After an emotional, crazy win a week ago against Kansas City, the Colts were now facing a familiar foe in a hostile environment. The New England Patriots entered the game as the #2 seed in the AFC.
Playing against them in Foxboro is always tough and in order to succeed, the Colts needed to, among other things, stop the run and win the turnover battle. They didn’t do either of them. They were far from it.
Join us for our final report card of the 2013 where we grade the performance of the Colts’ offense, defense and special teams while choosing our best players of the game of this season-ending loss.
On the third play of the game, Andrew Luck telegraphed a pass to LaVon Brazill that was intercepted by Alfonzo Dennard.
Down by 14 and after a three-and-out, the offense finally woke up. Luck hit Brazill on a gorgeous 38-yard TD pass to make it 7-14.
Facing a 14-point deficit again, the Colts’ offense put up a decent drive (11 plays for 62 yards) but had to settle with a FG. 10-21
After a safety, the offense got to New England’s 39, but Luck was intercepted again trying to pass to Havili. 12-21
The Colts’ first drive of the second half produced one of the greatest catches of the season. T.Y. Hilton beat Talib and dived to make an insane 46-yard catch. The Colts got to the three-yard line but settled for a FG. 15-21
With the score 15-29, Luck threw a gorgeous pass to Hilton for a 46-yard gain. On the next play, Luck threw another beautiful ball to Brazill in the end zone to make it 22-29.
Unfortunately, that was the closest they’d be to tying this game. They had two more series to try and tie it though. The result was more than disappointing. The first one ended in a three-and-out. The second also ended in a punt after Joe Vellano tripped Luck in the previous play. Obviously, the refs didn’t call it.
The Colts’ next three drives ended in: INT, punt, INT. Both interceptions were poor throws/choices. Down by three TDs and with ten minutes left, Pagano decided to punt on fourth-and-one. Next time they had the ball again, there were less than three minutes left.
Luck wasn’t brilliant tonight. Even after his first two interceptions, he played pretty well and managed to put the Colts within seven. He collapsed, as well as the rest of the team, after Blount’s big run. He can’t do it all.
Brown finished with just 63 yards on 17 carries. Richardson finished with three carries for just one yard. Worst part is, that surprises no one.
Hilton was contained to just four catches but still got 103 yards. Brazill was actually impressive. Two catches for 73 yards and two scores. Whalen also made some good plays on third down, including a 22-yard gain. Why was Havili involved in the passing game?
Settling for FGs didn’t help especially after wasting second and third-and-goal opportunities inside the three.
The refs didn’t help either. Still can’t believe how they missed that trip by Vellano and the late hit on Luck. You know what play followed that no-call? Blount’s 73-yard run.
As unlikely as a win was at that point, punting on fourth-and-ONE down by three scores and with ten minutes left, is inexcusable for any head coach.
Offensive player of the game: LaVon Brazill
He finished with just two catches for 73 yards and two TDs. Maybe should’ve tried to go with him a few more times instead of involving Havili in the passing game.
The Colts’ defense couldn’t do much on New England’s first drive. The Patriots started at the Colts’ two-yard line and Blount got the TD on their first offensive play of the game. 0-7
Although it wasn’t as easy, New England’s second series also ended in a TD by Blount. 0-14
After forcing a three-and-out, the defense allowed a 14-play drive that lasted more than six minutes. Edelman, covered by Vontae Davis, caught a pass for 27 yards and also got a key first down on third-and-ten. Blount finished the drive with his third TD. 21-7
While the Colts’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the third quarter, New England’s next series started with a 53-yard bomb to Amendola. On third-and-five, the refs called a ridiculous PI penalty against Gordy. Ridley scored the TD and converted the two-point conversion. 15-29
Down 29-22, the defense needed to make another stop to keep it a one-possession game. Instead, Blount scored his fourth TD on a 73-yard run. 22-35
After an interception, the Patriots started inside the Colts 20-yard line. Bethea missed an interception in the end zone and New England scored their final TD of the game a couple of plays later. 22-43.
Mathis finally appeared in the game with his classic strip-sack. Colts couldn’t recover. Nice play but it was already too late.
Overall, it was a miserable game by the defense. They weren’t ready for this game. We all knew the Colts had to stop the run. They allowed 235 yards on the ground and six TDs. That’s just painful. They were supposed to be ready to play against the run too.
A lot of people like Landry. Not sure if they’ll like him after watching this game. He’s slow, takes forever to get to his spot, can’t cover and isn’t even a great tackler.
Mathis was well controlled by New England. You take him out of the game and you pretty much have figured out how to easily beat this defense. No one else was close to pressuring Brady.
Bend but don’t break? It looked like it was break, break, break and break again against New England.
Good thing Brady didn’t have to throw more. Edelman abused Vontae Davis more than once.
Defensive player of the game: Robert Mathis
It’s really hard to pick a player here. Mathis contributed with his signature strip-sack when it was too late. Still, he almost sacked Brady a couple of times in the third quarter. He was the only one putting a bit of pressure on Brady but, just as Luck, he can’t do it all.
Down 14-7, the STs were very close to blocking a punt. Brazill and Brown were just a couple feet away from getting the big play.
Right before the two-minute warning, New England wanted to punt but on a bad snap that went way above the punter, the ball got all the way back to New England’s two-yard line. The punter recovered and fumbled. The fumble was declared dead in the end zone for a safety.
Edelman was able to return a punt for 15 yards and averaged seven yards per return.
Whalen and Brazill had just three punt returns combined. Not one of those was even decent.
Vinatieri was perfect, with 2/2.
Criticism of Landry is certainly fair (the angle he took on Blount's long TD was inexcusable, especially when playing as the single-high safety), but I think saying he's slow is about the one thing that is indisputably not true.
I rewatched the opening drive interception. Brazill got readily handled on that play. Dennard held him and then moved him to be in position to make the pick. A ref was staring the play down the whole way. No call.
I rewatched the PI on Gordon on a pass to Edelman when the score was 15 to 21. Just after Gordon looks back for the ball, Edelman sees the pass is short and grabs Gordon pulling him down causing both of them to fall. Gordon might have been in position to pick the pass off. That should have been a call against Edelman.
What really got me about the refs this game is the timing of the bad calls. we were down by 7 when the refs decided not to call a blatant hold, followed by the awful PI call that was thrown 15 feet short. Then when down 7 the miss the obvious trip call and that essentially sealed the game. Mike Pereira said the Colts Pats game was the one poorly ref'd game, and all the calls went against the Colts.
IIRC Rogers was targeted 4-5 times and had at least 3 drops. Maybe they were contested but we've seen him mike those catches before. A bit disappointing. The D had a nice run in the 2nd/3rd quarters I believe, holding the Pats to 4 3-and-outs in five possessions. That's when the O has to capitalize on it and build momentum and go for the jugular. Didn't quite wok, and after holding the Pats barely in check for that time, the am burst in the 4th Q. Ah, well, it just wasn't there. I still wonder why some of those other teams didn't run on us more, regardless of score. Good move, BB. I'm pretty hopeful for next year. On top of it all, Dierdorf was not horrible. Sure they missed Mathis's strip sack with the "Dan's Retiring" tear-jerker-attempt, but for the first 55 minutes of gametime he was at least average and his most annoying problem was harping over and over on the Pats run count. Dude, we heard it the first time, find something else to provide "insight" about.
I was hoping you were right on the Dennard Int. I watched it several times and Dennard made a great physical legal play. AL stared down the receiver and Dennard made him pay.
It was obvious Pete Moronrelli got the message from the NFL to screw the Colts so the Pats could play the Broncos. The timing of these calls were awfully suspicious. The Pats get a questionable call then the Colts don't get 2 or 3 obvious calls. It's time to allow challenges for any reason. If it's not indisputable them don't overturn it.
@rogcohen That's what got me too. Those no calls were IMO, backbreakers. You had 2 straight drives end on terrible no calls, the Whalen PI and the trip. Down a touchdown at the time, and if the PI is called the ball is at midfield. As much as the refs made awful calls this year against the Colts, I knew it would happen if it were close late. Not saying the Colts win if those are called, but the complexion of the game is entirely different
Neither Brazill nor Rodgers appeared to have seen any game film of Patriots DBs (hey: maybe watch the 2004 AFCCG, perhaps?), or otherwise to be prepared in any way for their physicality. Against the Pats, you'd better be ready to fight for every target. They weren't ready. Brazill caught the two passes because he managed to beat the deep coverage.