2. Carson Wentz’s 12 pass attempts
Two weeks ago on Monday Night Football, Mac Jones threw three total passes and the Patriots rushed for 222 yards in a 14-10 win on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Belichick was daring Bills head coach Sean McDermott to do something about it, and he couldn’t. New England imposed its will and extended their lead in the division.
Two weeks later, Colts head coach Frank Reich, who has the best running back in the NFL at his disposal, did almost the exact same thing against Belichick. Carson Wentz attempted 12 total passes in this game, completing five for just 57 yards. He shovel-passed a touchdown. That was it.
On the ground, Taylor led the way with 29 carries for 170 yards and a touchdown. Ashton Dulin added two for 39 and Wentz chipped in eight for 17. That’s 39 total rushes for 226 yards. That’s 5.8 yards per carry for Indianapolis. All Reich likely did was watch the Titans’ performance against the Patriots in late November, when, despite the loss, Tennessee rushed for 270 total yards.
Coming into this one, it was almost as obvious as the Colts’ defensive game plan that Taylor would be the overwhelming focus for an offense that features a quarterback who’s known for questionable decision making. Why would Reich even dream of risking Wentz throwing the ball in JC Jackson’s direction more that he has to?
He didn’t. We knew he wouldn’t. And the result was somehow a disaster for the Patriots.