Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Morning Quarterback

Close, but no cigar, was the outcome of the Pats-Colts game yesterday. The Colts let a lead slip away and dropped one, 24-20.

The pundits that perpetuated all of the BS hype all week will have a lot to talk about the next couple of days. Who knows what they'll say. But, I think, there are a few things that were critical to the outcome that may or may not be apparent to some:

1. In a game of this magnitude, the absence of Marvin Harrison played a huge role.

NE's secondary is one of the best in the league, they did a good job of keeping the Colt receivers from doing the usual damage. With Marvin out, all they had to do was make sure Reggie Wayne did not get behind them and burn them long. With only one long ball threat in the game for Indy, NE could tighten up coverage on Utecht, Clark, and Gonzo, on the underneath routes.

Had Marvin played, I think it would have posed a more difficult task for NE. Double coverage on both Harrison and Wayne would have meant more openings for short passes to the TEs. Not double teaming one of the WRs would have meant the threat of the long ball in critical possessions.

2. Too many dropped passes on the Colts.

You can play the Marvin was absent card all you want, but the fact will still remain, there were a lot of dropped balls without anyone on the Pats forcing the drops. When Peyton throws a strike, the receivers simply have to catch the damned ball. NE is too good of a team to make errors like this. These mistakes were purely mental. Mental mistakes in a big game like this, really put a lot of unnecessary pressure on Manning (and the entire team). From where I sat, it looked like they were trying to run with the ball before they had it secured.

3. Randy Moss.

This is guy does for NE, what Harrison does for Indy. He, paired with Stallworth, gives Brady two long ball threats. If you double cover both, that opens up the running game and the shorter passes. Moss had 145 receiving yards and some of those yards were from passes that not many in the league would have caught.

4. Teams do not beat the Patriots four times in a row.

In fact, beating them three time in a row was a feat, in itself. They are too talented and play too solid. They, like the Colts, have been one of the premier teams in the league for several years now. They will not concede without a fight.

On the plus side, I think that the Indy defense played about as good as they could have against a very powerful NE offense. In fact, both defenses made key plays when they needed to. But all things remaining equal, it all goes back to my #1 factor. If Harrison was playing, they very likely would have been able to mount a final scoring drive, when they got the ball back with three and some change left in the game. But he wasn't, and they didn't. That's it, game over.

Indy fans will pout today. Losing is bad enough, but no one likes to lose to the Pats around here. In fact, no one in the league likes to lose to the Pats. I do not think it's because of the team, the players, nor do I think it's the Patriot fans. Mostly I think there is a genuine disdain for Belichick. I am sure he won't lose a lot of sleep over it, but I think he lost a lot of respect from other teams' fans, as a result of the cheating incident.

But beyond all of that, congratulations go out to the NE Patriots for winning the game. The game was won on the field fair and square. And to the Colts fans, I say this: This is not the end of the season.

As bad as we needed the win to solidify our chance of meeting them at home in the playoffs, it's still a just a regular season game and it only counts as one loss. We have another game, next week. So, it makes no sense to play tough, the team playing the best football in the league right now; then, turn around and lose one to a Norv Turner coached team, the following week.

If there is any optimism to be gleaned from this loss, it is: We were in the game until the very end, despite not having Harrison and the other factors I mentioned. That says a lot, to me. And being the longtime football fan that I am, I am looking forward to next week.

In the end, it's a ballgame. And ballgames are for entertainment purposes only. I'd trade a losing effort by my team for peace in the world, anytime.

8 comments:

Rocket said...

My condolences

Sleepless in Paris

LASunsett said...

LMAO Rocket.

That NASN will age you before too long.

Greg said...

Rocket: you need to tape those games and watch them at a reasonable hour! It's not like anyone is going to ruin it by revealing the score to you before you have a chance to watch.

What I take from the game:

1. The most lopsided penalty calling I have ever seen. At first you think, "Wow, they are going to call everything pass interference. Ok!" Then you realize, they are only going to call it that way for one side. Not ok.

2. Coach Dungy may have to eat a little crow after saying the Patriots' championships were "tainted." The whole world heard the Colts pumping crowd noise into the sound system while the Patriots were on offense. We'll see how many pundits come out and call this "cheating," as they have so readily done with the so-called spygate. We'll how much punishment is dealt for "speakergate." A first-round draft pick seems to be the precedent for such incidents.

3. Obviously everyone outside of New England hates my team. The fans, the announcers, the analysts, and the league. A NY paper had a headline: "The Hate-riots." I didn't realize it, but I love it. Now it really IS the Pats vs. the world. I've never seen the team so focused and motivated and angry.

LASunsett said...

Hi Greg,

I figured you'd be here earlier to pour salt into my wounds. ;)

Here's where I disagree with your assessment:

1. There were some bad calls on both teams. This was a pathetic crew of officials, but it didn't affect the outcome. I think they really need to have a better team of officials in these big games.

2. Let's look at the entirety of Dungy's comments from a sports blog (Emphasis mine):

//"You kind of feel like there is a code of honor, a code of ethics in the league," he said at the time. "You want to win and you want to do things the right way."

Dungy also compared the Pats to Barry Bonds, where he said the slugger's accomplishments were tainted and implied that perhaps the Pats' were as well.

Yesterday, as his team prepared to host the Patriots in Sunday's battle of the NFL's unbeatens, Dungy stood by those remarks.

"To me, that's what it is," he said. "That was my opinion at the time and that's what I believe. I don't think it takes away from anything they've done. It's just disappointing that it wasn't a good situation for the league or any of the players in the NFL."//


He said it takes nothing away from what they have done, it just gives the league a black eye.

And to be fair, if it is proven that there was crowd noise pumped into the stadium, then I will be the first to condemn it. But these cases do differ:

A. Belichick was the one that made to decision to tape the Jets hand signals. I seriously doubt that Dungy was responsible for the crowd noise being pumped in, if that in fact did occur.

B. All NFL teams use silent counts. Crowd noise is everywhere and thus, the outcome of a game is not usually affected by the noise level. But again, if it happened, it's still wrong.

3. I doubt many people truly hate your team as much as you think they do. It's Belichick, they hate. And to a huge degree it's much more than just the overall success of the team.

The guy has treated his former assistants like shit and is one of the most arrogant people in the business. He learned much of his brilliant football knowledge from Bill Parcells, yet never credits anything to him, or others that have mentored him. He's a gloating winner and a sore loser (he wouldn't even give the Colts any due respect,after they beat his team last year).

I am probably the only person here in Indy that have given the Pats their due respect. I said at the beginning of the season that the Pats were back and will be the biggest threat to preventing the Colts from repeating. I was laughed at. But as long as I have been watching football, I know what I am talking about.

Look, after watching the NBA turn into a circus much like the WWF, I do not want that happening to the NFL. Neither do other longtime fans that I know. Which is why, I will come down hard on the Colts if it is proven that they did pump noise into the stadium during the game.

Bottom line: It was a good game, it was settled on the field, and the better team won it. The Pats are the team to beat now, but I will never give up on the Colts because it's never over, until it's over. Sure, we may now have to play in Foxboro, but if we have everyone healthy, it will again be a competitive game that either team can win.

Good game sir, your team is a good one.

Rocket said...

Hi Greg

"It's not like anyone is going to ruin it by revealing the score to you before you have a chance to watch."

Greg. I'm my own worst enemy

Problem with that is that I'm going to ruin it for myself as I sift through the news in the morning and what pops up on the corner sidebars.

NFL RESULTS!

That also means I can't go over to LAs blog before I watch the game because a surprise might me waiting for me on one of his posts.

PS - I must admit I was rooting for Baltimore (oh sorry.... Indianapolis) because of what New England did to the Redskins the week before.

Greg - HOW COULD THEY!

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//PS - I must admit I was rooting for Baltimore (oh sorry.... Indianapolis)//

For crying out loud.

1. The Colts have been in Indy for 23 years now.

2. The Baltimore team is called the Ravens.

3. I get a kick out everyone that still goes back to how Indy "stole" the Colts from Baltimore in their smack talking.

4. I especially think it's ironic that fans from Baltimore still harbor a grudge. (That wound should have healed the moment they "stole" the Browns from Cleveland.)

Sheesh!

Rocket said...

LA

1. The Colts have been in Indy for 23 years now.

23 YEARS! Already!

My goodness how time flies when one has been sports challenged for so many years. But now I'll be up to date with my package.

Now... you know I'm a Redskins fan but

I'm already looking forward to next baseball season when I think the Washington Senators should be a challenge to the Bosox. (chuckle)

LASunsett said...

//I'm already looking forward to next baseball season when I think the Washington Senators should be a challenge to the Bosox. (chuckle)//

(Trombone sound) Wa-wa-wa-waaaaaah!!!