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Recap Week Nine: Colts 20-Patriots 24

Antoine Bethea is a stud, even in defeat.
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
I'm just glad this damn game is done and over and finally friggin' behind us. The only draw back is for the next few weeks or so (until they lose), all we we see in the sports world are reports and specials on how great and wonderful the Patriots are and how they will go undefeated. That said, like so many here have stated: The Patriots earned it today. This was a gutty, hard fought, classic regular season game that went down to the wire.

What we can all agree on is based on this game, the two best teams reside in New England and Indianapolis right now. No other team comes close. Here's the recap:

  • I LOVE INDY'S DEFENSE! You will never hear me say anything bad about Gary Brackett again. He could be sleeping with my girlfriend right now and I'd still think he's awesome. That second pick on Brady was one of the greatest defensive plays I've ever seen. All game long, Brackett, Sanders, Marlin, Kelvin, and Antoine were hitting the snot out of Patriots receivers. It wasn't until the mid-fourth, when injuries knocked out Marlin, Bob, and a few others that Brady started making plays. Give New England credit: They made the plays when they needed them. Still, Brady faced constant pressure all game, and it showed. Hats off to Dungy and Meeks for getting this defense playing this well.
  • The injuries just took their toll. In the fourth, with only 2 healthy WRs, the offense sputtered. Injuries aren't an excuse, but when you play a team like New England, it helps to have all your horses in line. With Marvin and Gonzo out, the Pats simply blitzed like madmen. Moorehead dropped a sure first down on a drive that could have iced the game, and even Reggie dropped a few long balls he should have reeled in. The past two years, Reggie and the others make those catches. This time, they don't. That's really the difference.
  • New England is a fine team. We've all said that. But they escaped with this win. The Colts were simply more physical than the Patriots. Joseph Addai ran right down their throats. Indy's front four lived in New England's backfield, and Brady faced constant pressure all game. On offense, despite back-up LT Charlie Johnson getting killed play after play, Manning played very well. As stated before, his receivers dropped some well thrown balls, and his protection simply broke down in the fourth. Credit NE for taking advantage of the Colts' injuries.
Obviously, it's tough to take a loss. This game was so weird, so surreal it had a playoff feel to it: Vinatieri missed his first career FG in the RCA Dome, the Pats committed a sinful of dumb penalties, the Colts blew a fourth quarter lead for the first time in eons, and the Pats trailed in the fourth for the first time this year. It was an odd, wonka-rrific game, and as JasonB from BGN said:
This game was really just a warm up. They'll meet in the playoffs for all the marbles.
I agree. What was interesting about this game is I think we saw a blueprint to beat NE. They have a finesse offense that relies heavily on the big play. Take that away, and they struggle. It'll be interesting to see if others copy it. Still, today they were better and the final score proved it.

Fan participation on the blog today was excellent. Thanks to all Pats fans for commenting with us. We appreciate your comments and your respect. Please understand, we think your team is dirty, whiny, cheap, and loaded with punks. However, that doesn't mean we don't respect it, because we sure as hell do. This is the best rivalry in football, and I'm glad to see it continue.

For the Colts, it's just odd to see them lose. It hasn't happened in a long time; almost 11 months. It's yet another reason to enjoy this team, even after a loss like this. They'll regroup. They'll re-evaluate. They'll recover. And later on, they will face New England again.

And then, when the stakes are high, Indy will beat them. Go Colts.