Monday, November 3, 2008

Patriots 15, Colts 18 (11/2/2008)

A very good game, but sort of depressing that the Patriots couldn't pull it out at the end. Colts won 18-15, but the 5-3 Patriots remain tied for first place in the AFC East. And for the moment, they are tied for the third-best record in the AFC. They begin their three-game romp through the division next week with a home tilt against Buffalo.

I don't have time for a full review of the game, but here it is in a nutshell.

The Patriots did everything they needed to do to win except one thing. They controlled the clock (34:24 to 25:36), had more first downs (22 to 18), ran the ball better (140 to 47), and were better in the kick return department. Their turnovers were desperation plays that came too late to really kill them, and even though they didn't get to Manning, they slowed the Colts offense all game long.

Sure, they could have won with better management of their timeouts. They could have won if Jabar Gaffney caught a sure touchdown pass (they settled for a field goal). They could have won if David Thomas didn't get a 15-yard penalty with about 4:00 left in the game. And they could have won it with better play calling at some crucial points. But none of those things cost them the game.

The Patriots lost because they scored one touchdown in four trips inside the Indy red zone, and Indy scored two touchdowns in two trips inside the New England red zone. Simple as that. If the Pats scored just one more touchdown, they probably would have won. But they had two 13-play drives and two 15-play drives, and only 15 points to show for it. They have to improve their red zone touchdown percentage to have make any noise in the playoffs this year (or perhaps just to make the playoffs).

When you hold the Colts to 18 points, you have to be able to win the game. The Patriots young secondary players did a great job of the old bend-but-don't-break, and it's a shame to waste that performance. As Belichick would say, "We've got to do a better job coaching, game planning, executing, adjusting, and a much better job in the red zone on both ends of the field."

Sorry for the abbreviated summary, but I've got too many things going on. I promise not to make next week's update twice as long to make up for it ;)

Weekly Water-cooler Wisdom: "Hey, the penalty hurt, but how can you complain when they had only two penalties all game long? If they could just score in the frickin' red zone, they'd be fine."

Keep the faith,

- Scott

PS. 5-3!


  1. Keeping the faith, indeed. Even in Georgia. This was one of only a few games this season that aired here. It would have been great to see a win, but it was nice to be able to see it at all.

    Hope you're doing well!

  2. Hope those Atlanta Falcons fans don't give you too much hassle!

    Maybe the teams will meet in the Super Bowl this year :)