. Since that statement the Patriots have been 5-0. That stretch be highlighted by a 43-21 win over the Denver Broncos.

As for the Colts they’ve been torching it all season long, besides bad 51-34 win against Pittsburgh; they’ve had a great season offensively, leading the league in yards per game (451.2), points per game (32.2) and passing yards per game (337.4). This will present some issues for a Darelle Revis led Patriots secondary.

The game deciding match ups will be receivers vs corners. T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne will face an impressive Patriots secondary with Darelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Vontae Davis and Greg Toler will face a less impressive Patriots receiving core led by Julian Edelman. This will be the deciding factor. Whoever can score more points through the pass game. Brady Vs. Luck. 2 fantastic passing quarterbacks with good receivers.

As for these defenses, the Patriots are banged up, missing Jerod Mayo and Chandler Jones. Although New England is 11th in the in total defense, but do allow 22.0 points per game. For Indianapolis they’ve been solid all season, but not wonderful. They are first in the league in 3rd down conversations allowed with a lowly 32, but are allowing opposing offenses to score 23,4 points per game.

In the past the Colts have taken a beating from Brady and the Pats. New England ended the Colts season last year in a 43-22 blowout, and Andrew Luck threw interceptions. However this year I think things will be different. The Colts are a different team, and have improved on both sides of the football; they’re going to cause problems for that Patriots defense. This game is going to come down to 4th quarter performances. Who wants it more? Who will outplay the other? We will see Sunday night, 8:30 on NBC.

Colts Vs. Giants Preview

Colts Vs. Giants Preview
Stone Miller

Colts vs Giants

Injury Report:
Colts:
D’Qwell Jackson LB; toe, probable
Erik Walden LB; hip, out
Reggie Wayne WR; eblow, probable
Giants:
Jason Pierre-Paul DE; shoulder, probable
Rashad Jennings RB; knee, out
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB; hamstring, questionable
Victor Cruz WR; torn meniscus; placed on IR

On Monday Night football the Indianapolis Colts will face off against a hurting Giants team. This is the perfect situation for Andrew Luck and his high-powered offense. The Giants are 25th in pass yards allowed per game and opposing offenses are scoring 24 points a game on them. Andrew Luck has been leading the league in almost all positive offensive quarterback categories and leads an offense that scores 31 points every week. The key for the Colts will be the run game and turnovers. The Colts will need to have a successful run game and take care of the football if they want to get Andrew Lucks first Monday Night win.
As for New York, they’re missing 2 offensive starters; Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings. However first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has been great for the Giants and has become Eli Manning’s new favorite target. He might have some problems Monday though; he will be covered by Vontae Davis. Who missed last game with a knee contusion.
The Colts defense shouldn’t have any issues getting to the quarterback and stops on Monday night. Eli Manning has been sacked 13 times this season and has only converted on 41.2% of 3rd downs. Interestingly enough, the Colts lead the league in 3rd down conversions allowed with 28. This should be an easy win for Indianapolis. They’re better than the Giants in most aspects of football and are far healthier. The issue being it’s a road game on Monday Night football in New York it will be a loud crowd; unless The Colts get off to a quick start and score touchdowns in the first, opposed to settling for field goals.
Eli Manning has been prone in the past to throwing interceptions in the past; and likely will look to tight end Larry Donnell for a safer and shorter target. The Colts have allowed a lot of yardage to tight ends this season and will need to keep an eye on Donnell.
The Giants will are coming off a bye week and a loss 31-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They will be well rested and ready to compete.
I predict a double digit Colts victory. With Vontae Davis, Reggie Wayne and Trent Richardson returning this week the defense and offense will see improvement from last week’s 51-34 loss to the Steelers. The Giants will put up some fight with fresh legs off of a bye week. I expect big games form Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton this week; considering that they’ve become the number one QB-WR combo so far this season and will look to do some more damage to an already struggling Giants secondary. Vontae Davis is the key player of the game for the Colts, he’ll need to slow down Odell Beckham Jr. or Rueben Randle this week. He should be 100% ready to go this week after a slight knee injury and will need to slow down Eli Manning and his receiving core. If the Giants want to win they’ll need to get to Andrew Luck and get some sacks; the offensive line has been struggling of late and they’ve got an opportunity this week. Eli Manning will need to have a great game if the Giants want a shot at beating the Colts.

Colts Headed to Pittsburg For Week 7/Stone Sport Report

Colts Headed to Pittsburgh For Week 7
Stone Miller

Colts Pittsburgh

Injury Report:
Pittsburg:
Marcus Gilbert OT; concussion, out
Ryan Shazier LB; knee, probable
Shamarko Thomas SS; hamstring, questionable
Colts:
Reggie Wayne WR; elbow, out
Arthur Jones DE; ankle, probable (limited)
Darius Butler CB; ankle, probable
Jack Doyle TE; knee questionable
Trent Richardson RB; hamstring, questionable

The Indianapolis Colts will face one of the toughest tests of the season Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a quality season so far; at 4-3 they sit in 2nd place in the AFC North division and are ready to take the lead. However the red hot Colts are ready to extend an incredible 5 game win streak to 6.
The Steelers are coming off 30-23 win of the Houston Texans; Big Ben leading them to victory again with 265 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Colts are coming off the best defensive performance all season by far; shutting the Bengals down. Not allowing a score and holding
Cinnci to 135 total yards of offense, overshadowing their 506 yard offensive performance.
This week things might get a little chippy; each team has a top 20 defense (Indy 7, Pitt 20), also they both have 2 QBs who are very hard to bring down. Andrew Luck should have yet another 300 yard game against this Steelers secondary who are 16th in the league I passing yards allowed and allow 23.1 points per game. I expect good ball movement downfield in the passing game, even without Reggie Wayne. Hakeem Nicks will need to step up more this game; for some reason he has not played a lot of recent but will have an opportunity to prove himself Sunday.
The Colts may succeed easily on offense but their defense will be challenged. The Steelers have a great balanced offensive attack. With Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount in the backfield running the football it will be tough to stop. They average 117.3 yards a game are effective in the ground-and-pound and speed run. Ben Roethlisberger has always been a threat against the Colts anytime they’ve played; he’s very difficult to bring down and has the best completion percentage in the league pressured.
Overall the Colts are better on both sides of the football. Indianapolis has the number one ranked defense on 3rd down. Only allowing 20 conversions on 3rd down, interestingly enough Pittsburgh is 15th in 3rd down conversions.
The Steelers and Colts both have great balanced attacks. Indy is first in the league in total yards with 3170, but Pittsburgh is not far behind with 2707 total yards. The winner of this game will be determined by who can make more crucial stops. The big thing for the Colts is taking advantage of scoring opportunities and turnovers. Last week they turned the ball over twice in a scoring opportunity or red-zone situation. If they want to win they’re going to have to take care of the football.
I predict the Colts will win in a close game, the scoring should be in the 20s, but Indy’s defense in the end will prevail. If Trent Richardson plays that should make things a little easier on Ahmad Bradshaw and Andrew Luck. T.Y. Hilton will be thrown the ball more due to Reggie Wayne’s elbow Injury; so expect a big game form him. Hakeem Nicks will have a breakout game Sunday and he will get a lot more targets, and solidify himself as the number 3 receiver. The Steelers should put up a solid fight and the number one worry I think is Le’Veon Bell, if he gets going there is no telling the damage he could do. I expect a good game.

Colts Vs. Bengals Pre-Game/Stone Sports Report

We would like to welcome Stone Miller our new contributor for The Colts and The Pacers. Stone is a fantastic young writer who has a love for sports.
Stone is actually a Senior in High School, who plans to study “Sports Journalism” Stone will be covering The Colts, and The Indiana Pacers for The Balance.
So I am proud to introduce Stone Miller and the “Stones Sport Report”

Colts Bengals

Colts Vs. Bengals Pre-Game

Entering the 7th game of the season, the Indianapolis Colts will be facing off against a struggling Bengals team. Last week they tied in a game against the Panthers allowing them to score 37 points. As for the Colts they won a Thursday night Football against division rival Houston Texans, in a wild, controversial and close game.
Injuries/Inactives:
Bengals:
A.J. Green WR; doubtful, toe
Marvin Jones WR; placed on IR (out), ankle
Rey Maualaga LB; out, hamstring
Emmanual Lamar LB; doubtful, shoulder
Vontaze Burfict LB; probable, concussion
Colts:
Arthur Jones DE; questionable, ankle
Darius Butler CB; out, ankle
Mike Adams SS; probable, ankle
Jack Mewhort LG; probable, ankle
Hugh Thornton RG; probable, back
Gosder Cherilus LT; probable, knee

The Colts will face up against a banged up Cincinnati Bengals team. The Bengals likely won’t have top receiver and all pro wide receiver A.J. Green on Sunday, due to a toe injury. They also just placed wide receiver Marvin Jones on injured reserve recently. This presents a big issue for the Bengal offense. With the Colts secondary thriving, and Vontae Davis having the best year of his career; expect Indy’s defense to thrive and have no problems slowing down the offense. If the Bengals ever find themselves in a third-and-long situation, they are in huge trouble. The Colts have been 1st in the league in 3rd down conversions allowed with a dismal 19. As for the Cincinnati run game; they’ve recorded 637 yards so far (18th in the league). Giovani Bernard has lead that strike with 4.5 yards per carry. Chuck Pagano spoke of Bernard’s talent during a press conference Wednesday “He’s a good runner, he’s a good blocker, hes a great 3rd down back”. The Colts will need to slow Bernard down I they want that 5th straight victory.
What Indy really needs to worry about is wide receiver sensation Mohamed Sanu; with an injured receiving core Andy Dalton has relied on him very heavily, and he has thrived. If the Colts can slow down Sanu, then they should cruse to victory.
The offensive line will be intact for the first time in a few weeks; Jack Mewhort will be back from an ankle injury as well as Hugh Thornton returning from a back injury. Jonotthan Harrison will be starting at center this week again; who has been receiving much criticism for his miss-snaps. Frankly, Harrison has been great protecting Andrew Luck in the pocket and in the long run, and is a better choice for the Colts. The Bengals don’t have a great pass rush this, only recording 8 sacks, but it should be a challenge because of pass rusher Carlos Dunlap.
The Bengals are 13th in total defense so far this year. That partially due to the secondary lead by Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson. This they will face, arguably their toughest test. The Indy offense has been firing on all cylinders, the run and pass. They have the most total offensive yards in the NFL with 2664 yards. Averaging an incredible 444 per game. They’ll be challenged by an explosive offense with weapons virtually everywhere you look. T.Y. Hilton being that dangerous deep threat; blowing up for a near-career-high and franchise record 223 yards.
If they can slow down T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck will find another way; whether that be through his tight ends Dwyane Allen and Coby Fleener. Or possibly his favorite end zone target Ahmad Bradshaw. Luck will find a way to put points on the board.
A big storyline this week has been Vontaze Burfict and his $25,000 fine for twisting players’ ankles after tackles. He was not suspended as many suspected him to be, and will most likely play after suffering a minor concussion.
I predict a competitive first half, but eventually the Colts offense will pull away. I expect the Colts run game to thrive with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. We haven’t had an explosive game form either of them, but a good balance. I expect a big outbreak in the second half. The Bengals have had an efficient offense, despite the absence of A.J. Green of recent. They should put some points on the board. In the end the Colts are an all-around better team on both sides of the ball and that will lead the Colts to a 5th straight win.