Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Great receivers, no results

Close your eyes for a minute and reflect on the Colts' run to glory this year. Do your images include Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne doing anything special?

Well, of course there was the one huge pass play to Wayne in the first quarter of the Super Bowl -- the one that ended whatever kind of magic the Bears were feeling.

But other than that the Colt WRs did nothing all playoffs.
Projecting their 4-game stats to a full 16-game season, here's how the two did:
  • Wayne (reg. season) 86 catches, 1310 yards, 9 TDs
  • Wayne (playoff projection) 68 catches, 872 yards, 8 TDs
  • Harrison (reg season) 95 catches, 1366 yards, 12 TDs
  • Harrison (playoff projection) 60 catches, 772 yards, 0 TDs.
We've mentioned in other pieces on the main CHFF site that Harrison had terrible playoff numbers, and Wayne was similarly bad this year after having big games in 2004 and 2005. But fortunately for the Colts, the defense played well and the opposition generally didn't. And Bob Sanders made "the leap" into the upper echelon.

What it's got me wondering is why the Manning-to-Wayne/Harrison combo that was money in the bank in the regular season suddenly failed miserably in the playoffs.

Wayne was excellent against quality opponents in the regular season: he had 4 catches for 67 yards in his worst game against over-.500 teams. Harrison struggled in a loss to Philly, but had 145 and two TDs against the Patriots in New England. His numbers against winning teams were slightly off, but not as bad as they've been in the playoffs. Harrison also torched the Jags, Pats and Chargers in 2005, when all three teams were excellent.

So, the combo works in the regular season against good teams. This suggests that there's something more to the postseason struggles than simply tougher opposition.

Perhaps the three players are so consistent and prepared over the course of the regular season that they simply take what's given them and succeed. But in the playoffs, when everyone's focus is at its best, they lose the edge.

Or maybe they just choke a bit.

Either way, they're the Super Bowl champions, and deservedly so -- they played four fantastic defensive football games and dominated the offensive lines. When you do that, the passing game can be just average, and it was.

Ah football. You never know what the f--- is going to happen. But you know it's going to be fun to watch.

Is it August yet?


Ant said...

hey maybe those Safeties Deep along with the Corners to blanket cover our WR's left space underneath for the short passing game and kept only 7 men in the box for them to run against which was why those 2 aspects of the colts game helped them win..but hey what the fuck lets dump on the WR's because you know its the Colts and you simply don't win by paying WR's.......i mean go get a Reche Caldwell,Jabbar Gaffney and you can still win a Superbowl ..oh wait...

Anonymous said...

I am a Colts fan for starters, but I really respect the CHFF analysis. I take the constant cheap shots in stride and see them for what they are.....Pats fans being fans. The reason I like the CHFF so much is the attention to detail and recognizing the subtle details of the game. Stuff like yards per attempt being so valuable in determining the effectiveness of a QB. When breaking down Reggie and Marvin, I am stunned that the always subtle detailed CHFF doesn't recognize the "Deion Sanders' effect produced by these guys. Now, it is no secret that Deion in his prime did not have to defend one pass or make one tackle in a game to drastically alter the play on the field. Statistically his games may have seemed weak, but those who know football like the CHFF quickly realize the value of ONE player taking away half the field for an offense. The same thing here with 87 and 88. The numbers were not there, but can you honestly not see the value. Why were the oline and running backs only facing 7 and sometimes 6 in the box? Why was the middle of the field so open for Dallas Clark? Why was there not much blitzing and ZERO sustained pressure on Manning? Why was the TE and RB dumpoffs so effective during the Super Bowl run? Uhhhhhh CHFF....87 and 88. The threat of those two TOTALLY change a game. The failure of the most often brilliant CHFF to recognize this is surprising considering the past attention to detail. Poorly done fellas by a group that rarely whiffs. This is an A-ROD like 2nd and 3rd no body out style whiff.

colonel comey said...

Well, I wasn't really drawing any conclusions, I was wondering what the reason was for Wayne and Harrison's fade in the playoffs. Yours is as good as any. I wasn't saying that Harrison and Wayne didn't still have impact on the game -- you're probably right, that the Colt coaches decided that their best chance to win was to use the passing game as a decoy and cram the ball down the opposition's throat. But the fact remains that Manning to WRs is NOT made for the playoffs -- and that's not really debatable even with this latest title.

colonel comey said...

this is a piece we did on Harrison's numbers in the postseason from Week 10.

Anonymous said... are preaching to the choir. I live and die Colts football. The offensive struggles in past postseasons are well known. Your first paragraph just implies that they did NOTHING to help this team win the Super Bowl. Like you and I could have been out there playing wideout and the Colts still would have won. Teams all postseason long have made stopping Manning to WR's as priority #1. You have always claimed that the postseason is a different animal. Take your Pats for example. Maybe they thought back in the regular season that Marv had lost some of his jazz. Marv torched NE in a game that ultimately allowed the AFCCG to be played at home. In the playoff game, Samuel is back where he belongs on #88 and things were different. Instead of blogging on the Colts wideouts, maybe it's time to do a piece on Brady's two consecutive postseason stinkers. Or does he get the "pass" because of the rings? I'm quite sure that if Peyton stinks up the joint in back to back postseason like Brady just will have twenty write ups and 50 blogs on that.

colonel comey said...

They're not my Pats, sorry. I'm an impartial observer, I think both players and teams are phenomenal.

I'm a Vikings fan, I'm sad to say. Go Tarvaris Jackson.

Anonymous said...

"Harrison struggled in a loss to Philly"

A loss to Philly? Ummm, the Colts won the game 45-21.

Every time I scan this blog I find errors.

*You think that ESPN ranked the '72 Dolphins first out of twenty (when it was NFL Films/NFL Network, ESPN was not involved in any way).

*You think that Lovie Smith won a Super Bowl with the '99 Rams (when he actually joined the staff two years later).

*You think the Colts lost to Philly in November (when they won by three touchdowns).

This blog does not meet the same standards of quality as your regular website. It's an embarassment. Lord knows what I'd find if I did more than just glance over it.