Another week, another loss. On Sunday the Colts’ late fourth-quarter rally in Cincinnati fell short, leaving our Indy heroes with an 0-6 record, the team’s worst since 1997. I was six years old then. My, how times have changed.
It’s getting more and more difficult to watch this team play so valiantly and still lose, for losing is something we Colts fans simply are not used to. However, there are bright spots to consider, and our Horseshoe Hero this week provided a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter with what could be the catch of the year. Dallas Clark’s remarkable one-handed touchdown grab from Curtis Painter earned him not only Horseshoe Hero honors, but also some much-needed redemption.
Dallas Clark was selected by the Colts as the 24th overall pick in the 2003 draft, and he has since proven himself to be one of the most prolific tight ends in the league. A Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion, Clark has all but locked up a spot in the Hall of Fame. However, since returning to the lineup this year after missing the majority of last season with a wrist injury, Clark struggled to regain his usual productivity. In the first five games Clark uncharacteristically dropped six passes, probably due to the fact that Collins and Painter, not Manning, were throwing to him.
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In the first quarter of Sunday’s game, it looked like Clark’s struggles would continue when he fumbled the football at Indy’s own 44-yard line, which led to a Bengals touchdown drive. But the veteran didn’t get shaken. He went on to catch a season-high six passes for 53 yards, including one touchdown. That one touchdown is surely to be replayed as a Colts highlight throughout the remainder of the season.
With a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game, Dallas Clark caught a 17-yard pass in the end zone to bring his team within three points of their opponent. Although the pass was thrown by Painter, the quarterback hardly deserves credit for the score. It was completely off mark, but somehow Clark managed to secure the ball in the palm of one single hand. How he was able to maintain possession and keep both feet in-bounds surely defied the laws of physics. It was a tremendous display of athleticism, talent, and pure heart. Hopefully, it will serve as a solid confidence booster for the tight end.
There are other positives to take from Sunday’s game. Painter achieved a 69.3 Total Quarterback Rating, which was 9th best in the league (Collins was at 32 when he played). In addition, middle linebacker Pat Angerer is leading the league in tackles. Donald Brown was even impressive, earning 7 yards per carry and scoring a touchdown. This game was clearly lost only by miscues and inexcusable turnovers. The talent and the work ethic is there; this team just needs to finish their games. I still have faith!
In Week 7 the Colts will play in primetime when they face their toughest opponent yet, the New Orleans Saints. A new Horseshoe Hero is sure to emerge, so be sure to check back next Tuesday and find out who it is.