Bad Choices and Miscues!

So who’s done slamming their heads into the wall after Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.  The show down with the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night football was another famous match-up in the history of the teams meetings. Now for those of you that might have fallen asleep early last night, or had to work the late shift, I have great news for you.  The Colts didn’t BEAT US!  We beat ourselves with bad choices and miscues throughout the contest.  I know your confused so I’ll do my best to fill you in and get you up to speed with the happenings.  Yes, the Colts won 18-15 but it was only with New England shooting themselves in the foot on a few different occasions.

Here’s the list of crucial mistakes, dumb mistakes that will haunt us for awhile.

  • Challenging and losing the 12 man on the field call early in the third.
  • Jabar Gaffney’s inability to catch the deep ball which would of been a TD.
  • David Thomas’s drive and game killing personal foul call.
  • Lack of confidence in our passing game upon entering the red-zone.

Those four key things all had their part in the loss against the Colts.  Our defense did what was needed and called for with their game plan, in going up and trying to control Peyton Manning.  Manning’s stat line for the game ended like this 21 for 29 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns.  So we agree he had a good game but it wasn’t a great game, our defense kept him in check for most of the night only allowing two really big drives to him and the Colts offense.  Of course both those drives resulted in scores to receiver Anthony Gonzalez who hauled in 4 passes for 55 yards.

The defense was called upon to keep the normally high powered Colts offense in check.  They shut down the running game by only allowing 47 yards on 21 carries to both Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes.  Now normally if you can hold a team to forty seven yards rushing in a game, you think you’d win.  On most occasions that’s correct, but when you have a quarterback like Peyton on the other side, it changes things just a tad.  With the Patriots playing in a nickel formation for most of the night, it allowed Manning to sit back in the pocket, scan the field and hit basically any receiver he wanted with ease.  The lack of pressure from the defensive line played right into allowing him to do so.  But then again when you have a banged up secondary at are just trying to keep players healthy enough to fill those spots, you can’t ask for perfection.

Now back to that list of bad mistakes.  I’m still trying to figure out what the Patriots were thinking with the whole challenge call.  With under eight minutes to go in the third quarter, New England has a first down and someone saw something that the officials surely didn’t see.  That being twelve men on the field for Indy, so out comes the old red flag from the sock of Bill Belichick and the challenge is on.  Unfortunately it’s a call that the majority of the time you won’t get, but hey it worked in the Super bowl for us last year.  But the SB is for all the marbles you pull out all the stops.  Early in the third of a tightly contested game, maybe we need to think another second or two before tossing it.  Losing the challenge doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it’s later on when reality hits and you realize we just lost a timeout.  A crucial time out that would of great to have late in the game.

Now I know all season since since Matt Cassel has taking the reins for us, a lot of people including myself have been calling for the Pats to open the field up offensively.  I’m wondering why in the world, they are reluctant to pass the ball upon hitting the red-zone.  They move the ball down the field well at times mixing in running and passing plays, but then it’s like they forget the pass and rely on the run.  That’s fine with running the ball but allow Cassel to gain his confidence with passing in the red zone and get him use to using the short field area associated with it.  Mix in the deep pass to Randy Moss or Jabar Gaffney.  But they have stayed away from it, choosing to be conservative and patient at times.  Which in the beginning was fine, allowing Cassel time to get comfortable and more familiar with offense.  They have done that and it looked like they were finally starting to open the full playbook of plays up. 

Last night was a prime example of that happening.  Late in the third Cassel dropped back and threw a perfect pass, I mean you can’t ask for anything better deep down the field to Gaffney.  And what happens Gaffney watches the ball go right through his hands.  What would of been a sure fire touchdown, quickly turned into a game changing huge mistake on our part.  I mean there’s no defender even close to him all he has to do is catch it, and continue running into the end zone for the Patriots.  He makes that catch and it changes the entire complexion of the game and could very possibly have won the game.  So instead of New England taking the lead at 19-15, we have to settle for another Stephen Gostkowski field goal on the evening, tying the game up at 15-15.

The game that Cassel played wasn’t a bad game, he made the plays needed when the situation called for it.  He was able to mix in different players into the offensive flow.  Whether it was Kevin Faulk catching out of the back field or utilizing Wes Welker on the quick hits, and Randy Moss much more in the second half.  You look at his offensive line for the game and you see the following 25 of 34 passing for 204 yards, no touchdowns and only 1 interception.  Two hundred plus yards throwing is a good night, and the interception you can’t blame Cassel on that.  That blame falls onto tight end David Thomas and the lack of intelligent thinking for a moment.  Cassel was forced into a third and then a fourth down and sixteen situation.  He needed to try and make something out of nothing and that’s what he tried, by forcing a deep ball down the field intended for Ben Watson.  The Colts Bob Sanders picked it off when he should of allowed in to fall incomplete and giving his team much better field position.

And finally back to the real blow of the night, that belongs to Thomas himself.  With New England moving down into Indy’s territory late in the fourth, Thomas gets hit with a fifteen yard personal foul call.  The flag is thrown for his very late, after the play was over hit on the Colts lineman.  And with the dropping off the officials flag so went our hopes for a game tying FG or go ahead touchdown.  Now I know when your in the midst of the game, tensions are higher, you zoned into the “game mode” but COME ON MAN, everyone knows you never hit a player after the whistle.

That’s it I’m sorry I can’t go into the game more than I have.  What will be remembered of the Patriots performance are those key mistakes and miscues.  I’d rather prefer to think of the great game our defense played in keeping the game very close.  The positive signs on offense they showed running and passing at times.  We need to forget this game, and start to prepare for the Buffalo Bills that make their yearly trek to Foxboro this coming weekend.  For one things for sure if we don’t put this game behind us, that’s what we’ll surely due in the AFC East fall behind, and fast.  The way the rest of the teams in the East are playing we need to focus on each game left with them, win them all and control our own destiny concerning the playoffs.  We do that and all will be fine in New England, if we don’t we will have these memories of miscues throughout the season that might just come back to haunt us.  Haunt us as we watch the post season from the outside looking in.

Tags: Anthony Gonzalez Ben Watson Bill Belichick Bob Sanders David Thomas Dominic Rhodes Indianapolis Colts Jabar Gaffney Joseph Addai Kevin Faulk Matt Cassel New England Patriots Peyton Manning Randy Moss Stephen Gostkowski

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