When looking at the 2005 schedule of your San Francisco 49ers' season, the Week 05 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts didn't bode well. The Colts've had one of the most overwhelming offenses in league for a while now, with two problems keeping the team from earning the Lombardi Trophy: a poor defense, and a history of executing their offense with less precision when playing outside in the elements. Tony Dungy, a defensively-skilled coach, took over the Colts when they were a mess of a team with a growing nucleus of an offense. Since then, their O has blossomed into one of the most effective NFL offenses of all time, with Peyton Manning barking audibles, Edgerrin James providing versatile backfield punch, mustachioed Marvin Harrison as the primary receiving threat, and a criminally-underrated line anchored by Tarik Glenn. Glenn is local; he went to Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland, and then Cal. Much to SFist Eve's glee, (and despite totally overpaying for Manning,) Indianapolis' regime has been able to keep all the offensive key parts contracted in place as their seeds have come to fruition. A usual thing that happens once a NFL guy starts getting some good results is that he looks for more recompense, whether money or opportunity. Ricky Watters, I'm talking to you.
Here's the issue: as with anything, this offense will not be forever. Indy's challenge is to assemble personnel to run the "Cover 2" zone-based D in which Dungy excels before the offensive personnel leaves or becomes too old. Otherwise these Colts will fall into that stack of really great teams that never made it over the hump to win the big one. A "Yeah, But" team. It's known that it is unfair and ridiculous to judge a player or team by whether they collected a ring or not, yet that's how results are regarded in American Football. All you need is one big win, and your legacy is safe.
Indy hasn't gotten that big win yet, but this year -- this year -- the pieces may all be in an optimal-enough place for the Colts to go all the way. The defense is executing scary-good right now, attacking and stifling their opponents. So, with that side of the ball crackin', the current Colts are to be favored against any team in the league. Which leads us to this Sunday...SFist Christopher Rogers, contributing