After the Patriots built a 14 point fourth quarter lead, the Colts decided to wake up and show a little pride. They eventually battled back to make this annual 'War of 18-12' another 'all timer.' Much of the credit for battling back goes to Peyton Manning.
Unfortunately, so does some of the blame for the loss.
With less than a minute left, and well within Adam Vinatieri field goal range to tie the game and get into overtime, Manning threw his third INT of the day. The play essentially ended the game, and it made the Colts leave Gillette Stadium muttering 'What if?'
Of course, while Manning will take much of the brunt for throwing three picks on the road, much of the reason the Colts trailed all game long was the ineptness of their defense. At halftime. The Patriots were 6-6 on third down and were 2-2 in the redzone. On the road, you aren't going to win many football games when you let Tom Brady throw all over you.
Overall, despite the turnovers, the putrid third down defense, and the non-existent running for much of the game, the Colts had a chance to scratch this out. If there is a moral victory to salvage out of this, it's that.
Unfortunately, moral victories don't win you anything. Bottom line, the Colts simply did not do enough to win. Austin Collie was injured (again), and Aaron Francisco still stinks as a safety. Indy now has to collect themselves and simply fight to win the AFC South. After a loss like this, thinking about homefield or the #2 seed seems distant right now. Next up is the Chargers, which means it doesn't get any easier.