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Social Commentary: Divisional Playoffs Patriots vs Colts

By popular demand, they're baaaaaaack

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I recently saw the Disney movie "Frozen" in theaters and I was more than pleasantly surprised at how well it held up to the Disney movies I grew up with. Aladdin, Lion King, Mulan. Frozen is an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Snow Queen, and it revolves around two princesses who haven't really been exposed to the outside world. One has magic in her hands and the other has magic in her heart. Together they overcome any struggle that comes their way, no matter how seemingly insurmountable, and after a few twists and turns they live happily ever after.

I don't know how Frozen will stand the tests of time. I don't know if it will ever reach the pantheon of Disney movies that have truly attained the title of "timeless", but while I was watching Frozen, I thought it had a chance. I was watching it for the sake of the movie and was loving every minute of it, forgetting about the high standards the other Disney movies had set. For now, it was a magical experience and I enjoyed it for the sake of enjoying it, and not comparing it to other Disney movies.

I'm sure you know what I mean.


This was going to be a game with the elements and the Patriots knew exactly what they were going to do: Week 17 Bills remix. All aboard the LeGarrette Blount express train to the end zone and there are no stops before we get there.

I was reading that this was the best crowd that Gillette's had in a long while. Braving the elements, the fans were loud and involved throughout the game. They might not have provided the same degree of a homefield advantage, but they certainly played their part. Kudos to every fan who stayed throughout the storm and were rewarded with an excellent game.

Sorry, did I compare Blount to an express train? Shannon Sharpe called him a Winnebago in the pre-game show and I'm not sure where it comes from, but I absolutely love it. What else can you ask for? It grants you the image of some awkwardly bulky vehicle that's slow to accelerate, yet can put the whole family on its back and take you where you want it to go.

Blount reached uncharted territory with an outrageously historic performance. His four touchdowns are second best in playoff history (Ricky Watters had five for Seattle in 1994), and his 166 rushing yards are only 20th best in playoff history.

Together? He matched Curtis Martin's franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game. His 166 yards and 4 touchdowns combine to provide a unique game that is unmatched and will likely be unmatched for years to come.

And let's applaud offensive Josh McDaniels for executing a brilliant game plan. The Patriots ran on 63% of offensive snaps. And if you get rid of Tom Brady's kneeldown and Ryan Allen's miracle safety, the Patriots averaged 5.34 yards per carry. Remove Blount's 73 yard gain and it falls to 3.77 YPC. A lesser coach might have deviated from the game plan, feeling uncomfortable with the 50% of running plays that gained two or fewer yards.

Yet of those 50% that would normally be considered failed runs, the Patriots stayed committed. Only 3 runs went for negative yardage and all were on second down and still gave the Patriots a chance to convert. The runs imposed the Patriots will upon the Colts and made them disheartened in the fourth. You could see Andrew Luck fired up against the Chiefs because he knew he might be able to come back against their defense and that the Chiefs offense was floundering.

Not this Patriots offense. They're a physical beast that will beat you into submission.

The Colts fell flat out of the gate more often than not this season and were able to claw their way back into the game because they were careful with the football. They led the league in turnovers and seemed to capitalized on the oppositions mistakes to win at the buzzer.

Too bad the Patriots are better at this game than the Colts are- and they somehow managed to avoid the slow start part of the formula.

That said, when did you feel comfortable that the Patriots were definitely going to win? I wasn't happy until Colts head coach Chuck Pagano made the worst call of the playoffs by punting on fourth-and-one. They were down three scores with 11 minutes to go...and they're punting?!

I knew it was over at that point. The coach had to put together three drives that would result in a touchdown when they only had five of twelve drives (at that point) go for over 12 yards. We should have expected it from a coach who would kneel down with two time outs and almost 40 seconds on the clock before the half. And instead of kneeling, just running the useless draw play. Of course, this was after the Colts punt returner helped kill 14 seconds off the clock by running around for an extra 8 yards after the punt, so maybe Pagano didn't really believe in his team.

Well, at the end of the game, after the fourth-and-one, the Patriots ran an 11 play drive to kill 7:35 off the game clock. That's nearly half of the fourth quarter. Brady was 2/2 on the drive, both for short dump offs for first downs. Blount earned the franchise record for rushing yards and then lost it and ended up just tying Martin. Oh, and you know the three negative rushing plays the Patriots had? Two came on this drive when the Colts knew they would just be runnig out the clock.

Yet the Patriots marched on, ate the clock, and sent the Colts home. The Colts just weren't good enough and their coach faltered in the end of the game. Their strategy was torn to pieces by the dark lord Bill Belichick.

A: That Dan Dierdorf send-off was hilariously long and awkward.

B: Much like his commentary

-- Reddit Combo

Two things.

First, Chase Stuart is one of the smartest guys in football. If he says that the Patriots safety came off the longest safety on football history, I'll believe him. Because the Patriots, we're allowed to laugh at it. But jeez, that was a gorgeous spiral over the head of Ryan Allen and somehow made its way back to the goal line.

Long snapper Danny Aiken is a restricted free agent this off-season and, while the Patriots won't be cutting him in the midst of a playoff run, they'll, no question, bring in some competition. Aiken's snaps have been low all season and quite off point. That needs to be addressed moving forward.

As for the potential of losing Allen, Zoltan Mesko took to Twitter to campaign his way back to New England. Gostkowski served admirably and even joked about how the final punt from the 26 yard line (which was a touchback and netted 6 yards) hurt his average. But if Allen is actually hurt, the Patriots need to make a quick move.

Second, man...what the heck were you talking about?! He would have been better off getting sacked at the two yard line and letting the defense make a stand instead of giving up the two points? How there are "two schools of thought" on how to approach this situation?

No. Absolutely not. There's one school of thought and it's called "take the gosh darn safety." It's two points and then you get to kick off and give your defense a fighting chance. If you give the opposition the ball on the two yard line, almost 80% of drives end in touchdowns. That's essentially giving your opposition seven points. And the very least they get a field goal attempt in extra point territory. It's an estimated point score of 5.92, versus giving up 2 points.

Sorry Dan. There's no scenario where giving up the ball on the two yard line is the right decision.

If you were on Twitter, these pictures were the absolutely best.

Other captions:

Dearest Abigail,

We've lost the battle. General Blount outmatched our cavalry.

Forgive me.

Dearest Betsy,

All hope is lost. Our patriot opposition has outpowered us.

With love,

Brig. Gen. Ambrose Luck

Dearest Mildred,

We fought hard, but the front line of the patriots opposing us was too ferocious for our men.

Dearest Abigail,

The fighting in Foxborough has been most violent.

I don't think it gets any better that that.

Coach of the year, ladies and gentlemen. Undeniable coach of the year.


-- Dvorac via Reddit

We're getting to the end.

Remember the umpire who had the pass interference flag from the Carolina Panthers game picked up? Well, he's baaaaaack and he ain't messin' around. Stay off of his turf or he'll have you "taken care of". While the refs mostly swallowed their whistles this game (and missed a fair amount of calls that I'd have expected to be called in the regular season), umpire Garth DeFelice has earned himself a place in Patriot lore.

Just please stay out of his face.

H/T to Deadspin. Someone's still in need of a high five.

And this is it. Football greatness is determined when Vanilla Ice says it is. Tom Brady was on fire tonight, according to Mr. Ice. Perhaps you could help cool him down; I'm sure he must be tired from handing the ball off so much.


I don't know who I'll be rooting for today. Part of me wants the decimated Broncos defense. Another part of me wants to watch the Patriots stay at home and host the Chargers. All I know is that these Patriots can't be counted out of anything. Not anymore. Not after yesterday's performance. They've inserted themselves into the title conversation with gusto and they've proven that they're going to destroy you in the elements.

The Patriots have one week to heal up. Hopefully Kenbrell Thompkins can use this extra day to get cleared from his concussion injury. Hopefully Aaron Dobson can start to practice (it's been three weeks!). Hopefully Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib can get healthier and provide another lock down performance. Hopefully Blount does exactly the same thing that he's been doing the past quarter of the season. Hopefully Jamie Collins eats some humble pie after having an All-World performance on the field.

The Patriots are going to be ready for whoever the get to face next week. You can be certain of that.

On to the next one.