Good morning Rumblers,
It's good to be back with you all. I spent the BIG 30 in Indy, watching our beloved Bills whoop-up on our old AFC East Rival.
I wanted to write this Joe! to give you my game day experiences, which will include my opinion of the city of Indy and its fans, the game, and my overall experiences. So lets go!
The City of Indy
It was my first time in Indianapolis and I must say, I left pretty impressed with the city. It's absolutely gorgeous, and everything is within walking distance. I can see why this city was able to host a Super Bowl. Great Bars and Restaurants with plenty of hotels and things to do. The weather was excellent and the people were really friendly.
Lucas Oil Stadium
This was my first time in a Dome stadium, and my first time in a newer NFL stadium. This place is top notched. From the outside it looks like a factory, but on the inside it looked modern and up to date. It was clean looking and it had a great atmosphere. When you first walk in the main gate, you are serenaded by a live band playing country music, and you have a feeling that you are in for a good time. Plenty of bathrooms, good food at the concession stands. Didn't have to worry about parking, since the hotels are within walking distance.
I was looking forward to hearing how loud the Stadium would get in to the dome, but they opened the roof (which was exciting to see). But the sun was able to sneak in to the building, and made it awfully hot. Maybe I'm just used to the freezing temperature at the Ralph.
My wife and I love tailgating at the Ralph, so we were curious to see what it would be like at Lucas Oil. Prior to the game, we staked out the lots where tailgating was permitted, and it didn't have that same vibe you get when you tailgate at the Ralph. The lots seemed too far away and too small to accommodate the type of tailgating that we're used to, so we decided against it.
Of course, I wore my Blue Reebok Stevie Johnson Jersey and my Zubaz. I was fully prepared to defend my fan hood if I had to, and kept my eyes open for other Bills fans, just in case I had to scrap my way out there. But these fans here in Indy were top notch and a classy bunch. I had great conversations with Colts fans about our rivalry and they were very accommodating and friendly. I didn't hear not one boo or insulting words. I actually sneeze, and a Colt fan said bless you. I felt that were a little too friendly, so I decided to pissed them off with our Bills chant. (Lets Go Buffalo, Hey Hey Hey). Nope, didn't work. The guy next to me said, "that's a great chant, we should use it".
We had some really good seats, we were at the 20 yard line on the Bills sided of the field, in the 3rd row. So I was able to get up close in personal with some of our players and coaches. I didn't want to get too giddy and star struck in front of my wife, for obvious reasons :-) I did however meet Marcus Easley grandfather at the concession stand. I figured, who would have an Easley Jersey if it wasn't a family member. I wished Easley luck and told his grandfather that Marcus had the fans support. Also, Eric Woods family was sitting behind me. I guess they took the drive down from Louisville. Whaley was on the field, and had a really nice suit on. I was able to see the WR and DB drills. Gilmore is a really big guy. He might not seem like it on TV, but the guy is solid. I guess he noticed me, because he actually gave me a salute while he was warming up. Chris Hogan was jacked also, all muscles. Aaron Williams was really friendly with a few Bills fans, and he has this swag about him. Joe Buscaglia from WGR550 was right in front of me, this guy is all business all the time.
Prior to start of the game, the camera crew from the local Buffalo TV station told me that they will be taking several shots of us. There weren't too many Bills fans at the game, so I guess we were the best options. If you caught the game, we were the gorgeous couple wearing the blue Bills Jersey (Johnson and Spiller).
I'm not going to give you a play by play analysis, or grades. I'll just tell you some of my on the field observations prior to reading anyone else assessment.On Offense
- I wasn't really happy with the play calling on EJ's first few series. I just felt that they were too conservative at times. The play calling picked up during the course of the game, it just seem like both the player and coaches needed to adjust.
- Jackson doesn't seem like the same guy, really hesitant running the ball
- The O line did a great job pass blocking, but the Colts were Vanilla on Defense all game. Just a 4 man rush most of the time, with an occasional DL stunt. Sounds familiar? Our QB's had all day back there, however we didn't run block too well
Jeff Tuel looked really good, but I think the plays they called for him were different from EJ. I saw more play fakes and bootlegs for Tuel. This gave him more down the field options. I had the perfect angle to that pass he made to Kaufman along the sideline. He threw that guy open
- Easley was just balling out. He looked big and fluid in his routes. The guy next to me was surprised this guy was on the third team. He was a man-child out there. However, I did notice him line up at the wrong spot on a few occasions. Luckily Tuel knew where he was suppose to go, because for a veteran player Easley shouldn't be having these mental mistakes.
- Goodwin is strong, really really fast, and feisty. The guy is a football player. After the first 50 yard return, fans was hoping that they wouldn't kick it to him again.
- I thought we were pretty conservative on D as well. I didn't notice too many blitzes dialed up, we did however have 8 men in the box at times. Showing blitz, but backing out. We did send some corner blitzes later in the game though.
- It looks like Mario is becoming more of a vocal leader, I saw him at times telling the lineman to shift over after the strength changed, and was talking to the young guys on the side line.
- Crezdon Butler was getting turned around with ease by Colts wide outs. I'm not a fan
- Blatnick looks good off the edge, and constantly got pressure
- Aaron Williams was smacking players all around the field. Bye Bye Byrdie? Williams impressed.
- Jumal Rolle had a couple of big plays, but really nothing noticeable from the other players in the secondary
All in all we looked good out there. At halftime I told my wife that we were going to score 40, because they really couldn't stop us. The up tempo seem effective, and it kept the Colts honest. I didn't notice any fatigue from either team. The Bills just looked like the more prepared team, and looked like a team that really wanted to win. I was a little surprised by the blitzing that we were doing on the last drive of the game. More aggressive than years past.
Colts Fans Post Game Reactions
I overheard some interesting chatter from Colts fans talking to one another. They commented on how good we looked and said this isn't the same ole Bills team. They were really surprised with how good we looked. The fans were a little embarrassed by the team performance, and the guys on the radio station were warning people to stay positive.
Yes this was a preseason game, but folks we came to win that game on Sunday. Losing isn't an option for this team. Really looking forward to Friday.