Polian points finger at O-line, special teams

February 11, 2010
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There are still quite a few questions surrounding the recently ended Indianapolis Colts season.

Those questions range from what caused the Super Bowl loss to why the lack of local reception for the team upon their return to Indianapolis.
Colts President Bill Polian took a crack yesterday at some of those lingering questions.

As for the loss, Polian said in a Q&A on the team’s Web site the blame rests plainly with the offensive line and special teams.

“Our offensive line, by our standards, did not have a good game,” Polian said. “They were outplayed by the Saints’ defensive line. Our special teams, in terms of handing the ball—both in the return game and on the onside kick—were outplayed by the Saints. Therein lies the result. It had nothing to do with strategy or preparedness or toughness or effort. All of that was there. We just didn't execute.”

Not exactly earth-shattering revelations, but ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic this morning took exception with Polian pointing a finger at certain players and abandoning a “win as a team, lose as a team” mentality.

But, Colts fans might ask, ‘What about Pierre Garcon’s dropped pass or Peyton Manning’s interception? Didn’t that have something to do with the loss?’

“You can say, ‘Well, Pierre should have caught the ball,’ Polian said. “It would have been a tough catch. I don’t think every receiver ought to catch every ball. They’re going to drop one or two every now and then. You’re going to throw an interception now and then. But when you can’t gain a yard when you have to gain a yard in order to go into the locker room ahead, 10-3, with all the momentum on your side, then you didn’t execute. When you fail to handle an onside kick when there are four positive things you can do to handle it to make it go in your favor and you don't do it, then you didn’t execute.”

While Polian deftly dissected Sunday’s game, he was at a loss to explain the Colts’ post-game re-entry into Indianapolis. That re-entry included a low-key airport arrival and not having a parade.

At least one player, Raheem Brock, was disappointed by how things went down. He told fans on his Twitter account that some players were disappointed and felt abandoned because only 11 fans turned out at the airport.

Polian said no one on the Colts’ football side was consulted about a parade.
Q: Why was there no rally or parade after the season?

“I cannot give you an answer on that,” Polian responded on Colts.com. “I would imagine that’s handled by our community affairs or marketing people in conjunction with folks from the city. I’m just guessing on that. We were not told anything or asked anything about a rally of any kind.”

An official with Mayor Greg Ballard’s office said Colts officials expressly asked for a low-key entry back home and for no parade to be held. Colts officials said they did not ask for a low-key entry back home.

The determination not to have a parade if the team lost was already made before the Super Bowl ever began, said Colts Senior Executive Vice President Pete Ward.

“In ’07 we decided to not have a celebration if we lost,” Ward explained. “We followed that same template for this game as well.”

  • Season a bust
    The Colts did so many good things on the field this season, but have nothing to show for it. Going 16-0 would have been something to be proud of even after losing the Super Bowl. The decision to tank the Jets and Bills games looks pretty daunting now.
  • furror
    I too think the Colts should have gone for 16-0. But you have to wonder what kind of furror would have descended on the team had they gone for it, even accomplshed 16-0 and played as flat as they did in the Super Bowl. Some times, it seems, you just can't win. But I will say this, the team's post Super Bowl fan interaction has been awful.
    No way the Colts could have won. God has one wicked sense of humor. After letting the cheater Patriots go 16-0, he slapped them down in the Superbowl and reinforced a belief in kids that "cheaters never win." The Colts threw those games at the end of the season, and God found a way to tell the kids ". . .it's how you play the game."
    Bill Polian has offended me with his comments. I expected the president of the Colts to support his team instead of throwing them under the bus. The truth of the matter is that the Saints wanted it worse than the Colts did. Plain and simple no blame casted. As for the reception/parade, there are many of us fans who live far away from Indy who still love our Blue and we cannot drive the 2+hours to see the Colts arrive. Besides, if the colts had made previous arrangements and cancellations then there really is no reason for Polian to be whinning about their reception/parade. Quite honestly Bill, you are just outraged that you didn't win another title, so just admit it and quit blaming people. Your just a spoiled brat who can't have your way this time. As for my Colts, I am proud of each and every one of you. You played your game yet your game just wasn't good enough this time. There is always next year. GO COLTS!!!
  • Go Colts!
    I had no idea when the team was returning to Indy, Heck I would have been there to support them.
    Can't go if you don't know.
  • Recipe for a Loss Top 10
    1) Terrible defensive game plan with no blitzing, stunts or pressure on Brees; 2) Garcon drop; 3) Six offensive plays in the 2nd Q; 4) Inability to convert 3rd down in 2nd Q, leading to a Saints FG; 5) 33-minute halftime; 6) Onside kick, leading to Saints TD; 7) Peyton not throwing a football for over 70 real time minutes; 8) FG attempt instead of going for it on 4th down or punting, giving Saints great field position; 9) Colts way too soft coverage at the corners; and 10) The Manning Interception.
  • Parade for those who attended?
    Last time, they couldn't even wait to include the people who traveled all the way to Florida to sit in the rain and watch them. They had the parade without some of their most loyal fans :(
  • Season lost momentum
    Next time you are 14-0 (if that ever happens again) don't quit on the season. That really took a lot of the fun out of everything.

    Don't blame on O-line for that 3rd and short. The running game worked well in the 1st quarter. Since when do the Colts not try to be agressive with 2:00 left in the half? Why was the play-calling so conservative all of a sudden. The Colts were definitely out-coached in this game. Playing not to lose doesn't work.
    • Two reasons the Colts lost the Super Bowl. Freeney not at 100% or even 80%. A healthy Freeney teamed with Mathis would have pressured Brees enough we would have won by 20. Second reason was the on side kick. Great play and execution on the Saints side, the opposite on ours. How does a receiver like Baskett not get that ball, right to him. Had we recovered, we would have had the ball in great field position and would have scored. Pressure on Saints, game over. That kick gave them the confidence to do what they did in the second half.

      I hope the Colts players understand we fans did what the Colts front office told us to do. Had they had a parade, thousands of fans would have come out. Someone in PR needs to figure out what went wrong.
    • Agree
      I agree that we played to conservatively. It was the Super Bowl!!! Go for it!! You have nothing to lose.
    • Be Fair
      No one should blame Polian for his interpretation on how the game progressed. He was asked what he thinks happened for the Colts to lose the game, and what areas that are going to be worked on for next year. He said what he thought and what he is going to work for, he didn't throw anyone under the bus. As for the city not throwing a parade, that was wrong! We still won the AFC championship and had a great season. We are still a great team. I for one Congratulate the Colts for being the best again this year and hope them a great off season. Enjoy the time off!
    • Maybe Polian is to Blame
      I couldn't believe hearing Bill Polian blame the O-Line and Special Teams player for the Super Bowl loss. Hey Bill, maybe if you recruited quality special teams players instead of the NFL cast-offs the Colts presently have, they would have done better. Same with the offensive line. Your drafting Ugoh and Pollack sure didn't work. It's disappointing to hear a GM point the blame rather than accepting some of it himself.
    • Polian
      What do idiots like Mike Golic expect Polian to say? Should he simply blather on and on like most talking heads on TV and radio who focus on personalities and ignore game specifics? He was asked to disect the game and gave a specific, honest answer. That's refreshing. And although he doesn't say so, I suspect he shoulders some of the blame because he is responsible for acquiring the players that he believes failed to execute.
    • We support the COLTS
      I too am disappointed that there was no celebration of the run to the SuperBowl :-(
      I would have been out and supporting the great Colts team. I only hope the Colts players know that many screaming fans would have been there to welcome them home for the season if informed of the details. The PR staff should get more organized!
    • Coaching / Management
      The Coaching staff (to include Polian) helped us lose. Not expecting the onside kick / having good ball handlers on the field set the tone for the second half. Not keeping the running game going really hurt us. For once, it worked and then they aborted it. In general - Indy was outplayed. Motivation and the willingness to succeed do come from within but they also come from coaches / mentors.
    • Parade? Parade?...are you kiddin' me?
      A parade for the Colts in this kind of weather might have resulted in injuries or season ending exposure to key fans necessary to fill seats for next season's success. We decided to hold ourselves out. Besides, parades were not one of the team's 'goals' for the season, was it?
    • Parades are for Fans
      Parades and perfect seasons are for fans.

      Was having a 2nd place parade one of the goals the team set for themselves during training camp?
    • Treat the fans like dirt and expect us to show up?
      I don't even want to hear anyone with the Colts complaining about not enough fans showing up to welcome them back. First, you don't have parades for second place teams and you shouldn't expect anything else. Winning a championship is a lot different than not winning a championship.

      Where were all the government officials that got Super Bowl tix handed to them at face value? How many of them showed up to welcome the team back? I've been a season ticket holder since Peyton got here and haven't gotten tickets to either Super Bowl. And I really doubt more than a token few actual fans did. The Colts expect us to pay the bills, cheer blindly, and turn out in mass to welcome them back when they underachieve yet when they have an opportunity to reward their fans in a meaningful way they choose to allocate almost all of their Super Bowl tickets to people other than the fans they expect everything from. Listen, I don't have a problem with the mayor and governor getting tickets but it should have ended there. Put all the other government, corporate, etc. people in a drawing with the actual season ticket holders rather than hosing us. I've had it.

      I'd love to see IBJ do an investigative piece about how many tickets the Colts were allocated for the Super Bowl, how many of those actually went to season ticket holders at face value, and where the rest went. That would tell you a lot about what the Colts really stand for.
    • The ball was kicked to Hank Baskett, one of our receivers and supposedly a good hands player. I think it was pure surprise on everyones part that N.O. gambled that much. Very risky play on their part. If it had not worked out, it probably would have cost them the game and Sean Payton would be having to explain his call.

      monday Morning QBing is fun because you are never wrong and always know the right play to make.
    • I guess I am still confused why people seem upset that Polian responded to a question about how his team did by answering it honestly. What was he supposed to say? I don't know? I think some people are becoming way to critical of peoples actions.

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