Monday, November 16, 2009

Pat's Gamble falls Short

Belichick made a gutsy call to beat the Colts in one play. Needless to say, it didn't work out as the Colts took the Pats by one point, 35-34. Was going for it on his own 28 yard line the right call? 

The Patriot's loss to the Colts last night has been torturing me for about 15 hours now. That one play keeps running in my head. You know, the one that will live on in infamy. The fourth down play. My mind keeps creating What Ifs. I picture Tom Brady handing it off to Laurence Maroney who gets the 2 yards and more. Brady dropping back and throwing a long ball to Moss, who catches it, stiff arms and runs it into the endzone - a 72 yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. Most of all, my daydreams torture me with images of Faulk making the perfect grab at the 30 yard line, making the conversion. Seeing these plays in my head I feel happy for a second - ecstatic. I picture calling my girlfriend in Indiana and telling her to put it on speaker phone. I can feel the joy as I imagine her Colts fan parents listening to my friends and I loudly and drunkenly singing, "New England Patriots, New England Patriots, We're the best football team! New England Patriots, New England Patriots, Coming soon to your TV!". However, the realization of what actually happened last night creeps back in. The Colts have now won 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two teams, squeaking by with a 35-34 win. The gut wrenching loss comes all down to that one play, the fourth down.

There's been all kinds of talk since last night about Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down. It seems to be the general consensus that it was a bad call. Even former Patriots are critiquing the coach. Tedy Bruschi said that it would have made his blood boil for weeks if he were still on the team. Rodney Harrison said it was the worst coaching decision Belichick's ever made. Most are saying, those two former Pats included, that it shows a lack of faith in the defense. I'm not sure I buy any of this. I agree with Leigh Bodden who said after the game, "I don't think it was a lack of faith in anybody, I think he believed in either one. The offense to get it and the defense to stop them." Manning had showed in that game and throughout his entire career that he is capable of quickly getting points in a short amount of time, no matter the field position. Belichick was simply trying to keep the ball out of Manning's hands. It certainly would've been a greater challenge for Manning to drive the ball 70 yards in 2 minutes, but he is obviously very capable of that task. Belichick said in a postgame press conference that he was simply trying to do what he thought gave them the best chance to win. A chance to completely avoid Manning getting the football is a gamble I would definitely take. There is also the thought that if the Colts had scored quickly enough, the Patriots would have enough time to drive the ball, needing only a field goal to win it. Joseph Addai had a chance to get a touchdown but was stopped at the one yard line. If the Pats had made a clock smart play and let him into the end zone, they could've had extra time to allow Tom Brady to get the ball in position for Gostowski. Despite the loss and the failure of the fourth down conversion, I still support Belichick's decision. None of this really matters though, New England is 6-3 and Indianapolis, 9-0. The players are going to have to move on to the Jets but I'll likely stew over this one all week.

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