Was this Indy win a "Piece of Luck"?? Here's what Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star thinks:
Kravitz: Great win for Colts, or rotten Luck?
The Indianapolis Colts didn't just win a football game Thursday night over the Houston Texans. They might have saved the Peyton Manning era.
On the one night a Colts fan might have hoped his or her team would lose, Indy did the ridiculous, the impossible and, in the long term, the worst thing possible.
They are one win at Jacksonville from blowing a chance to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Sorry, losing a chance to draft Andrew Luck.
Where was Curtis Painter when you needed him?
A sweet 19-16 win for the players and coaches. A bitter 19-16 victory for fans who hoped to start buying their Luck No. 12 jerseys.
Is there such a thing as a devastating victory?
This changes everything.
Check that: This changes everything.
This increases the chances the Colts lose the chance to draft Luck. Which means it's more likely than ever before that Manning is back. And that wide receiver Reggie Wayne is back. And center Jeff Saturday and tight end Dallas Clark and a lot of those other veterans who were looking at employment elsewhere at season's end are back.
We were looking at the possible end to the Manning era, a possible end to a glorious era of football here in Indianapolis. Lose this game to the Houston Texans, secure the first pick, and the house-cleaning would have been under way. Maybe the front office, probably the coaching staff, certainly a lot of players who've become household names.
And then, with one gutsy two-minute drive led by quarterback Dan Orlovsky, the entire picture changed. A couple of great plays by Wayne who, if he's gone, left us with a wonderful memory. A couple of dumb plays by Houston defensive end J.J. Watt. And a brilliant game, top to bottom, by a defense that has really started to come around since the insertion of defensive coordinator Mike Murphy.
This had ramifications. Not for this year, which is lost. But for next year and maybe for the next 10 to 15 years, the long-term future of the franchise.
It comes down to this: If the 2-13 Colts win at Jacksonville next week, and both St. Louis and Minnesota lose their last two games, Luck will end up in either St. Louis or Minnesota (depending on the tiebreaker). If the Colts lose that game, Luck is still in the picture with the Colts having the tiebreaker edge.
If you're the Colts, there's no way you're going to say goodbye to a healthy Manning and mortgage the present to go forward with Baylor's Robert Griffin III or Oklahoma's Landry Jones. Those are players who can come here and sit two, three years.
Want to read the first few paragraphs of the deadline column that was written before the Orlovsky-led drive?
Here you go:
Welcome to Indianapolis, Andrew Luck.
You'll love the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo's. Seriously, slather on that cocktail sauce. It's very mild. Really.
Who could have imagined when this football season began? Who could have imagined, even after the news that Peyton Manning would miss the entire season while recovering from neck surgery? The Indianapolis Colts, who clinched the top pick Thursday night with a loss to the Houston Texans, have emerged as the team who sucked for Luck better than any other team in the NFL.
Um . . . never mind.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was quite definitive on the NFL Network pregame show: "I think if the situation is where (Manning's) back and he's healthy, then I see him come back and play here," he said. He later added, "I don't see (money) being the issue."
Irsay sounded like a man who wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. Manning-to-Luck like Brett Favre-to-Aaron Rodgers.
Suddenly, though, there's a chance there's no pastry in Irsay's immediate future.
How are you supposed to feel about this? There's the joy the fans felt, the good feelings in that locker room, the thrill of knocking off a good team with playoff seeding and a bye on the line. And there was the realization that maybe, just maybe, the Colts are going to lose the chance to draft the most NFL-ready quarterback to come along in years.
"That's not for the players to worry about," Joseph Addai said. "We just keep playing ball."
Two years ago, they laid down on a perfect season.
Now, they're the 1985 Bears of meaningless, late-season football.
Give them credit, but go figure.
Just in case, here's hoping you took a cerebral snapshot, or filed it away on your cellphone's SD card. Because whatever happens now, some of these big-name Colts will not be back. Who goes and who stays? A lot will depend on next week, whether the Colts move into Win One For Peyton mode or move into the Luck era.
Next week, then, the Colts play as important a game as they had in that 1997 season-ending loss at Minnesota that got them Manning in the draft.
Do you want them to win or lose?
Let the debate commence: http://www.indystar.com/article/20111223/SPORTS15/312230002/Kravitz-Great-win-Colts-rotten-Luck-