ARGGH!! NOVEMBER 17, 2009
Still trying to believe what I saw Sunday night – the Patriots blew a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter! Bill Belichick, the genius coach in whom Pats fans say ‘In Bill We Trust’, was seized by a senior moment and made one of the dumbest calls in his career. He let his team go for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 with 2:08 left, leading by 6. Maybe he owed Jim Caldwell (ala Scott Pioli). The prudent thing to do in that case is always to punt and make the other team go the farthest distance. This blunder proved that even smart people do dumb things. Zine to Pats fans: Bill Belichick is human. To err is human…
Win as a team and lose as a team. The coach contributed. Tom Brady threw a bad interception, knocking on the Red Zone door. Laurence Maroney fumbled on the 1 depriving the Pats of a sure seven. Kaczur got steamrolled by Robert Mathis for 2 sacks and many hurries.
The Patriot defense let the Peyton Manning-led Colts score three TDs in about 12 minutes, though admittedly the last score was aided and abetted by Wild Bill Belichick.
The only way that this hurt goes away is if the Patriots meet and beat the Colts in the playoffs.
What do we take away from this late game demise? The Pats young defense is still learning and this game was full of lessons. The Pats suffered a serious loss when Tully Banta-Cain went down in the 1st Qtr. Even so, the Pats youngsters were able to shut down Dallas Clark for most of the game (though his blocking contributed to the Colts victory).
The Pats were without Jarvis Green and Ty Warren resulting in a 2-man line of Vince Wilfork and Mike Wright part of the time. On a couple big TD plays by Joseph Addai, the Colts double teamed Wilfork and it worked.
Regardless of whom the Pats were missing and who got hurt during the game, the Colts were without safety Bob Sanders (IR) and both their starting cornerbacks. Yet at crucial times they held the Pats in check (hard to believe since they gave up 34 points).
Even with that big lead in the 4th quarter, this writer never felt comfortable, never felt that the Colts with Peyton Manning were out of it. Manning is as scary as Johnny Unitas in his day. That sick feeling I used to get in my stomach when Johnny U was leading a last minute drive against the New York ‘Football’ Giants was there every time Peyton Manning touched the ball in the last quarter.
This is a game that the Patriots should have won. Hopefully, they re-group and take it out on the Jets. Teams that play the Pats often stumble the following week. The games
IN YOUR MOUTH
against the Patriots seem to take a toll (on both sides) because of the physical, smash mouth football. Let’s see how the Colts do against the Ravens. At times the Lucas Oil Field looked like a hospital ward with players on both sides falling to injury. In the NFL it’s a battle to overcome not only the opponent but the loss of players to injury.
() Tully Banta-Cain got hurt (rib) on the kickoff to the Pats (their 2nd possession) after the Colts scored their first TD. That was a huge loss as he has been their best pass rusher. Rob Ninkovich replaced him. Later Ninkovich got hurt.
() Kevin Faulk got a terrible spot on that 4th down play. Tom Brady had taken the final time out before that last series. It cost the Pats a chance to challenge the spot.
() Reggie Wayne absolutely killed the kiddie corps and Bodden. Wayne had 12 catches for 126 yards and 2 TDs. Many of his catches were spectacular.
() The defensive killer for the Colts was Robert Mathis who embarrassed Nick Kaczur. Mathis had 2 sacks and 3 QB hits including forcing Brady to fumble (Koppen recovered). One of the sacks was on 3rd and 4 from the Indy 4. The Pats got a FG instead of a TD.
() Checking my notes, the NFL Gamebook, and Mike Reiss at ESPNboston.com, the following were injured: Pats – Banta-Cain (rib), Ninkovich (knee), Aiken (hip), Neal (head). The Colts – RBs Addai, Brown and Simpson, Garcon, Mathis and Bullitt, who made the 4th down stop on Kevin Faulk.
() A key to the Colts win was the running attack, which they never abandoned, down 17.
Addai (41 yards) injured 2 fingers but returned. Donald Brown left but Chad Simpson (36 yds.) ably filled in.
() Ben Watson was used as a lead blocker (FB) as was Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis. Mark LeVoir was an extra LT on Maroney’s TD run.
() For much of the day, the Pats used 5 DBs including Chung as one of 3 safeties. They even played 6 DBs at times.
() Kevin Faulk had more yards (79) than Maroney (31) on one less carry (12 to 13). Hopefully for Pats-Colts Part II, NE has Sammy Morris and/or Fred Taylor back.
() Moss had 179 yards on 9 catches (targeted 16 xs). Welker had 9 for 94 (target 11 xs!).
() The Bear made a good point at our Kappa Delta Phi reunion. If Belichick didn’t trust his defense to stop the Colts from 70-80 yards away, how did he expect them to hold Indy from 29 yards away? Foot Joy and Wise felt that the Pats should have let Indy score early. One wag suggested Brady could have taken a safety on 4th down and then punted.
Sportzine is also available at jimdawsonsports.com (Thanks Buffalo Steve)
() In Red Zone Efficiency (Gamebook), the Pats were 3 of 6 and the Colts 3 of 3. In Goal to Go efficiency, the Pats were only 3 of 5 while Indy was 1 for 1.
() There is already speculation that if Matt Light returns, Sebastian Vollmer will take Kaczur’s place at RT. Sea Bass was outstanding vs. Dwight Freeney, who had no sacks and no tackles on the day. Freeney had 1 QB hit.
• Charles Pierce did a nice piece on Rajon Rondo in Sunday’s Globe magazine. Rondo is 6’1”, but benefits from huge hands and a wide wingspan. Rondo played his senior year of HS at Oak Hill Academy, a b-ball powerhouse in rural Mouth of Wilson, VA.
• Actor Nick Cage is in dire financial shape and is selling 2 New Orleans properties and a castle in Middletown RI (Gray Craig estate). Item from Inside Track (11/15).
• Congratulations to Yankee fans (and Sportzine readers) Terry Nau, Chris DeSessa, Jim Dwyer, Bobby Sisto, Richard Accetta, Diane Azarian, Joe Salvo, Fran Erba, Eben Bates, Broc Hector, Naomi Major, Baily, and my companion Victoria on the World Series championship won by their beloved Pin Stripes.
Thanks, Jim….a sporting gesture from a true sports fan! Baily
Good ‘Zine. Yes, Congrats to all the Yankee fans. While they have always had a ‘Murderers’ Row’ of hitters for many seasons, I felt it was the signing (and success) of the two new starters, Sabathia and Burnett, that really propelled them in ‘09.
Pats’ young players will continue to progress during the season and it will be exciting to see their contributions, as the second half push for the playoffs gets going. Tough schedule ahead….but I think it looks promising.
Tell the Wizard that Mt. Pilot (actually Pilot Mountain) and Mt. Airy are about 170 miles away from Asheville, and much, much closer to Winston-Salem and Greensboro area. Brad
So what’s the greatest number of undefeated teams any team has every faced? It could be 7 for the Pats when they see New Orleans.
Not sure but I’ll try to find out, Glenn. - Z.
Could the Pittsburgh kicker have made a weaker attempt at a tackle on the return that was the game’s only touchdown and Cincy’s winning margin? It looked like he just wanted to get out of the way.
Reed is the name. Scared is the game name. ‘Scared’ Reed did not want to get scarred.- Z
FYI- Belichick cost the Dtrain another win in his own pool. What a moron!!!
Duane, I hear you. It was in the bag and then…the bag job. Thought you were a lock.
At least your Vikings are doing well. - Z