I know that so many people have talked about the Patriots/Colts Sunday night game that most of you are tired of hearing about it. I had to take an extra day to watch the game again to see if the fake punt call was the actual turn of events in the game or if it was just another play. I also had to take a day to really think about what I wanted to say here without sounding like a pissed off fan who got all butt hurt about what happened Sunday night. Here goes nothing…
First, let’s get the biggest point out of the way. What the hell was that fake punt that was called on 4th and 3? I mean did they really think that it was wise to send out the punt group only to call that play so deep into their own territory. The coaches had to know that if something went wrong it was going to be very bad. After re-watching the game I still cannot understand what the point was for calling that play. I know that Coach Chuck Pagano said it was to catch them with too many men on the field, but hell it wouldn’t have mattered it they did. The Colts weren’t lined up correctly and the penalties would have offset and they still would have had to punt. I also know that Griff Whalen wasn’t supposed to snap the ball….ever…or be in on that play. He did and was and he screwed up and he owned up to it. That was the single worst call I have seen in my 20+ years of being a Colts fan and there have been some pretty bad teams in this city during that span. No good was going to come from that play call and the Colts paid dearly for it.
Second, no I do not think Pagano should be fired for that play call. He owned up to it just like Whalen did. However, I am going to say that he pushed himself closer to the fire by calling that play. If they wanted to do that against a lesser opponent then fine. You want to do that when you have a double digit lead in the opponents territory? Do it. Just don’t call that play ever again Chuck. The rumors that have been swirling all season only will get worse from this move he made and they already have. If the Colts lose any of these next four games the push for a new head coach will get worse and worse. I have backed Coach Pagano since he got here and I will continue to do so, but that play call put a big dent in my allegiance to him as the Colts head coach.
I want to give kudos to the Colts defense who did the best they could with the situations they were put in throughout the game. They picked off Tom Brady for the first time this season and sacked him twice. Now that really isn’t something to be too excited about, but for a team that has a terrible pass rush to get to the hottest quarterback in the NFL twice is a big deal in my book. The interception wasn’t a defensive read where they just picked it off. It was off of a damaged receiver’s hands, but the concentration by Mike Adams to juggle the ball and pull it in and then take it back for six points was awesome to watch.
They had breakdowns three times and the Pats made them pay dearly for that. The first was Rob Gronkowski being left wide open in the red zone in the middle of the field for a touchdown. The second was not tackling Legarrette Blount when he stomped through the line for a 38-yard touchdown run. The third being the pass Blount caught for his second touchdown. For the most part the Colts run defense was solid, but we all know if the Pats are given something they are going to exploit it. The Blount touchdown catch was just a terrible play by Jerrell Freeman. Freeman was covering him and when he saw Brady rolling out and looking like he was going to run he gave up on the coverage and left Blount by himself in the end zone. If Freeman stays with him I think it could have been a sack or a very minimal gain by Brady on the ground.
The Colts secondary did an okay job, but didn’t have much for Julian Edelman or Gronk. Edelman dislocated his finger and I feel that was the only reason his production went down as the game went on.
The Colts offense was great in the first half and down right bad in the second half. They were very balanced in the first half and then after halftime the Pats rolled down and scored. That put the fear into the Colts that the Pats were up and they were already in hurry mode to get back within a few points. They abandoned the run game and at one point Luck threw 26 passes in a row. 26!!! Why in the hell would you get away from a guy who is getting almost six yards a carry and punishing the defenders who were trying to tackle him? Because Pep Hamilton got scared that if they didn’t go into immediate shootout mode that they were going to get blown out again, that’s why. Nevermind the fact that they were leading at the half with the short, quick pass balanced with the run game plan. That went out the window when Pep got scared. That is the point where Pags should have told Pep to start running more, but he didn’t.
I think the turning point WAS the fake punt. The botched call by the refs on the onside kick didn’t help matters, but that fake punt was the main reason that the Colts lost their ju-ju and accepted that the Pats were just better than they were. That’s on Pagano for sure. That is also on Hamilton who just goes to the long pass game that hasn’t worked yet and left what was working behind. If the Colts are going to win this season they better get their minds right pretty quick. The next four games are going to be the biggest test of the season for this team. Between the four teams they are a combined 18-5. Two of those teams are still undefeated and one seems like they are on the rise. It’s do or die time right now. If the Colts lose any of these games up to the bye week then I feel this team is in major trouble. Going into the bye week 6-3 would help a ton, I will even go as far as saying 5-4 would be okay too. Anything less than that would be a waste. I’m ready to see what this team is made of because we sure haven’t seen it yet.