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Monday, November 16, 2009
Who to blame: the refs, Belichick, Laurence Maroney? Answer: all of the above.
What the fuck happened last night in Indy?
The Patriots choked away two 17-point leads and lost 35-34 at Lucas Oil Stadium after two dubious calls went to the Colts (9-0) and oh by the way New England genius head coach Bill Belichick went for it on fourth-and-two from their own 28.
It is a shame that a great performance by the Patriots (6-3) for 58 minutes will mostly be remembered by the slobbering masses for the weak pass interference call on Darius Butler, the terrible spot on Kevin Faulk's fourth down catch and Belichick's ridiculous roll of the dice.
A win would have put the Patriots in the mix for the possible top seed in the AFC but now, they're relegated to fighting for the second or third spot in the AFC. We can all agree that the division is wrapped up now (I'll print the worthless AFC East champions shirts) after the Jets lost yesterday to the Jaguars, Buffalo got blown out by the Titans and the Dolphins squeaked by the Bucs.
The Patriots did whatever they want on offense as Tom Brady (375 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Randy Moss (9 catches, 179 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Wes Welker (9 catches, 94 yards) abused Indy's injury-depleted defense.
Joseph Addai gave the Colts an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter with a 15-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass. From there, the Pats rolled off 24 straight points.
Laurence Maroney tied it with a one-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter. A Stephen Gostkowski 31-yard field goal, a 63-yard bomb to Moss and a 9-yard catch by Julian Edelman put New England up 24-7 with 7:19 left in the second quarter.
Predictably, Peyton Manning (327 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) and Reggie Wayne (10 catches, 126 yards, 2 touchdowns) took just over three minutes to make it 24-14 as Manning found Wayne for a 20-yard touchdown catch.
Neither team scored in the third quarter and Randy Moss extended to lead to 31-14 early in the fourth quarter after a quick 5-yard out.
The Patriots defense which played well in spurts, seemed to struggle most when they had a lead of more than one score.
Playing passively against Manning never works. Pierre Garcon caught a 29-yard pass as the Colts cut it to 31-21.
Maroney did his best to give it away as he fumbled a sure touchdown into the end zone which the Colts recovered.
When Gostkowski hit a 36-yard field goal with 4:12 left, the game looked all but over at 34-21 Patriots.
Once again, the prevent defense collapsed in a heartbeat for the Patriots as Indianapolis marched down the field and got a gift pass interference call. Addai ran it in from 4 yards out with 2:23 left.
Belichick wasted not one but two timeouts on their last real drive which of course came back to haunt them. When their third down play didn't work (an out to Welker, really?), nobody could believe it as the offense stayed on the field and went for it on fourth down.
Faulk (79 yards rushing) caught it at the 30-yard line (which should have been a first down) but two Colts defenders tackled him backwards. Apparently forward progress is a forgotten concept as the closest ref signalled Faulk was juggling (he did at first but then it was secure). They had no challenges left so they couldn't review the play.
One last time, Manning and Indy put the ball in the end zone as he threw a 1-yard touchdown to Wayne.
Yikes. After listening to pregame hype of this game all week, now I have to listen to all the second-guessing of everything in the game this week.
The Jets come to Gillette on Sunday and hopefully the Patriots can put this horrorshow behind them as fast as possible.