On Indy’s second drive of the game, they capped off an eight-play, 78-yard march down the field with the “Philly Special,” which went for a touchdown. Running back Jonathan Taylor took the snap and handed it off to quarterback Carson Wentz, who then dished a short forward pass to Nyheim Hines. The shifty back got to the outside, dodged a couple Patriots defenders and snuck inside the pylon.
For the most part, the Colts never looked back after that. They went up 20-0 and iced the game with a Taylor 67-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 27-17. The Patriots’ comeback never felt legitimate, even as they brought it within three points right before the two-minute warning.
It was an all-around frustrating evening for the Patriots, who uncharacteristically committed eight penalties and saw safety Kyle Dugger ejected for fighting Colts receiver Michael Pittman. Things didn’t get any better in the postgame, either. Reich brought up ghosts of Patriots past and took a shot at them over the Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Colts head coach Frank Reich taking a shot at the Patriots is a tough scene.
Apparently, a few reporters had wagered whether or not Reich would run the “Philly Special” at any point of the game. Here’s what Reich said when he caught wind of it following the Colts’ win:
"“You owe me $20. This is a run — this is a version of the Philly Special. … It was appropriate given the opponent. That’s a version of it. So, there you go.”"
Appropriate. Given. The. Opponent. Reich was with the Eagles when they ran this play against Tom Brady and the Pats a few years ago; he left after the 2017 season to take the job with the Colts, and was the architect of the offense that led Philly to its first ever Super Bowl. Head coach Doug Pederson took the reins after Reich departed, and it was clear the Eagles began to deteriorate under his offensive leadership.
That’s a big part of the reason Reich and the Colts went out and acquired Wentz via trade in the offseason. The former Eagles offensive coordinator oversaw Wentz’s best NFL season back in 2017 before he was lost for the year with a torn ACL.
Though the trauma from the game-altering play in the Super Bowl hurts, the Patriots can at least thank Reich for giving them the proper motivation and anger heading into a season-defining game against the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough this week. Belichick is always looking for silver linings when the Pats are being kicked while they’re down, and here’s the perfect one.