Monday, November 16, 2009
SO BILL BELICHICK IS HUMAN
In NBC's pre-game BS, they described ex-Colts coach Tony Dungee and Bill Belichick as "the straight shooter and the rule bender." It was yet another example of the National Sports Media's deification of Tony "Father of the Year" Dungee and the subtle disdain for Bill "Beelzebub" Belichick.
Belichick didn't bend any rules last night, but he did bend logic. He twisted it, even. I've defended him a great deal. Through the overhyped SpyGate shit. Through the uncanny obsession over postgame handshakes. To going for it on 4th & 13 in the Super Bowl. Trading Richard Seymour, not signing Deion Branch, Adam Vinatieri, et cetera, et cetera. But his decision was indefensible.
It was understandable. There was logic at work. Belichick estimated that his chances of victory were better if he went for it on 4th & 2, as opposed to punting. I disagree with the logic behind that conclusion.
If the Patriots get a 1st down there, they win. There'd be 2 minutes left, Indy would have 1 timeout. So the Colts would stop the clock after the 1st down play at about 1:55. The Pats could then drain 85+ seconds from those 115 remaining, then punt. The Colts would have 30 seconds and no timeouts to go 70 yards upfield.
High reward=high risk. Fail to convert, and the Colts have 2 minutes to go a mere 30 yards. Their entire playbook is open. And if Belichick didn't trust his defense to prevent a 70 yard drive in 2 minutes, what chances did they have of stopping a 30 yard drive?
My problem with the move is that it was crazy, not aggressive. It wasn't confident. The last few years, Belichick's done all sorts of weird shit in attempts to beat Indy. I remember in '05 when he tried an onside kick in the 3rd quarter. It's funny, because when the Patriots owned Peyton and the Colts, they didn't win through crazy, 1980s little league movie trick plays. They won by executing on the field. The players made plays.
And last night, they made plays for 58 minutes until the coach got nervous, even scared, and didn't let them make plays.
Then there were the timeouts. He threw them around like he was Mike Martz or something.
And for those Pats fans who want to crucify Belichick today, here:
And if that isn't enough, this video will melt your heart and make you fall in love with him all over again.
Moving on to the rest of the game...
Laurence Maroney serves no purpose. He's like a Special Olympic kid out there. It's a fucking miracle for him to get up to the line of scrimmage with the football in his hands. That fumble near the end zone was horrific. And the fact that he is so unreliable for a mere 2 yards in short yardage situations severely limits play-calling. 13 carries, 31 yards, 2.4 per carry, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble, longest run was 6 yards. He's at 4.0 YPC this season, which doesn't sound awful, but he's so inconsistent and unreliable. He has monster games like last week against Miami, then shits the bed.
The Patriots have yet to win a game in another team's home stadium. It's week 10. That's worrisome. Especially since it's now a forgone conclusion that any potential road to the Super Bowl will have to go through another team's neighborhood(s).
But unlike everyone else, I'm not going to kick the dog over this loss. I have to say I was pretty mellow right after, and I'm even calmer writing this (except when I think of Maroney). The Colts are 9-0, do they frighten you?
This was a test game, and the Patriots failed because they forgot to fill in the circles completely, not because they were too stupid. The Colts are an elite NFL team, and the Patriots lost by 1 to them on the road, and should have beaten them.
It hurts. Losses like this always hurt. But how much would a win have mattered? Would there have been a duckboat parade? Would I have stayed up all night drinking and calling everyone I know at 4 am? Don't think so.
It would have hurt less had the Colts won by 3 TDs and totally dominated the Pats. But it also would have meant that the Patriots weren't in the top tier of NFL teams. And we found out last night that the Patriots are in fact a top team.
Peyton Manning can have all the regular season honors, accolades, awards, and records he can get his hands on. After all, he is the best pre-December QB in history.
Oh, and the pass interference call on Darius Butler that set-up Indy's touchdown that made it 34-27 was a bullshit call. That gave the Colts 31 yards in 0 seconds. The spot on Kevin Faulk's 4th & 2 catch was also very favorable to Bill Polian's Colts. But it's the Pats' fault for not having any timeouts to challenge with.
This was a setback. A major setback perhaps, but it is week 10 of a 17+ week season, the Pats are in 1st place with a 2 game cushion, and we get to beat up the Jets on Sunday. The fans in Indy won't get to see the best quarterback in the NFL until the playoffs, while we get to see him every Sunday.