Not so this show-down.
The Patriots looked excellent at times, however credit must go to the never-say-die attitude of the Colts, who came roaring back at the end. They were undone by a little bit of arrogance. With a first down deep, deep in Patriots territory and needing only a field goal to force overtime, most teams would have ran the ball down the middle three times, let the clock slip to 0:01 seconds and kick the chip shot. Not the Colts, they heaved a pretty desperate pass into triple coverage and paid the price.
In effect the Colts were playing with house money, still leading their division and watching with glee as the Titans, possibly their most serious rival, started a serious meltdown with their QB chucking his equipment into the stands, before the end of the game (Vince Young, to paraphrase Peter Griffin, who hurt you Vince? Who hurt you?!).
However, if they end up back at ‘The Razor’ in the playoffs, on account of losing this game, they will surely be kicking themselves.
Meanwhile, every single game is a further step in the development of the young Patriots defence. Belichick might be coaching his best season of all time, if his swarming, energetic and pumped-up bunch of rookie defenders are anything to go by. The race between New England and New York for the AFC East is going to be a cracking watch.
Naturally, no Patriots/Colts game can go by without a little controversy. If you noticed, right at the end of the game, with the Patriots taking knees to run out the clock, there was a little bit of a mêlée at the line of scrimmage.
Believe it or not, the Colts were resorting to complete bush-league tactics to try and create a situation where the Patriots would, well, we don’t know exactly what they were trying.
How about we let Tom Brady try and explain it to us.
“The defensive line, they can’t simulate a snap count at the end of the game when you’re kneeling on the ball, and really, the only thing that could have stopped us was an offensive penalty to stop the clock. So you know, I’m in the middle of my snap count, and the defensive tackle is going, ‘Hut! hut!’ to try to get us to jump offsides.’’
Unbelievably bush-league on the part of the Colts. No big deal, no big drama, just childish and pathetic. Kind of sad from an organisation that is so professional most of the time.
Brady was rightly furious at the Colts pathetic tactics and, as everyone saw, barked at the referees on the final snap.
“To me, the only thing that the ref should be listening for is that. I was just creating some awareness for the referees on what they were doing. Not that they care or listen to me; they really don’t.’’
The bizarre aspect to this is what the Colts were hoping to achieve? Say for example if the Patriots had committed a false-start penalty. It would have been 2nd and 15 and the Patriots would have re-grouped and then run the ball down the throats of the Colts D to run out the clock. There was absolutely nothing to gain with this pathetic ploy.
Before any Colts apologists start hammering away at the comments section as to how anything is fair game in the trenches in the NFL, no, it is not. This is a penalty, when the referees spot it, simulating the snap-count is unsportsmanlike conduct, and results in a 15 yard penalty.
Very strange end to an otherwise wildly enjoyable game.