Colts can finally put Jets’ saga behind them

It’s over with – done, finished, finite. What Jim Caldwell did in the second half of the Colts’ loss to the Jets in Week 16 is now moot after Indy soundly defeated the Ravens 20-3 on Saturday night.

Given the reaction of some folks, you could have sworn that Caldwell not only killed the Colts’ quest for a perfect season when he pulled his starters in the second half against the Jets, but he unleashed the spawn of Hades as well. He took a ton of criticism for the decision to rest his starters in the final two weeks of the season, as plenty of people boastfully claimed that the Colts would lose in the first round because of it.

But they didn’t. The defense looked well rested and energized, as it forced four turnovers and held Baltimore to 270 total yards. Peyton Manning and the offense wasn’t as crisp as it has looked throughout the season, but they still racked up 275 total yards and converted in two of three trips inside the red zone.

Granted, the Ravens shot themselves in the foot all night and had they taken better care of the ball, the final score would have been closer. But give credit to Caldwell and his coaching staff for having the Colts well prepared. The Ravens could do very little offensively and when there was a big play to be made, Indianapolis made it – not Baltimore.

Had the Colts lost, the criticism that ensued following Caldwell’s decision to pull his starters against the Jets would have been just. And in some ways, the criticism is still warranted because he pulled the plug on a perfect season.

But the bottom line is that the Colts are moving on thanks in part to Caldwell’s decision to keep everyone healthy and rested during those final two weeks. Ask Bill Belichick if he would have given up part of his salary to go back and sit Wes Welker the week before the playoffs. (Not that it would have made too much of a difference with the way the Pats played that way – but you get the point.)

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