Sunday Night Football
Sunday Night Football is the game of the week for the NFL, there is one game televised nationally on prime time as opposed to localised affiliates showing the games on their respective networks earlier in the day.
What that means for us in the UK is that it doesn't start until about one in the morning and if you have to get up for work in the morning there is next to no chance of watching it live.
As games go, I wasn't too disappointed to not get to watch this Colts game live, we were playing the Kanas City Chiefs who have been arguably the best team in football under coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Colts have looked competitive in every game this season, win or lose, but I had written this one off as a bit of a walloping, especially as our defence is a couple of key players down due to injury at the moment.
Normally if I plan on watching the Sunday Night Football game later I'll do my best to avoid spoiling the score for myself but as I had already resigned myself to the loss I checked first thing this morning and was extremely happy and surprised to see that we won!
After listening to the recap on the Around The NFL podcast I was even more excited to watch the game so I made sure I did just that during my break this afternoon. The NFL Network has a very nice feature for replays; 'Game In 40' which shows every play of the game but condensed to around forty or so minutes, making it extremely watchable on a lunch break. Convenient.
I was impressed with my favourite team right from the get go, our defence had a tough job against the dynamic offence led by Mahomes, seriously, that guy is incredible to watch. He is unlike any quarterback I have ever seen and can throw seemingly impossible passes while on the move evading the rush and making it all look effortless. The fact that we were able to hold them to just one touchdown and a pair of field goals is a testament to our guys. No one else has been able to prevent less that twenty six points from the Chiefs offence when they're at home and we halved that last night.
But you can't win a football game on just good D. Our offensive unit was one of the biggest questions in the league heading into the season. Our superstar QB, Andrew Luck, announced his retirement midway through the preseason and the pressure was on back up Jacoby Brissett to step up once again with just two weeks until the start of the season. Brissett ran the offence two years ago when Luck was forced to sit out the season with a lingering injury and at that time the young, for Tom Brady backup showed some potential, but was not doing anything to light up the team. Since then, having another year behind Luck and the tutelage of our new and much improved coaching system all last season, I was cautiously hopeful that he could at least somewhat fill that void left by Luck.
Boy has he. This kid looks so much more confident now and is making quick, decisive and smart decisions. He has the trust of the talent around him, especially that of locker room leaders like wider receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Marlon Mack, both of whom were back after missing last week due to injury. Mack in particular was running like a top five back and was breaking through the Chiefs defensive line into the secondary as well as anyone playing yesterday around the league. The other big improvement compared to the last time Brissett was QB1 is our offensive line. A unit that was absolutely abysmal last year and failed to protect the passer at all now gives him plenty of time to find an open man down field.
It wasn't a perfect game and especially in the first quarter the Chiefs made a few costly penalties that allowed us to move up the field with ease, but we didn't squander any advantage and never lost the lead.
Had I been watching live, my heart would have sank when the Chiefs tied the game at 10-10, and again as they were rallying late in the fourth quarter, but everyone did their jobs and we ended up winning 19-13. A solid, two score victory and a statement to the league. Not only are the Chiefs beatable, but the Indianapolis Colts were the first ones to do it this year and need to be taken seriously for the rest of the season.