Yeah, there’s going to be a few things to discuss in the wake of Indianapolis’ miraculous 35-34 victory over the Patriots Sunday night.
And Mike Florio will break the game down fully, Morning Aftermath style, on Monday.
For now, we’ll write in amazement that the Colts scored two touchdowns in the final two and a half minutes to complete a 17-point fourth quarter comeback victory.
The focus will be on Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-two from the New England 28-yard line with just over two minutes left to set up Peyton Manning’s game-winning drive.
Brady completed a pass to Kevin Faulk, but he bobbled the catch and was marked short of the first down. We’d call the decision stunning, but Belichick has gone for some crazy fourth downs this year on his side of the field, such as against Atlanta. That one worked; this one didn’t.
Belichick’s reasoning, right or wrong, was seemingly that he’d rather put the ball in Tom Brady’s hands with two yards to go for a win than give it to Peyton Manning — wherever the ball was on the field. (And yes, the result will guarantee the call is universally called wrong. Would the same be true if they converted?)
The Colts had two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter before the game-winning score by Reggie Wayne. One drive went 79 yards in two minutes and four seconds. The other drive went 79 yards in one minute and forty nine seconds.
Belichick’s decision shouldn’t distract from Indianapolis’ superlative performance. They forced a fumble by Laurence Maroney on the goal line that kept them alive. Defensive end Robert Mathis was a terror. The Colts were continuously almost down for the count, and found a way to stay alive, and ultimately make the plays to win.
Perhaps Manning wouldn’t have completed a longer drive; maybe he would have.
What he did was complete the three fourth quarter drives necessary to complete a remarkable comeback, and nearly guarantee a bye in the AFC playoffs.