NFL Sunday notes: Luck, Colts stun the Packers

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Let’s run through my notes from the Week 5 Sunday schedule in the NFL. Some Xs and Os, personnel, etc. Ten things you should be talking about—starting with the Colts’ comeback win over the Packers in Indy.

1. Colts stun the Packers: Think about this: the Colts were without head coach Chuck Pagano and down 21-3 to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Did anyone see this team coming back to get this one? Big win for a rebuilding club that leaned on veteran WR Reggie Wayne (13-212-1TD) and rode their rookie QB on the final drive to take the lead. And I love the play call to put the Colts ahead: double-stack alignment; Slant-7 (corner) vs. Cover 1. A “pick” play that Packers’ CB Tramon Williams played properly from a technique perspective. However, look at the effort from Wayne to get this ball across the goal line. Great finish in Indianapolis. And now Green Bay is suddenly 2-3.

DREW BREESUS PRESSWIREBrees broke Johnny Unitas' record vs. the Chargers while throwing for 4 TDs in the Saints first win of the season.

2. Brees breaks the record, lights up the Chargers: Brees (370-yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) broke the record of legendary QB Johnny Unitas (47 straight games with a TD pass) on the double-move vs. man-coverage to Devery Henderson. However, he also targeted WR Marques Colston (9-131-3TDs) on some classic Saints’ route schemes. Look at the inside seam route vs. Cover 1 with Colston in the slot, the quick “Dino” route (slight stem to the 7 cut, break to the post) vs. a deep half safety in the red zone and the back-shoulder fade. The Saints’ defense still has plenty of issues, but this night belonged to Brees on the national stage in New Orleans’ first win of 2012.

3. More defense from the Bears: That’s two straight weeks with both CB Charles Tillman and LB Lance Briggs finding the end zone on INT returns. And this is the style of defense the Bears play when it comes to creating turnovers and scoring points. Lovie Smith’s unit shut down Jags’ RB Maurice Jones-Drew with their 7-Man front and QB Blaine Gabbert had no answer (outside of one first half drive) for the Cover 2 scheme. Nothing complicated here when you play the techniques of the 2-deep shell. Chicago whips Jacksonville 41-3 with a defense that has to be in the discussion as one of the league’s top units.

4. Patriots’ balance on offense: Wes Welker is going to see the ball if Tom Brady targets him. That’s exactly how this system works in New England with the route combinations inside of the numbers and Welker's ability to work underneath. But let’s focus on what the Patriots are doing on the ground. We saw it last week in the win over Buffalo and again on Sunday in the 31-21 victory vs. the Broncos. New England rushed for 251-yards with Stevan Ridley racking up 151 and a TD. A balanced offense takes some pressure off of Brady and also gives him the exact matchups he wants with play action and 8-Man fronts. That’s tough to stop.

5. Bradshaw’s 200-yard day: There wasn’t anything “exotic” here from the Giants when we talk about Ahmad Bradshaw and the run game. I saw the Lead Open (weak), Lead Closed (strong), Counter Lead, etc. Base 2-Back schemes in the downhill run game. Bradshaw finished runs, lowered his pads on contact and also showed us that cutback ability with vision. New York started slow in this game falling behind 14-0 to Cleveland, but they beat up this Browns’ defense on the ground with Bradshaw’s 200-yards in the 41-27 win.


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