What they said, and what they meant.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, after going for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 against Indianapolis.
What he said: “We tried to win the game on that play. Tried to pick it up right there.” What he meant “because our defense had no chance of stopping Peyton Manning from going 75 yards in two minutes if we punted.”
The Patriot defense forced a punt an had an interception in the third quarter, and did pick off Manning with just over seven minutes to go. But after Joseph Addai scored with 2:23 left, Belichick got the jitters.
No gain by Kevin Faulk on first down. An eight yard pass to Wes Welker on second, and an incomplete pass to Welker on third. On fourth down, Faulk juggled Tom Brady’s pass as he went to the turf, and New England lost the ball on downs. Because of Mike Martz-esque use of time outs, New England couldn’t challenge. The rest just added to Manning’s legendary status, as he completed a comeback from a 31-14 deficit with less than 13 minutes left.
Belichick’s lack of faith in his defense is well founded. Of the defensive starters in Super Bowl XLIII, the only ones that remained last night were nose tackle Vince Wilfork and safety Brandon Meriweather. Still on the team but not starting against the Colts were defensive end Ty Warren, linebacker Adalius Thomas and safety James Sanders. No longer Patriots are Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Teddy Bruschi, Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs and Rodney Harrison.
The point is, the great Patriots team got old and is gone. This is a real good Patriot team, but not good enough to stop Manning…who has convinced me that there was nobody better. Ever.
Who would I take to win a Super Bowl? Joe Montana, of course. But if you put me in a game where I need to come back in a fourth quarter, Manning is the guy.
Bill Belichick? His great defenders are gone. He’s not allowed to coach cheating any more. The days of his team mauling receivers downfield are over. And because of that, he can’t count on them to prevent a 75 yard drive in two minutes. Poor guy.