Bill Belichick, as is his custom, made media members work hard to get a good nugget in his press conference after Sunday’s game and during Monday’s media session.
In his weekly radio appearance on WEEI, Belichick was a little more revealing. He provided a window into the decision to go for it on fourth-and-two from New England’s 28-yard line late in the game when he mentioned another Patriots-Colts game that took play in Indianapolis.
“It came to, if we had made that play, we would have been able to run out all or most of the clock so we didn’t need very much, we felt good about the play,” Belichick said. “We’ve been on the other side of that one, it’s basically where we were in the AFC Championship game. We’ve done it both ways and we tried to win the game on that play and it didn’t work out.”
Belichick is referring to the classic AFC Championship game following the 2006 season. In that game, the Patriots punted to the Colts with two minutes and 17 seconds left rather than go for a fourth and four from their own 46-yard line. 75 seconds later, Joseph Addai scored the game-winning touchdown. Perhaps that experience influenced Belichick’s decision.
“It’s fourth and two, you make that play, then you can win the game. As opposed to giving them the ball back with time and a timeout, and letting them control the game, so that’s what we elected to do,” Belichick said.
Belichick touched on a few other issues.
His lack of timeouts: “We were a lot more concerned with our execution and making sure we had things as right as we could have them at that time. . . . When you have a lead with two minutes to go, you’re not thinking about, let’s keep all of our timeouts. That wasn’t a big priority.”
On possibly allowing the Colts to score to get the ball back: “I think you make them earn the winning touchdown. We were up there a few years ago and held them on the one-yard line at the end of the game.”
On if he would have challenged the spot on Faulk’s catch: “Of course, you’d have nothing to lose at that point.”
What has been lost somewhat in Belichick’s decision is the execution of the entire Colts team throughout the fourth quarter. They completed two 79-yard touchdown drives in less than four minutes combined. Reggie Wayne made incredible catches all game long, including a fabulous game winner.
I wrote this elsewhere today, but the Patriots had a number of chances to essentially end the game. The Colts made the plays to win.