The honeymoon is over for the Baltimore Colts. The fans are spoiled. The second guessers are in full pursuit of a team with a 9-3 record. The Colts strategy is being called to question.
Dert Jones who calls the plays, is being citicized.
A news dispatch says. "Baltimore has been flooded this week with theories about the Colts' sudden slip . . . Most of the blame has been placed on Baltimore's conservative offense featuring the middle-of-the-line runs by Bydell Mitchell and short passes from Jones to Mitchell and to the other running back, Don McCauley."
It is the same team that led the National Football League in scoring in 1976, but the opposition has been breaking up the old gang this year.
The New England Patriots keyad on Mitchell, held him without a pass reception to 29 yards rushing and the Colts without a touchdown in a 17-3 victory.
The Denver Broncos held Mitchell to 14 yards rushing although they did give up short passes 11 to McCauley and (nine) to Mitchell, but the Colts scored only one touchdown in a 27-13 victory.
he heat escalated when the Colts did not score a touchdown against a rookie-studded Miami team which won 17-6, and put Baltimore play off hopes in doubt.
Jones was criticized for not lofting the ball: for not going to tight end Raymond Chester more when the wide receivers were double-covered, instead of settling for dink passes to the running backs.
The member of a rival organization, who asked not to be identified, said the next day. "When you've got a gun : such as Jonesarm, you shoot it: you don't surrender (pass off to the running backs).
"Receivers coming out of the back-field rarely catch a swing pass and go home run distances for touchdowns.
"It isn't a case of pass real long or short - Jones should be passing 15-13-20 yards, too, Chester is a fast tight end who can run through the zones, go deep, catch the ball on the run, and knock people down after he catches the ball. Sure, he's going to drop some, but you don't quit on such an athlete."
The critic said of Jonnes' failure to connect with wide-open receiver Roger Carr on Monday night. "(former coach) Paul Brown had a saying - 'Great quarterbacks complete the one-on none pass.'"
The critic cited Norm Van Brocklin and Otto Graham as being masters at asking something off the ball when defenders were badly beaten. Jack Komp, late in his career, and Dan Pastorini presently being adept at it.
A glimmer of hope has emerged for NFC people suffering from the gibes from the AFC types gloating about supremacy. Pat Haden of the Rams is 7-1 agaist AFC opponents: He may have knocked Supper Bowl champion Oakland out of the playoffs last week, and before that put on the bench Joe Namath, the original symbol of AFC superiority. Chuck Knox is 12-3 over AFC opponents.
If it is any comfort to the Colts, H&H predicts they will beat Detroit, 17-14, and New England will beat Miami, 28-17.
Defensive end Harvey Martin has set a Dallas Cowboy record with 23 sacks. They lead the NFC with 43. Randy White has 10 and ED (Too Tall) Jones five.
Lou Seban, former Buffalo Bills coach, is being accused of dismantling that team in anger after owner Ralph Wilson usurped his power.
"I didn't make the 'lousy' trades and I didn't make the 'lousy' draft picks." Wilson said in commenting on such descriptions by the press. Wilson said he intervened "only twice" in planned trades.
The Chicago Bear are hot at the right time - on defense. Their 10-0 shutout of Tampa Bay was the second of the season; in four straight Central Division games they have allowed one touchdown, and the last three opponents averaged 180 yards in total offense.
A tribute to the Broncos' Craig Morton, from Houston coach Bum Phillios: "Anybody who can beat Oakland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and us - and I put us in there because we have a fine football team, too - has got to be good. They are not an accident.
"Red Miller and his staff have done a hell of a job, but if you are going to point to one player being the difference, it's Craig Morton. Denver had a good football team last year: but they didn't have Craig Morton."
Jack Gregory and John Hicks played down the fight they had after the New York Giants beat St. Louis in New York, pointing out that they share a house in Piermont, N.Y.,with Doug Van Horn and Tom Mullen.
What Gregory burned about was the story about the fuss in an East Side hangout for "groupies" being circulated to his hometown. Okolona, Miss., where his wife and the rest of his faily live.
Walter Payton needs to average 181 years in his last two games to surpass O. J. Simpson's single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards.
The Minnesota Vikings have scored six touchdowns in their nine possessions with rookie Tommy Krammer at quarterback.