The Colts’ improbable 35-34 win over the Patriots was a great game. But all everyone will be talking about Monday was Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s incorrect decision to go for it on fourth down deep in his own territory.
Super Bowl XLIII ½ is over as the New England Patriots (6-3) and Indianapolis Colts (9-0) met for the seventh time this decade in a game that will immediately be called an “Instant Classic.”
The game came down to the last seconds with the two teams combining for 69 points and 884 combined net yards.
But this game will be remembered most for one play that very well may have ended the dynasty of the team that has dominated this decade in the NFL.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with the situation of a 4th-and-2 at his own 28-yard line and the Patriots clinging to a 34-28 lead with 2:08 left on the clock, decided to go for it.
That’s right from very deep in his own side of the field, coach “Arrogant” decided that his defense was not good enough to stop Colts QB Peyton Manning from scoring a touchdown from about 70 to 80 yards away after an “obvious” punt.
But Belichick, being Belichick, looked across the field and figured that Colts rookie head coach Jim Caldwell’s crew didn’t have the “brass” to stop his superstar quarterback Tom Brady from gaining the two yards that would seal the game.
Well Belichick…you now look like the 2009 reincarnation of former Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer after gambling and losing.
On the crucial play, Brady threw to RB Kevin Faulk and the Colts defense stopped him short from converting the first down.
Manning (28-44, 327 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs) then quickly hit WR Reggie Wayne with a 1-yard touchdown strike with 13 seconds on the clock for the game-winning score.
The score ended up 35-34 as the Colts came back from a 17-point deficit for the most improbable of victories. Caldwell came across the field for a hearty congratulations and a warm handshake, but all he got was a quick slap on the hand from Belichick, “The Great.”
Belichick then ran off the field, but he will never be able to outrun making a foolish arrogant decision that showed that the New England Patriots are no longer the same team that has won three Super Bowl Titles this decade.
After the game, former Colts head coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy said, “In that situation…You have to punt the football.” I totally agree, Coach, and I know in hindsight, Belichick does, too.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)Posted in 2009 NFL Season, Belichick Gambles, Bill Belichick, Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning Tagged: Belichick Gambles, Bill Belichick, Football, Indianapolis Colts, Jim Caldwell, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, Sports