Polian says offensive line was "outplayed . . . pretty decisively"

Four years ago, after a crushing playoff loss to the Steelers, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw his offensive line under the bus without actually throwing them under the bus, attributing the loss to some “problems in protection.”

On Tuesday, Colts president Bill Polian was more direct in assessing the performance of the men charged with keep Peyton in one piece.

“The offensive line, by our standards, did not have a good game,” Polian said during his weekly radio show, per John Oesher of Examiner.com.  “They were outplayed by the Saints’ defensive line, I thought, pretty decisively.”

Polian also blamed the loss on a failure to execute “in a handful of critical situations.”  He specifically cited the onside kick to start the second half; he didn’t mention the fateful play that triggered a 14-point swing with three minutes and change to play.

If Polian believes that the 74-yard interception return by Tracy Porter resulted from a failure of execution, then Polian is a member of the “Reggie Wayne ran a bad route” camp.  But with Porter claiming that he was in the right place at the right time due to trends and tendencies he saw while studying film, it was a failure not of execution but of coaching and/or line-of-scrimmage decision-making from Manning.

Manning, after all, gets a ton of credit when things go well for changing plays at the line of scrimmage via a series of shouts and gesticulations.  So why doesn’t Manning get any of the blame for not changing the play when, for example, coach Jim Caldwell calls for a run on third and short deep in their own end in the closing minutes of the second quarter?  Or when resorting in crunch time to a Madden-style crutch play that the team has won many times — and thus the opponent has reason to think might be coming?

Then again, the quarterback is the last guy the team president will blame.  The franchise already is in line to give Manning a blank check as part of his next contract; if Polian pisses Peyton off now, a couple of extra zeroes might get added to the final figure.

Still, it would have been nice to hear Polian take some of the blame for failing to hire a special teams coordinator who’d have his guys ready at all times for a surprise onside kick.

51 responses to “Polian says offensive line was "outplayed . . . pretty decisively"

  1. The Colts have never put much emphasis on ST.
    Goes back to Tony Dumbgy’s days as HC.
    Just throw the O line under the bus. Polian is such a class act!
    Polian is trying to institute a the owners meeting a new rule where the D line has to count to 5 mississippi befor they can rush the QB(Peyton) for next season.

  2. Polian probably breathed a sigh of relief when the Colts lost, as most Colts fans would have cursed him for denying them their place as the Best Team in the History of Footbal, even had they won.

  3. Some times – people actually express their own thoughts, candidly … legitimately. Not every take is a spin motivated by hidden agenda and self-interest.
    Polian’s expressions seemed candid – and accurate. I have no problem with Polian’s feedback.
    As for the pick 6 that sealed the deal — it certainly appeared that Wayne and Manning weren’t on the same page. Receivers who don’t make sharp cushion-breaking cuts on their defenders make their quarterbacks look like fools – when the actual breakdown came on the receiving end.
    It appeared Wayne picked an unfortunate time to do a poor job at getting the necessary separation while sealing off the DB. Wayne is a tremendous player over many years, and lots of respect to him — but on that one play, not so much.

  4. They rushed for 100 yards, which is much better than their average for the season, and also didn’t give up a sack or many pressures. Anything they can do to deflect the blame from the most un-clutch QB in league history.

  5. Gee, wonder if Polian has broken down the tape with the coaches to make sure that he knows what he’s talking about before talking (venting?) to the press.

  6. Sounds like Peyton’s found himself a new publicist. Yes, the O-line didn’t win their battle but neither did the entire team.

  7. if Polian pisses Peyton off now, a couple of extra zeroes might get added to the final figure.
    I’m terrible at math so I’m going to show my work.
    Assuming Peyton is in line for a 100+ Million dollar contract, this is what that would look like
    Now if I add 2 zeros, then it would look like this
    However if I could write the number like this
    And then add 2 zeros
    Of course I’m aware that Peyton will receive his money in the form of an extension so technically he wont be getting a $100 million dollar contract.
    In conclusion, according to you if Polian upsets Peyton 2 zeros could be added to his contract.
    So Peyton should expect no raise or a $10 BILLION contract.
    (But like I said I’m terrible at math so I either embarrassed myself or just pulled off the greatest upset in epic battle of Math Vs. Moron…..Down goes Math, Down goes Math….Moron wins, Moron wins, Mooooorrrron Wins! Oh my god I cant believe what I just saw!)

  8. Raheem Brock tweeted that the defense, for some reason, went to Cover 2. He said he didn’t know why because they haven’t played that much Cover 2 since the loss to the Chargers last year. He said the didn’t blitz all all.
    This is a big reason for the loss. The biggest reason in my opinion.

  9. They rushed for 100 yards, which is much better than their average for the season, and also didn’t give up a sack or many pressures. Anything they can do to deflect the blame from the most un-clutch QB in league history.
    Exactly, when the colts offense had balance they ripped off 5-6 yard runs consistently and no Saint got close to Manning. When they ran predictably in short yardage situations they got stuffed because the defense had the advantage of knowing what was coming. The O-line wasn’t the reason they lost IMO

  10. Seemed like Brees had the ball for 57 minutes. I didn’t realize their offensive line played long enough to make an evaluation.
    Their defense on the other hand, sucked a** other than that one goal line stand on fourth down. Zero pass rush and the worst tackling I’ve ever seen. They made Pierre Thomas look like Earl Campbell.

  11. On Tuesday, Colts president Bill Polian was more direct in assessing the performance of the men charged with keep (???) Peyton in one piece
    Your english is almost worse than mine……almost.

  12. The team lost spirit by the tank job in their 15th game.
    It just took a little while to manifest itself.

  13. Let’s keep it real. It was bad coaching. Caldwell is the new Barry Switzer, except Switzer, y’know, actually won a Super Bowl…oh, and 3 National Champioinships, but you know what I mean.

  14. Tracy Porter can point to film study all he wants and people can say that the Colts have become predictable… but the point is that either Wayne rounded his route or Peyton had a bad throw or perhaps he went back to the well one too many times. Read into it all you want but on that one play Porter got lucky and he tried to downplay his luck and say he did it through hardwork and study. Do you think an athlete will really come out and say, “it was all luck”?
    As for thelaststarfighter suggesting the Colts ripped off 5-6 yard runs left and right, that tells me he didn’t actually watch the game. It was all or nothing-at-all for the Colts running game. They ran draw plays and either they ripped off 10-15 yards or they lost 4, there were very few 5-6 yard runs. You can’t depend on a running game that loses yardage every other or every third carry.

  15. Still, it would have been nice to hear Polian take some of the blame for failing to hire a special teams coordinator who’d have his guys ready at all times for a surprise onside kick.
    This play wasn’t a matter of coaching or mental preparation, it was a matter of execution. Baskett wasn’t surprised by the onsides kick; in fact, he was right there to track it. The problem was that he let the ball bounce off his facemask, Troy Williamson-style.

  16. # dashoe says: February 10, 2010 9:44 AM
    Raheem Brock tweeted that the defense, for some reason, went to Cover 2. He said he didn’t know why because they haven’t played that much Cover 2 since the loss to the Chargers last year. He said the didn’t blitz all all.
    This is a big reason for the loss. The biggest reason in my opinion.
    But it’s so much easier to blame Manning! ‘Cuz Godforbid anyone around here – including paid employees – would actually spend time thinking about the game. Writing “Peyton sucks at life, football and handshakes” articles is infinitely easier.

  17. Until they start holding Peyton even slightly accountable in moments like this the Colts will NEVER win another title. The other players on that team have to be paying attention to the lack of focus on “The Pick 6” and that will only have trickle down effect; Especially when he gets more money on a new deal on the heels of a collapse which he is now being sheltered from.

  18. Man, If that was poor line play I wish Romo got some of it during the Vikings game. From what I saw Manning had plenty of time on most plays. On a lot of them there wasn’t a Saint player within 5 yards of him. Ya, they got some pressure late in the game but not a whole lot. I think the Colts have pretty exaggerated expectations about what kind of time Manning should get.

  19. I don’t agree with his assessment AT ALL…I think their O-Line has been a strength for them for a number of years now. Those guys are steady and no one gets close to Manning. He didn’t get sacked. The line only gave up like 7 sacks all year. That’s insane. As others have mentioned, Addai had plenty of caverns to run through, and did. I don’t think the pick 6 was anyone’s fault other than Porter making one helluva play.
    The Colts run that play all the time…I find it hard to believe that Wayne did anything different, or did Manning. But Manning threw it, and thus he should get the blame if there is any. Sometimes, you just get your a$$ kicked.
    Polian’s a tool… The attitude and go-get-it spirit of the Saints players and coaches is what helped shape that game. The Colts were always managing…not going for broke this season….going back to the “we’re not trying to win” game against the Jets. The front office and coaching staff deserve the blame for that portion of it. It also didn’t help protect their guys any because Freeney still got hurt as did one of their starting DBs. The Colts organization got what they deserved.

  20. “threw his offensive line under the bus”
    NO, he absolutely didn’t, you Colts hater. Again, don’t write about the Colts, if you can only write BS!

    Polian should draft some decent OL, before criticizing them.

  21. Manning calls all the plays according to all the media hype going into the super bowl.
    Seems to me that Tom Moore has something to do with that. I’m certain that Caldwell has nothing to do with the play calling. I’ve yet to see his lips move as he stands on the sideline. Poker Face 101.
    Polian wanted a smaller, quicker offensive line. Can’t complain that they got whipped by a bigger D line. You built it.
    Good thing for him they weren’t 18 – 0 going into this game.

  22. Polian must have been watching another game. The O line opened huge holes for Addai and did a decent job of protecting Peyton.
    The Colts lost because they were outcoached, out-quarterbacked, and they lost the special teams battle.
    As far as Manning is concerned….Wayne wasn’t open and Manning threw it anyway. He should have done what he’s famous for in the face of pressure with no open receivers……Slid to the ground to avoid getting hit. Instead he forced the ball to a receiver that was blanketed.
    The great Peyton Manning blew it (eventhough 9-9 in the postseason is not so great).
    Ps. Guess who has the lowest Superbowl passer rating out of Farve, Brees, Warner and Manning.

  23. # mulletious says: February 10, 2010 10:24 AM
    some of you should learn the definition and uses of facetiousness in writing
    Noun 1.facetiousness – playful humor, playfulness, fun – a disposition to find (or make) causes for amusement; “her playfulness surprised me”; “he was fun to be with”
    OooooooWeeeeeeee…..I feel better now that I learned that.

  24. Peyton Manning is arguably the best regular season QB in history but nothing more than an average run of the mill QB in the postseason. It’s time to stop making excuses for him and throwing his teammates and coaches under the bus when he fails to get it done.

  25. Polian did not want to hire a great Special teams coach, so that he can hire his son Brian. Who now is an unemployed coach. He know exactly what he was doing. Except, he did not know that one outplay would change the course of the SB.
    John Oesher is not a good source to quote. He used to be on the Colts payroll. (may still be) His office is at the complex. I would not be surprised if he ws running the Colts unofficial websites.

  26. IMO – It was the defense that hurt the Colts the most in the second half. Peyton did not get on the field enough. I don’t think it was the O line. Polian maybe trying to blame Saturday and letting him go, since he spoke out about the Jets game. I guess you should always be ready for an onside kick, but I think kudo’s go to the Saints for doing it, not for the Colts no being prepared for it. If I remember right, Purnell, had done some surprise onside kicks, and look where he is.
    I still think Polian is lining up to hire his son, Brian.

  27. C’mon now, nothing is EVER Manning’s or Napolian’s fault. EVER. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
    Just because Manning is the greatest choker in post season play that means absolutely nothing. It couldn’t possibly ever be anything he did.

  28. First off, I think Peyton Manning is a great QB and will be a first ballot HOF member. Given that, consider the following:
    QB’s with ten or more playoff appearances with records equal to or worse than Peyton Manning:
    Peyton Manning (9-9) .500
    Steve McNair (5-5) .500
    Mark Brunell (5-6) .455
    Dan Marino (8-10) .444
    Dave Krieg (5-7) .417
    Randall Cunningham (507) .417
    Warren Moon (3-7) .300
    And consider these other current QB’s playoff records:
    Ben Roethlisberger (8-2) .800
    Tom Brady (14-4) .778
    Drew Brees (4-2) .667
    Jake Delhomme (5-3) .625
    Donovan McNabb (7-5) .583
    Eli Manning (4-3) .571
    At least Peyton has a better playoff record than Philip Rivers (3-4) .429

  29. How is this the O-line’s fault? The team rushes for over 100? Gives up no sacks and Manning completes 70% of his passes for 300 yards. Manning wasn’t pressured on the pick. That was either on him or Wayne.
    What about the D? With the exception of the Freeney sack there wasn’t much pressure and Brees completes 80% of his passes. Some crucial special teams mistakes as well.

  30. The Colts ST coach wasn’t to blame cuz Indy had guys there ready for the onside kick. Hank Baskett just blew it it hit him right on the helmet. Poor execution by the player, not lack of coaching.

  31. Now all Polian has to do is ban onside kicks and two-point conversions in the Super Bowl and he’ll have the Saints’ number next year!
    I swear, is there anyone in the NFL that takes more pleasure out of being an asshole than Polian?

  32. The Colts laid down and quit when they said no to undefeated. Quit. Like little ninnies. Yes, Quit.
    They quit in the SB, plying not to lose. Polian should try looking at himself, the coach, yes this guy is not “calibre” and the team.Not this year, not next but maybe one more. Also take a different look at the team they are playing. The Saints, on all counts BEAT the colts

  33. If Polian wants to blame the O-line, shouldn’t he too be held responsible for assembling what is one of the NFL’s most undersized O-lines?

  34. Bill, Bill, Bill, your team was on its way to a perfect season yet, you must have approved the team first ‘laydown and let the opponent win style loss’ that served to manipulate a certain team out of the playoff picture. Once you taught your team that they could lay down, it was a phsychologically and statistically inbedded into their football skulls. Along with your alter ego quarterback, the best that never will be in another Super Bowl with your team, you went into the game thinking that you actually were the best. GUESS WHAT, you are not, and the COLTS are not and you faced a superior team that didn’t lay down during their season. The Saints won because in every aspect of the game, including integrity, they out-classed the COLTS. You really did not deserve to be there and the Saints proved it with one of the most convincing wins that has ever been viewed. Check out the stats whiner !!!!!!

  35. Lets look at things from an unbiased standpoint, and I am a huge Peyton Manning and Colts fan. The Saints won the game, period! No one play sealed the deal for the Saints or the fate of the Colts, the Saints outplayed the Colts when it mattered. There were several potential turning points in the game, such as the onside kick, or the dropped receptions by Wayne or Garcon, or the thre-and-out running plays deep in their own territory, or the pick-6 thrown by Manning that sealed the victory for the Saints (which was a busted play and should have never taken place). Lets look deeper into things, there could have been several game-changing moments in the Colts’ favor as well; such as the goal-line stand that kept the Saints out of the endzone, or the Colston dropped pass on 3rd down, or an unsuccessful onside kick, which would have been a huge momentum shifter had the Colts recovered and scored. My point is, the Saints made the big plays when they counted and that is why they won the game, period!
    All who are saying that Manning choked must not have watched the game. He was 31 out of 45 for 333 yards, with one costly miscue. That is not choking, that is getting a tough break in a very physical and exciting football game. Congratulations to the Saints on a perfectly played game against the Colts, they deserved the win, but those of you who are counting out the Colts in the future…you might want to rethink things a little bit, because like them or not, they are in the mix every season, and that is not going to change if their team stays together and can get through an entire season healthy again.

  36. I said it before and I will say it again. The ONLY time the colts WON the superbowl they played all the way through and didn’t lay down any games.
    Everyone acted like Polian was proven “right” because he won a playoff game,which is BS. The entire thing is not just getting to the Superbowl but winning. And you don’t win it unless you have the killer instinct and want it more then the other team. The colts, from top to bottom, are a team that is used to just being “in” the playoffs every year, not really having to struggle or want it more then other teams.
    The one year they have to? They win the Superbowl. All other years they rest and play not to lose? They lose.

  37. Guess what Polian…give the Saints your offensive line and you STILL would have lost. They protected well (no sacks) and opened holes all night.
    Next time, try not being so arrogant as to prepare for a game by thinking the other defense isn’t good enough to stop your vanilla plays.

  38. Once again, the Colts take a throw the team under the bus approach instead of addressing the real reasons they lost another Suprr Bowl:
    1. They were out coached. 2. Manning came into the game either afraid, or with some kind of attitude that rubbed off on the rest of his team (his unsportsmanlike conduct towards the end of the game was shocking). 3. The Saints were better than the Colts.

  39. I don’t think Manning got sacked even once and Addai ran all over the Saints. The O-line played well. Their late-game playcalling and conservative approach to the game was the reason that they lost. Not the line

  40. Why is everyone piling on Manning? I’m not even a Colts fan but I respect his skills and knowledge of an offense. I cant believe how people are just ripping him. I’d take him as my QB than any other QB out there any day. And maybe that’s why he is getting killed out there, jealousy.

  41. Still, it would have been nice to hear Polian take some of the blame for failing to hire a special teams coordinator who’d have his guys ready at all times for a surprise onside kick.
    Thank you Florio my point exactly. Everyone wants to blame the failure to recover the onsides kick on Hank Baskett which it was partially his fault but not nearly all of it. It was Polians fault for not a having a cordinator on the team that would have his guys ready. It was Jim Caldwells fault for not having his guys ready.
    It also was the other players on special teams fault for not being ready. When the play happened every other player up front dropped back to block or didnt initailly make an attempt for the ball or take out the Saints players trying to recover it. Only Hank Baskett had the where with all to try to make a play.
    Yes he dropped the ball but come on do you no how hard it is to catch a bouncing onsides kick with an entire team coming at you when no one on your team is their to back you up? By the time the rest of the Colts Special Teams realized what was going on it was to late.

  42. So much of what is written by the media about various teams has mainly to do with the team about which they are covering. The Colts are almost always put on a pedestal (as evidenced by all the pre-game garbage written about how they’d crush the Saints and how Manning was about to become the greatest athlete in the world if they win…forget about Montana, Bradshaw and the rest of ’em).
    The little attention the Saints received (other than their conference blogger) focused on how they were going to be dominated and how their lack of focus on the big stage was going to show… oh, and let’s not forget about the majority of articles coming from closet-Favre-fan writers (like many on this site) still whining about the Vikings loss (it’s sad and embarrassing to all of sports that there are still many who are complaining and have made it their life goal to continue the crusade – let it go…the Saints beat your team, which did not deserve the win). The Saints proved the masses wrong – good for them.
    So many people have this myopic view that the most important stat in a football game is yardage gained. When a team loses, fans laughably try to point out that the better team lost or that their team dominated the other team, which got “lucky.” What really happened is that your team LOST (maybe even got their @$$ handed to them), but they still lost. The better team WINS the game, not loses (despite your focus on yardage gained). Good teams focus on points rather than anything else. Don’t kid yourself, you are simply making excuses and everyone who reads your post can see it for exactly that (well, actually, that and the fact that you look like a sore loser as well).
    As for Polian’s comments, Manning’s interception, etc…
    We all know that Polian would never blame Manning (regardless of whether everyone wants to debate if he deserves any or not), but sometimes it’s not about what was said, rather it’s about what was not. I don’t think it was as much Manning’s fault as it was Porter outthinking Manning and the Colts, but like I said earlier… the Saints aren’t a team that the media will give much credit so Porter cannot look like the hero in this one. It’s actually a really tough balance for the media because they don’t want to write anything bad about the Colts, but they also don’t want to write anything good about the Saints.
    The Saints either matched or outplayed the Colts in every aspect of that game. It’s laughable in hindsight how the media and so many fans were asking before the game whether the Saints could play up to the Colts’ level. It was clearly the other way around. Not one day after the game, the media cranks up their machine again to put the Colts as the favorite for next season. I’m sure we’ll all be reading articles soon about how the Saints will be picked to finish last in the NFL. If the Colts finish last in the NFL next season (this is for exaggeration purposes only – don’t get all riled up Colts fans), the media will pick them to win the Super Bowl the following season. So much for objectivity in sports anymore.

  43. The Offensive line played well in this game.. Joseph Addai had 77 yards on 13 carries.. if only he could have seen the ball in the second half.
    Ask any Indianapolis Colts fan about the ‘check with me’ system and you’ll see its got nothing to do with Jim Caldwell. Why they would blame him for that (when even the almighty Tony Dungy had no control over play calling), is beyond me.
    The pick 6 pass wasn’t even close to Wayne and Manning had plenty of time to throw because the Saints were only rushing 3.
    Bad Pass.. Peytons fault.
    Go Colts!!!

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