Media bashing seems to be extremely popular here lately and I thought I should continue this trend.
Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com, compares the Colts and Saints based on their wins over the Patriots.
Or you could sit there and read some common sense, which is this:
New Orleans is better than the Colts. Possibly a lot better. If we're lucky, we'll find out for sure on Feb. 7. That's the date of Super Bowl XLIV.
I'm not entirely sure that 'common sense' dictates that the Saints are, in fact, the better team. It is hard to say who is actually the better team. Both are playing at an extremely high level. But if the Colts have a significant first half deficit in the Super Bowl, do you really think the game is over? There have been far too many games that the Colts should have lost this season. A hard-fought win over a good team is better than a blow out any day. Any coach will tell you that it builds character and shows you what your team is made of.
Doyel goes on to say:
If you'll recall Nov. 15, the Patriots competed fairly well with Indianapolis at Indianapolis -- leading the Colts by 17 in the fourth quarter, and infamously going for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 28 with 2:08 left, a gamble that failed spectacularly and allowed the Colts to rally for a 35-34 victory. Indianapolis had the better record, but New England had the better team. That game, basically, was an upset.
Not one-point better, like Indianapolis was on Nov. 15. Not "a freak comeback thanks to an enormous coaching mistake" better. New Orleans is a lot better than New England, and not just because Belichick says so. New Orleans is a lot better than the Patriots because, frankly, New Orleans is a lot better than the Patriots.
There are a number of problems with his statements. Here is the meat of his inaccuracy:
- He states that the Colts were down by 17 in the fourth quarter, but then cites the fourth-and-2 Belichick call as if it was the only play in the game that allowed us to complete the comeback. That is flat-out wrong. The truth is that this team simply outplayed the Patriots in the second half by making some excellent defensive adjustments. Scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter is what won the game. And even though the fourth-and-2 play failed, the Colts still had to put the ball in the end zone to win.
- Calling the game an upset when the Colts were favored to win is foolish. Being outplayed for 45 minutes only to lose in the fourth doesn't qualify as an upset. You have to play 60 minutes. The fact of the matter is that the Colts are the better team, and the better team will find a way to win.
- "Freak comebacks" based on a single play when your team is down by 17 doesn't make sense. That's still three scores and some solid defensive stands to tie or take the lead. Either the Pats punt or the fourth-and-2 play happens. Either way, the Colts have the ball back with plenty of time to march down the field and take the lead.
- The Patriots' defense is OK at best. They played an admirable game against Indianapolis, but in the fourth quarter their secondary was exposed. They were exposed again against an explosive New Orleans offense. However, the Colts were not spotted 14 points like the Saints were. Two pass plays for touchdowns were for over 60-yards. Giving up big plays like that, especially the Henderson 75-yarder, is inexcusable. Give the Colts 14 easy points early in the game and the Colts can run away with it.
No disrespect to the Saints. They are clearly an excellent team and came to play on Monday night. They beat the Pats. I wish every team would do us the same favor. But if you're going to cite the Pats as a benchmark for the way the Colts and Saints compare to each other, then you have to include the other common opponents. The games against the Rams and the Dolphins need to be included, and so will games against the Jets and the Bills later on. (DevilsReject does a good job making comparisons here.)
Hopefully we can find out if the Saints or the Colts are better come February.