Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]     In this most excruciating of losses, we saw a replay of the 2006 AFC title game, won by the Colts, 38-34. As in that ulcer causer, the Pats had a big lead going into the 4th quarter, and blew it. But, this game may be even worse. Its' a game in which BB showed absolutely no confidence in his defense by inexplicably going for a 4th and 2 from his own 28 yard line, with just over two minutes to play.        As you may recall, in my analysis leading up to this game, I listed seven elements/match-ups which I thought would be crucial. They were as follows:        a.) Indy TE Dallas Clark vs. Patriots' Safeties Brandon Meriweather and Brandon McGowan: For all the notoriety of the Indy WRs, TE Dallas Clark leads his team in reception with 60. He is Peyton Manning's security blanket. It won't help that Brandon Meriweather will play with some sort of foot injury. If Clark has anything close to a 100 yard game, the Pats are in deep trouble: ADVANTAGE: Colts      RESPONSE:  The Patriots' safeties did a decent job in containing Clark, holding him to 5 catches for 65 yards.         b.) Indy DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis vs. Patriots' OTs Sabastien Volmer and Nick Kaczur: If Freeney and Mathis are contained, Tom Brady will have plenty of time to dink and dunk the Colts to death. If not, it will lead to sacks, interceptions, and a loss: ADVANTAGE: Colts       RESPONSE: LT Sebastien Vollmer was outstanding in neutralizing Dwight Freeney...who didn't even make the stat sheet. On the other hand, Robert Mathis tore around and through RT Nick Kaczur. Mathis finished with 8 tackles (6 solos), 2 sacks, and a forced fumble.           c.) Zebra Factor: The Patriots can expect the obligatory bogus PI call(s), which always seem to befall them against the Colts. But, they should be able to survive those, provided that they can refrain from holding Freeney, and eliminate those annoying false start penalties.  ADVANTAGE: Colts      RESPONSE: So sorry to say that I pegged this one right on the nose. The key play in the Indy comeback was a questionable 31 yard PI penalty against Darius Butler, who was covering Colts WR Austin Collie. It appeared that Collie jumped into Butler, who was going for the ball.        d.) Two Minute Drill: Though the Patriots' "D" has played better than expected, it still has loads of problems stopping offenses in the last two minutes of each half. Peyton Manning is one of the best at it: ADVANTAGE: Colts      RESPONSE: The failure of the Pats' defense to stop a comeback in the waning 2-4 minutes cost the Pats yet another big game. BB had so little confidence in his defense to stop Peyton Manning in the 2 minute drill that he radically opted to go for a 4th a 2 from his own 28 yard line.          e.) Laurence Maroney vs. Joseph Addai: That title is really shorthand for the Pats OL & DL v. Indy's DL & OL. Colts SS, Bob Sanders, is out for the season. Indy is thin at DT. So, the Pats should be able to run the ball. That said, Joseph Addai has killed the Pats throughout his career. Addai is particularly adepth at running delays, and catching passes out of the backfield: ADVANTAGE: Even      RESPONSE: Though many will blame Maroney for this loss, the blame is misplaced. The Patriots are what they are...a finesse passing team, like the Colts. Though his fumble at the one yard line was unforgivable, it had little to do with the eventual outcome.      f.) Redzone Proficiency: This has been a weakness for the Pats for most of the season. The absence of Sanders should make it easier for the Pats to score TDs instead of FGs: ADVANTAGE: Colts      RESPONSE: Tom Brady made a horrible decision in trying to force a pass to a double-teamed Moss...and the aforementioned Maroney fumble. The Pats should have been more aggressive on their final scoring drive to score a TD...instead of settling for a FG.        g.) Coaching:  Coach Caldwell has done a marvelous job thus far. But, this is his first "big" game against a team with equivalent talent to his own. BB is the best in the business: ADVANTAGE: Patriots.      RESPONSE: In light of the "D"'s habitual bad performance in the 2 minute drill, I can understand why BB decided to go for a 4th and 2 from his own 28. But, it you're going to go for it, its' imperative that the pass attempt be thrown to a player who is past the first down marker. The Pats also seemed to go into a prevent defense mode too early, once they forged ahead, 31-14.      Here are my grades:       A.) OFFENSE : Anytime an offense holds the ball for 35 minutes, runs 72 plays, gains 477 total yards, and scores 34 points, it should be enough to win. But...   1.) QB: Two poor decisions and losing marred what was Tom Brady's best performance of the season. The first was the above mentioned interception, in which Brady tried to force a pass into a double-teamed, blanket covered Moss in the endzone, and that horrific choice of a play on the 4th and 2 from their own 28 (although, in fairness to Tom, that play likely was called by the coaches). No way that a pass should have been thrown to a receiver who was short of the first down marker.       That said, its' hard to criticize Tom's 29/42 for 364 yards, and 3 TDs effort. Two of his completions were beautifully thrown balls to Moss (one setting up the first Patriots' TD, the other a rainbow 63 yarder to give the Pats a 24-7 lead). But, for Tom's part in that horrid fourth down play call, his grade somewhat suffers: GRADE: A-; 2.) RBs: The Maroney bashers will be out in full force after Laurence committed the second fumble of his career. But, this was in a huge game, and at the one yard line. Still, as noted above, it had little impact regarding the eventual outcome.       Kevin Faulk has his best game of the season, finishing with 12 rushes for 79 yards. But, on his last carry, Kevin seemed to slip while trying to cut back...and lost a yard. This turned out to be a huge play, as it led to the Pats having to settle for a FG, and a 34-21 lead...when a TD would have iced the game: GRADE: C; 3.) OL: To quote Al Michaels, the Pats appear to have a star on their hands in rookie LT, Sabastien Vollmer. Sea-Bass was outstanding in completely neutralizing Indy All-Pro DE, Dwight Freeney. With the exception of RT Nick Kaczur, the OL did a great job of protecting Tom Brady. Kaczur, however, was the own personal turnstile for most of the night of Colts' DE, Robert Mathis. As for run blocking, that simply isn't this groups' forte.  GRADE: B; 4.) WRs & TEs: Both Ben Watson and Chris Baker contributed somewhat to the passing attack. But, they were kept in most of the night to help out against Indy's menacing DEs. Randy Moss and Wes Welker were incredible, as Moss finished with 9 receptions for 177 yards, and two TDs...while Wes Welker also had 9 receptions, for 94 yards. Julian Edleman chipped in with a TD reception as well: GRADE: A;      B.) DEFENSE: After playing well for three quarters, allowed the Colts to score 21 points in the final 12 minutes of play. Unless this unit learns to stop an opposing teams' hurry-up, 2-4 minute offense, the Patriots have no chance of playing in another SB. 1.) DL: Did a reasonable job in pressuring Peyton Manning, and stopped the run. Tied up the Indy OL, allowing the LBs to make plays: GRADE: B-; 2.) LBs: Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton accounted for 14 tackles, including 10 solos. The OLBs, on the other hand, failed to contribute much in pass pressure, or coverage: GRADE: C; 3.) SECONDARY: Played extremely well for 48 minutes. But, unfortunately, NFL games are still 60 minutes long. Darius Butler had seven solo tackles, but got a tough break on the obligatory ticky-tac at best PI call that always seems to befall the Pats in Indy. It was a 31 yard killer of a penalty, and keyed the Indy comeback. Leigh Bodden had a rough night...and the Pats seemed to drop too far off the Indy receivers after amassing a 31-14 lead. You know what they say about playing a "prevent defense"...and the old addage proved true once again: GRADE: C-;       C.) SPECIAL TEAMS: The kick coverage was fine...and both Stephen Gostkowski and punter Chris Hansen had good games indoors. Punt returner Wes Welker stole the show, and nearly the game, with his electrifying 69 yard punt return. GRADE: A;      D.) COACHING: Great job, up and until the games' final 12 minutes. At that time, panic seemed to set in. Instead of grinding the Colts into dust, the Pats nursed a 34-21 lead...and seemed to go into a prevent defense. The decision to go for it on 4th and 2 from their own 28 yard line, with just over 2 minutes left to play, was a clear indication of just how little confidence BB has in his young secondary. But, if your going to gamble like that ...run a play thats' going to net you a first down!!!! Why throw a one yard pass, when two yards were needed !!! To me, the play call was much worse than the decision to go for it. This was a game that was there for the taking. It was a game where the Patriots, for 48 of 60 minutes, completely outplayed the Colts, and should have won. BB has lots of "splaining" to do for this one: GRADE: F      E.) PLAY OF THE GAME: Has to be Indy stopping the Pats on that 4th and 2;      F.) GAME BALL: Peyton Manning. His presence alone caused BB to go for a 4th and 2 deep in his own territory, rather than give Peyton the ball back, and allow him to run his 2 minute drill.       Here are the stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=291115011      Thoughts?                                        
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]

    Great overview. Looking froward to the rest of the season. I still feel BB should NOT have gone for it, but that is easy from where I sit today. I believe we would have had a better chance to stop Manning. The risk was just to high...
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD : Great overview. Looking froward to the rest of the season. I still feel BB should NOT have gone for it, but that is easy from where I sit today. I believe we would have had a better chance to stop Manning. The risk was just to high...
    Posted by gmbill[/QUOTE]

         Bill...heres' a great article on BB going for it: http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2969_Belichick%27s_mojo_kicked_in_the_nuts.html

         Heres' an article from Bob Kravitz of the IndyStar criticizing BB for his decision: http://www.indystar.com/article/20091116/SPORTS15/911160369/1058/SPORTS03/Kravitz-After-this-game-Bill-Belichick-must-love-(our)-company 
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    While I agree with the 2-4 minute drives as witnessed a number of times this season, and against offenses that are inferior to Indy.  However, what baffles me about the 4th and 2 play is that the referee with a CLEAR look at the play did not make a call either way, but the ref BEHIND the play made the call that Faulk was juggling the ball.  He could only see his arms, HE COULD NOT SEE THE BALL.  There has to be at least a discussion there.  While I don't agree with the decision to go for it on 4th down, that was a first down.
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD : First off - you got me. I didn't pick up on the sarcasm at first.  Classic. But seriously, I think you being too hard on the defense. 1. They had Manning on the ropes. I said in another post.  Manning was shaking his head, had that look of frustration on his face.  Things we had not seen for a few years. 2. Two INT's I would have rather punted and let Manning beat us for 70 yards under 2 minutes than let the offense win it. How many times has Manning beat the Pats on the final drive?  I'll count once in 2006 and that wasn't even the final drive.  We saw all the characteristics of a choking Manning and all they had to do was punt and make him beat them.  Instead they gave him a short field with 2m left?  Even Mark Sanchez could have scored a GW TD with that short yardage.
    Posted by IraqSteve[/QUOTE]if it seemed sarcastic,my bad,but i was still fumeing over the loss.i agree manning was frustrated in the first half.our defense kept clark out of the game,but in the second half the colts kept plugging away on there adjustments to our defense,and clark,and everyone else were getting open.a 31-14 lead in the 4th quarter,and watching the defense haveing a meltdown wasnt good at all.this is why we got younger,so we wouldnt get winded.sure there were missed plays on offense,and a bad pass interference call on our secondary,but we still had a 31-14 lead.maybe the pats didnt do enough adjustments in the second half to adjust to the colts adjustments.i dont know,but the pats played a great three quarters,and forgot the 4th qtr.
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

         Thoughts?                                        
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]

    A few years ago before a big game you and I actually had a couple of respectful exchanges, so I'll take a chance here.

    I think that BB's decision had much more to do with his hatred of the Colts than it did helping his team.  I think his ego got the best of him.  I think that he wanted to step on our throats and humiliate us, and i think that if it were any other team--except a Mangini coached team--that he kicks it.

    Thoughts?
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD : if it seemed sarcastic,my bad,but i was still fumeing over the loss.i agree manning was frustrated in the first half.our defense kept clark out of the game,but in the second half the colts kept plugging away on there adjustments to our defense,and clark,and everyone else were getting open.a 31-14 lead in the 4th quarter,and watching the defense haveing a meltdown wasnt good at all.this is why we got younger,so we wouldnt get winded.sure there were missed plays on offense,and a bad pass interference call on our secondary,but we still had a 31-14 lead.maybe the pats didnt do enough adjustments in the second half to adjust to the colts adjustments.i dont know,but the pats played a great three quarters,and forgot the 4th qtr.
    Posted by mosseffect43[/QUOTE]

    The sarcasm made me laugh dude - all good.

    You make valid points on the defense blowing a 31-14 lead.  Bodden getting burned on the dbl move to make it 31-21 was junk - defense blew it - no question there. 
    But the PI all was BS... but ok - it happened.

    Now if they had punted and stopped that final drive Pats would have won 34-28 like most predicted (I had a final of 31-28).  And some of us would not be blaming the defense - but they never got that shot?

    So now they are showing stats like Pats are 12-16 on 4th downs against the Colts... eh - whatever.
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD :
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]
    Did you even watch the fourth quarter? Manning had ripped through the "defense" twice already - they were clearly gassed from chasing the no-huddle Colts all over the field.

    The D is not getting a pass here. They were non-existant in the fourth quarter, meaning there's no way BB could consider placing the game in the hands of the D at that point. That should have been apparent to anyone watching the game.
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

     To TPat3: excellent work as usual. I was so devastated by that loss that I couldn't visit this site for 48 hours. There are a few items that rankle so I'll unload.
     1. Kaczur has been dreadful for a couple of years now.
     2. The kid from Stanford would be a nice replacement for Maroney.
     3. We need a new punter (maybe someone who also can run a fake kick for 2 yards!)
     4. I'd like a real kickoff return specialist as well.
     5. After Wilhite's interception instead of going for the jugular we ran the ball and seemed content to settle for a field goal. That made me livid! Best wishes!
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Colts REPORT CARD : First off - you got me. I didn't pick up on the sarcasm at first.  Classic. But seriously, I think you being too hard on the defense. 1. They had Manning on the ropes. I said in another post.  Manning was shaking his head, had that look of frustration on his face.  Things we had not seen for a few years. 2. Two INT's I would have rather punted and let Manning beat us for 70 yards under 2 minutes than let the offense win it. How many times has Manning beat the Pats on the final drive?  I'll count once in 2006 and that wasn't even the final drive.  We saw all the characteristics of a choking Manning and all they had to do was punt and make him beat them.  Instead they gave him a short field with 2m left?  Even Mark Sanchez could have scored a GW TD with that short yardage.
    Posted by IraqSteve[/QUOTE]

    steve - those 2 ints had nothing to do with the pats.  you have to know this.  one ball slipped out of manning's hands and was not even close to his receiver.  The other int was a miscommunication between manning and wayne.  Wayne cut in and manning threw the ball out. 

     

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