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Subject: Indianapolis withstands the onslaught and survives rss

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Erik Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
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Lemonhead and I played the big game today. We each had played the game solitaire, with New Orleans winning each of our games. I took Indianapolis and Tom took New Orleans. Here’s what happened:

IND 0 , NO 0

Indianapolis wins the toss and takes the ball, starting on the IND 27. The first play is a FUMBLE on a 7-yard completion recovered by New Orleans!

IND 0 , NO 0
Five plays later, NO gets a 3-yard TD run and a quick 7-0 lead.

IND 0 , NO 7
Two passes net 9 yards for IND, and on 3rd and 1 NO’s defense stuffs the run for no gain. IND is forced to punt after a 3-and-out. However, the punt is a beauty to NO’s 11. NO runs it back to the 22, where they begin their next possession on offense.

IND 0 , NO 7
IND attacks the first down pass, creating an INT with long return… for… a TD! The game is tied. Both offenses have handed the other team 7 points.

IND 7 , NO 7
New Orleans begins a 10-play drive into IND territory, but they FUMBLE after a catch at the IND 25.

IND 7 , NO 7
Indianapolis embarks on its own 10-play drive, converting 2 third downs along the way. In the second quarter IND caps the drive by scoring on a 7-yard pass caught in the back of the end zone. Indianapolis takes the lead!

IND 14 , NO 7
New Orleans answers Indianapolis’ TD drive with a 13-play drive that stalls at the IND 13. They settle for a 30-yard FG. At this point, NO has run twice as many plays (29) as IND (14). Plus they’ve been deep in IND territory on all 3 drives. But IND still leads.

IND 14 , NO 10
A fantastic kickoff return brings the ball out the IND 43. One play later IND is in NO territory. But then the NO defense gets an INTERCEPTION and take over at the NO 32.

IND 14 , NO 10
New Orleans quickly gets to midfield, but stalls after a first down. The punt goes into the IND end zone for a touchback.

IND 14 , NO 10
First down is incomplete. Second down is a 13-yard sack to the IND 7. On 3rd and27, IND completes a 19-yard pass to make room for the punter.

IND 14 , NO 10
New Orleans has plenty of time to mount a drive before halftime. They exhibit a lot of patience and run the two-minute drill to perfection. NO completes 6 out of 8 passes on the drive, the last of which goes to the 1-yard line with 0:14 remaining in the half. They call their last timeout. Instead of kicking the sure FG, New Orleans goes for the TD and scores on a 1-yard plunge.

IND 14 , NO 17 -- HALFTIME

It’s halftime and New Orleans has regained the lead. Indianapolis is deflated. They can’t get off the field on defense. New Orleans has run 43 first-half plays to Indianapolis’ 19. To top it off, New Orleans will start the second half with the ball. Each team has an interception and a fumble.

IND 14 , NO 17

In the third quarter, New Orleans again takes the ball right down the field on a 9-play drive. However, they stall at the IND 20 and settle for a 37-yard field goal.

IND 14 , NO 20

At this point, IND can feel the game slipping away unless they put some points on the board. They come out throwing downfield, completing 3 out of 5 passes with a big completion of 32 yards to the NO 6-yard line. One play later, a 6-yard TD reception puts IND back on top.

IND 21 , NO 20

Undaunted, New Orleans requires all of 2 plays to get back into IND territory. But the IND defense halts them there and New Orleans downs a punt at the IND 12.

IND 21 , NO 20
Backed up on the 12, IND continues to throw downfield, but misses on the first 2 attempts. An 18-yard completion on third-down moves the chains, but three more incompletions force IND to punt back to NO. It’s another good punt, and NO starts their next drive on their own 23.

IND 21 , NO 20
Having completed only 2 of the last 5 passes, New Orleans starts the drive running the ball. The first run nets 6 yards. The second run results in a FUMBLE!

IND 21 , NO 20
With a short field set up at the NO 30, IND gets to the NO 1-yard line in 5 plays. The game enters the 4th quarter with IND ahead by 1 point. Then the drive is capped with a 1-yard run and a PAT to put IND ahead by 8 points.

IND 28 , NO 20
Knowing they must answer IND’s TD with a score of their own, NO marches back into IND territory, converting 2 third down plays. However, on 3rd and 7 on the IND 15, NO’s pass falls incomplete and they attempt a 32-yard FG to bring the score back to 28-23… but the FG is NO GOOD!

IND 28 , NO 20
IND takes over at their own 22. Ahead 8 and with a chance to put New Orleans in a big hole, IND comes out throwing and completes another big 32-yard pass to move to NO territory. Two plays later they have a first down at the NO 25-yard line. A field goal would be huge on this drive. IND opts to move the attack to the ground, chew some clock and kick the FG. It’s a 36-yarder, and it’s good.

IND 31 , NO 20

Now it’s do-or-die time for New Orleans. They are going to have to be perfect from here until the end of the game if they’re going to win. There’s enough time for them to get the ball two more (possibly three more) times. In 3 quick plays they’re at midfield again, when NO throws its second INTERCEPTION of the game (4th turnover compared with IND’s two turnovers). IND takes over at the NO 47.

IND 31 , NO 20
At this point, the IND game plan is to run as much clock as possible. They get a good first down run, get a first down on a pass and run three more times before kicking a 40-yard FG to go up 14 points.

IND 34 , NO 20

In garbage time, New Orleans completes its first pass and yet again enters IND territory. They run out of time, however on the IND 32, and Indianapolis wins its second championship game in four years.


Despite being outgained 455 to 300 yards, Indianapolis won the turnover battle and prevailed. I felt like my solitaire game session helped me play better as Indianapolis in the live game. That said, playing against a thinking opponent who constantly drove the ball into my territory was hard work--especially given that I had to face 78 plays to my own 48 on offense.

This time I aggressively attacked New Orleans' short pass offense (to slow them down and hope I could stall them or force a turnover). On offense I made sure I stayed aggressive with my long passing, especially in the second half (until I was sure I could get a two-score lead and run the clock to victory). In my solitaire game, I had tried too hard to stop New Orleans from long passing and would get burned by the short pass attack.

IND 17 rushes for 54 yards, 1 TD
NO 27 rushes for 110 yards, 2 TDs

IND 17-30-259 with 2 TDs and 1 interception (sacked 1-13)
NO 31-51-345 with 0 TDs and 2 interceptions

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