NFL Week Nine Runaround: Patriot Day

Kevan LeeSenior Analyst INovember 4, 2007


NFL-Pats-Colts-017.jpg&c=1&w=525&cs=1" style="margin: 0px 8px 8px 0pt; float: left;">There was a point in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game, somewhere between Gary Brackett’s interception and Peyton Manning’s quarterback sneak touchdown, where all hope seemed lost for the Patriots.

And I forgot to breathe for a good two minutes.

The way the game was going—Joseph Addai running amok, Indy defenders flying to the ball, CBS graphics constantly reminding us the Patriots were trailing—was not at all how I envisioned it.

In the ulcer-inducing week of hype leading up to the game, I saw things unfolding much more smoothly:

The Patriots would take a comfortable 14-point lead after the first quarter, spend the rest of the first half piling up points, and watch Peyton Manning implode trying to play catchup after halftime.

I was sure this would work, because this is the way it worked the seven times I simulated the match up in Madden during the week (oh, and some guy named Kevan Lee would have 35 carries for 380 yards and seven touchdowns).

Instead, the Colts really took it to the Pats.

For three-and-a-half quarters, Indianapolis controlled the pace. They ran effectively, keeping Tom Brady off the field. Their defensive line got pressure, forcing Brady to throw short. The Colts’ game plan seemed to be working perfectly, and thanks to Joseph Addai’s miracle first-half touchdown catch, Indy had New England in a hole for much of the second half.

IconSpeaking of Addai’s touchdown—it very nearly killed me. The Patriots had let the Colts move the ball up and down the field at will, but still New England was in the lead. To my horror, Addai’s touchdown changed everything—including my nascent heart murmur.

As Addai streaked up the sideline, a little piece of me died inside—the piece that used to belong to Ellis Hobbs.

The Patriots were playing catchup from that point on.

And they sure took their time.

After Manning’s touchdown plunge/plow, I seriously considered resigning myself to a loss. Then beautiful Tom Brady took over.

Brady didn't look to be worried one bit. Even though I was about ready to have a heart attack.

Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were beating New England tackles like they were turnstiles. Brady had already thrown as many picks in one game as he had in the eight before it.

It’s not like he had any reason to be confident, I figured.

I was wrong; he had every reason to be confident.

Brady's deep ball to Randy Moss reeked of confidence in Moss' ability to come down with it. His sideline pass to Donte Stallworth on the next drive was equally confident, and his dump off to Kevin Faulk was—well, okay, that one was a check-down to a back.

The point is that this Patriots team is unlike any Patriots team I've ever watched.

The ease with which they made up a 10-point deficit, in Indianapolis, against the defending Super Bowl champs, when they had shown nothing all day, was remarkable.

Everything happened so fast, I hardly had time to whisper desperate prayers in between snaps.

With a bye next week, the Pats will get some much-deserved rest, and they should be set for a strong finish to the season. As for me—I’ll probably be getting an IV and a couple-ten Powerades to replenish the fluids I lost into my undershirt.

And I may look into Lamaze class just in case the Pats and Colts meet again in the playoffs.


IconTeam of the Week: Buffalo Bills

The Bills were supposed to be terrible. And although they stand at 4-4 after a win over the Bengals, there’s still the possibility that they are terrible...and just playing completely beyond their ability.

Dick Jauron has his team playing smart and gritty, and it has translated into four wins in five games. If Dallas hadn’t pulled off a miracle comeback a few weeks ago, Buffalo would be on a five-game winning streak.

Look out, Patriots.

Just kidding—but at least the AFC East won’t be wrapped up by Thanksgiving.

Bad team of the week: Denver Broncos

Watching Denver play was the worst thing that happened to me today, which is saying a lot, since I woke up an hour early after forgetting about the daylight savings switch.

The Broncos were manhandled by the Lions, which is only supposed to happen in Matt Millen’s electric football games and in alternate dimensions where up is down and down is up.

Losing Jay Cutler in the first half didn’t help. Seeing Patrick Ramsey come in didn’t make things better. But the worst part about the Broncos' performance was that it stunk all around.

Correction, the worst part was that I had to watch it.

Kevan Lee’s Beverage of the Week: Milk

I don’t normally drink milk unless it's free or I'm a billion years old. I get the nutrients I need through fruit snacks and Power Bars.

But if you absolutely HAD to have something to drink, or if you actually are a billion years old, milk isn't a terrible choice. It prevents osteoporosis, for one thing, and makes spicy Mexican food easier to stomach.

But other than that, you really shouldn’t be drinking anything besides 7-Up.

Nap of the Week: San Diego Defense

I didn’t actually take a nap this week, so this award goes to the Chargers defense for falling asleep on the Vikings running game.

I’m sure a lot of Adrian Peterson’s 296 yards had to do with his being Adrian Peterson, but there were a number of plays where he went untouched or untackled.

I at least kick in my sleep. San Diego couldn’t even do that much.

Most Misleading Stat: Tennessee 6-2

The Titans are doing the little things that it takes to win in the NFL, which is great.  However, their 6-2 record belies just how much Vince Young is struggling.

The Titans may be in the thick of the AFC playoff race, but they're bound for a sad ending unless the offense picks up the pace.

Painfully True Stat: Shaun Alexander, 14 carries, 32 yards

Injured or not, Alexander hasn't been himself all year. Maurice Morris’ time is coming, if it isn’t here already.

Premature MVP Ballot

1. Tom Brady: He doubled his interception total for the year and still was the Player of the Game.

2. Joseph Addai: The most important person on the second-best team in the league.

3. Drew Brees: Drew Brees is to the Saints what Drew Brees’ face mole is to Drew Brees—inseparable.

Weekly Super Bowl Prediction: Patriots vs. Saints

Maybe starting 0-4 was part of the plan all along.

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