The Coverage Units
- 3 yard return (IND 23); *IND Penalty* (IND 13)
- Muffed Recovery (IND 10)
- Fair Catch (IND 4)
- Out Of Bounds (IND 29)
- 99 yard return TD
- 61 yard return (GB 45)
On a day filled with unrelenting terrible play, this unit may be the one which did the most damage.
I mentioned Crosby’s error on the game-opening kick return TD by the Colts, but this unit had a handful of additional errors which followed. They were done no favors by the incorrect kick placement by him, but once that happened there was time to adjust in some fashion to at least keep a score from being inevitable. The coverage was weighted towards Green Bay’s right side, but there were a couple guys on the left. Jeff Janis was there first, but he got swallowed up by Darius White; behind him, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was coming up late and got himself blocked down by Josh Ferguson. Past those two, Green Bay had nobody close, giving Todman a clear lane to the outside. From there, he burst by everybody and left the team in the dust without ever having a hand laid on him.
The bad efforts didn’t stop there. On the third kickoff, Crosby put it deep in the endzone, but it was still returned. That either caught guys off-guard or they were not running their coverage lanes properly to begin with, because again the ball was returned for a huge gain; this one was stopped before a touchdown fortunately, but it was still in Green Bay territory by the time they got the returner down. Indianapolis would end up with a field goal following Green Bay’s defense slowing them in the redzone.
The rest of the day wasn’t bad for them — and their punt coverage did help force a muffed punt as well as ensure Schum’s third punt would pin the Colts deep — but the early foibles were more than enough to help put Green Bay in a hole they were unable to climb out of. Even one mistake from special teams can be the difference in a win and a loss, and this unit made two huge ones. Those became 10 points for the Colts in a contest they won by 5 — and the first 7 of those did not even give the defense a chance to do a single thing.
This cannot continue, and people have been put on notice. Jermaine Whitehead — one of the players who screwed up on the opening kickoff — wound up getting cut almost immediately following the contest (the fullback Green Bay added — Joe Kerridge — looks to be exclusively used to shore up some of the issues with the unit).
Those who are left better come prepared and ready to stick to their assignments; if not, they could get a pink slip as well.