Sometimes, you just know a thing is going to happen. All the signs are there, and though you try to keep an even keel, you can’t help listing to the side. You know the ship is about to sink. And hey, better to be the guy who already strapped on a life vest rather than the optimist standing at the rail and believing the guys with buckets can keep the water out.
Yes, this is about the Colts.
Last night’s game was the full force of inevitability – “momentum” is another word for it in the sports idiom – crushing the Colts. And by extension, their fans. In the background was the momentum of the season. The Colts just lost their first game to the New England Awesomes*, and continued adding guys to their injured list. This collapse in San Diego was just an expected next step on a larger path of failure. And since they suffered several more key injuries last night, I can’t wait to see what happens from here. End sarcasm.
But the momentum I am really talking about was unique to this one game, and it served as an object lesson in how momentum can swing like a meth-addicted monkey, back and forth. The Colts were losing limbs and vomiting up internal organs for most of three quarters. Peyton Manning was playing his single most awful game as a professional – my theory is that he forgot the Colts were on the road and was throwing to blue jerseys instead of white ones. The Chargers ran up a seemingly insurmountable lead, a cover-your-eyes 23 point beatdown. The Colts had no momentum.
And then suddenly they did. They got a couple scores on offense. Then a touchdown on defense. They were on the field to go for a two point conversion that would tie the game – and they missed it.
Just like that, momentum swung the other way again. And if you were really paying attention, you could feel that heaviness in the air – inevitability about to land on you.
The Colts managed to drive all the way to the Chargers’ five-and-a-half yard line. They had a first down inside two minutes, the Chargers had no timeouts; it seemed like an easy Colts victory. A shoo-in. But momentum will not be denied! In rapid succession, we had this stomach-churning series of events:
– Booth review spotted the ball back about a yard, costing the Colts their first down and putting them in a field goal situation (which, if made, would still give them a victory, and was at that point a tiny little chip shot for Mr. Clutch, Adam Vinatieri).
– The Colts sent out their offense to waste clock and try to get an offsides penalty from the defense. They had clearly designed a play where they put three guys in motion simultaneously to try to get a defensive player to jump. They ran it, and got called for a false start, pushing them back five more yards. Which would become a key factor when:
– Vinatieri pushed his kick right and missed the upright by what looked like about a foot.
Momentum, Diane: it is not to be fucked with.
It will be interesting to see if the Colts can regain any. “Interesting” in the sense that I might have to not watch the next game or two. Frankly, my stomach can’t take it.
* This is not a footnote.