The Colts didn’t win so much as we stopped playing.
Let’s face it – the New England Patriots team of 2006 is not comprised of the most solid players given our injured list. I’m not talking celebrities – the Pats have never been a team of big names – but losing some of our key components who kept the game physical, as well as losing reliable receivers put our team in an awkward and precarious situation to begin with. Peyton Manning isn’t “the man”. He didn’t make any spectacular plays or decisions on the field in the second half. We didn't pressure him. I’m not taking anything from him - he’s a great quarterback. But the Peyton Manning you saw in the first half - is how Peyton Manning performs when under pressure. He's spectacular if you give him all the time in the world. They won to a team that has a sensational quarterback, who doesn't crumble under pressure - but with only a mediocre receiving core.
Something happened during the first half that caused Belicheck and Co., to stop playing aggressively and applying pressure on Manning – and they went with a soft defense that was painfully ineffective – and noticeably so – after the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter. Why they stuck to that style throughout the game is beyond me. I don’t think complacency is the answer, either. Sure, we were battered and injured and sick – but I think we showed up to play. Or so it seemed during the first half. Which is why I think either there was an additional injury or something that caused them to hold back after the first half. And they’re not going to appear to be sore losers by blaming it on something as such – but truthfully, I haven’t read the papers or watched any television since to avoid seeing the “Manning Mania” which nauseates me on a regular day – let alone for the next two or three weeks or so. So I don't know what their comments are at the moment.
Let this be a lesson to the Krafts. Though I generally love their decisions, the next time their “go to guy” takes less money on his contract in an effort to allow for more money to be spent on keeping a solid and reliable receiving core – spend it on that, and not on other things. A quarterback can only do so much without having a solid defense – as well as reliable hands to catch the passes.
Okay. So now that football is behind us....it’s time to start thinking about baseball!
Catchers report to training camp: February 17th!