Like most of you I looked forward to the Patriots @ Colts on Football Night in America. Granted I dislike both teams, the Patriots for their smugness, arrogance and above the law status and the Colts for obvious reasons.
For me, it’s hard to really get into a game unless there’s an edge. Fortunately I don’t lean on gambling for that edge so I create one by determining how the game’s outcome could benefit the Ravens. I concluded that the best outcome was a Colts win.
I know, I know, I can hear the cries of blasphemer now but let’s set emotion up on the shelf and look at this objectively.
The Ravens are never going to catch the Colts and they probably won’t catch the Patriots in terms of having a better overall record and the associated benefits that might go along with that.
You never know how the playoff dance card will shake out so it’s best to root against the teams closer in the standing to the Ravens and let those division leaders run away and hide, right?
Now I can’t envision a scenario in which the Ravens knock the Colts from the ranks of the unbeaten. That said, I’d rather play them after they score an emotional win that they might savor a bit too long on a short week. I’d rather they live high on the hog than arrive in Baltimore loaded with fire and brimstone and holding only a 1 game edge over the Patriots and the Bengals for conference supremacy and home field advantage throughout January.
This Colts win helps the Ravens from that perspective in my opinion, so thank you very much Mr. Belichick.
In case you fell asleep last night and missed the dramatic ending, the Patriots faced a fourth and 2 from their own 28 holding a 34-28 lead with 2:08 to play. The Patriots called timeout, their last after unnecessarily burning one before the first snap of that series of downs.
Now with no timeouts left and the Colts with only 1, Belichick huddles with his GQ QB and then decided to go for the first down.
The Colts took over on downs and proceeded to run through the Patriots’ defense like a hot knife through butter while working every second possible off the clock leaving next to no time for a Brady miracle.
Either Belichick’s arrogance got the best of him or he had little confidence that his defense could contain Peyton Manning for 70 yards and less than 2 minutes to go. You have to wonder what the Patriots’ defense thinks about Hoodie’s lack of confidence. Former Patriot Rodney Harrison was spot on in his post game assessment.
“It was a really bad coaching decision by Coach Belichick,” said Harrison. “I’ve got all the respect in the world for him, but he has to punt the ball and the message that you sent in the locker room is, ‘I have no confidence in my young guys on my defense.’”
Here’s a sampling of a few other responses to Belichick’s gaffe:
“It was an opportunity to win the game and that’s all you can really ask for as an offense. It was Coach being aggressive and I love that about him. If we gain seven more inches, it’s a great call.” ~ Smug, Jr. Tom Brady.
"I like the swagger of a head coach who believes in his personnel. I’ll take that swagger of a coach any day." ~ Deion Sanders (who apparently doesn’t recognize the fine line between swagger and stupidity)
"This decision was ludicrous." ~ ESPN’s Trent Dilfer
"This was as bad as anything the Red Sox ever did. Had it been a playoff game, it would be right up there with Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, Aaron Boone, and History Derailed in Glendale, Ariz. And Bill Belichick played the part of Grady Little.” ~ Patriots’ hugger Peter King.
“Everyone was surprised. Fourth down in their territory, you know, they got a lot of confidence in their offense. But we got a lot of confidence in our defense. We took that as a slap in the face. It was a slap in the face, and Melvin stepped up and made a good play.’’ ~ Colts safety Antoine Bethea
“If you play defense, you’re going to take offense to that.’’ ~ Colts defensive end Robert Mathis
At the end of the day, Belichick’s boneheaded decision helps the purple and black and consequently, it was a good Football Night in America here in The Land of Pleasant Living.