The New England Patriots won with a final score of 34-27. It seemed like it wasn't even that close and that's probably the exact sentiment that most are taking away. The margin of victory wasn't 30, 40, or 50 points. It was something so much more and it can't be evaluated with your simple stats. Stats are for losers.
More on that later.
Brady's negative fu Manchu is still unnerving me— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) October 19, 2015
I don't know about you, but my facial hair doesn't come in well. It's something that I should never try to do. But Tom. Tom Brady. My man. He just opened up a world of possibilities. Your mustache can't connect with your cheeks? No problem. You want little gashes on the side of your face? It's now in style. Want to accent your chin and your jaw line with an upside-down McDonald's arch? WE'RE IN BUSINESS.
Sorry, honey. Tom's made it okay for me to grow out my patchwork facial hair, just in time for Movember. I'm just trying to be like Tom. Hope you understand.
Edelman's finger has been kinda funky for a long time. Not an injury from tonight. https://t.co/6EB1Yq4e7h— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 19, 2015
I trust Jeff on this one. While there was a lot made about Julian Edelman's hands and it seemed like he dropped the next four passes, including a pick six, that came his way after the cameras caught what kind of looks like a normal pinkie finger that he's just trying to flex.
It was like an announcer mentioning a perfect game, and then the pitcher throws a meatball that gets cranked for a home run walks the next three batters. It's bad timing that makes everything seem worse, but it's not much to get overly concerned about.
I don't really know baseball.
Ex-Patriot player on Twitter ... 3, 2, 1 ... "We practiced surprise onside kicks 14 hours a week."— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) October 19, 2015
No one can be mad at this joke because a) Patriots players do tweet out stuff like this all the time, usually my man Matt Chatham or Donte Stallworth or Rosevelt Colvin; b) the Patriots absolutely practiced onside kicks for 14 hours this week and that's probably an underestimate.
New England knew that the Colts were going to try everything to get a victory and the announcers even knew that on the Colts first kick off. It wasn't a secret. I would hope that the Patriots practiced recovering onside kicks.
I still can't believe that Tavon Wilson almost messed that up, though. It was an atypical onside kick that went super far down the field, but if you put your hand on the ball, you'd better bring it down to the turf. Don't expect your offensive lineman to somehow cover it up and have the officials blow the play dead.
Patriots are missing Hightower right now— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) October 19, 2015
None of the Patriots' first four opponents put together a single drive of 6+ minutes that resulted in a TD. Colts have done it twice.— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) October 19, 2015
Does anyone else get a weird pang of guilt watching Jerod Mayo out on the field, and then seeing Jamie Collins make some ridiculous play right in front of him? Like, that used to be Mayo three years ago. Collins is totally Buzz Lightyear out there and Mayo is singing You've Got A Friend in Me to Bill Belichick after losing time to Jonathan Freeny.
Although to be honest, I didn't think Mayo was that bad out there. He's not Collins, or Dont'a Hightower, so it's very clear why he's not part of the 4-2-5 package, but he was definitely better than Freeny from my perspective. He was holding his blocks, while Freeny was getting moved out of the lane. He was dropping well into coverage. Freeny was getting stonewalled every time he tried to blitz into the backfield.
I'd like to think Mayo's still just working back after missing two seasons. He's still just 29 years old. Maybe he'll be back in shape by the end of the year?
Regardless, the loss of Hightower was serious because the Patriots run defense looked like pudding up the middle and the Colts weren't afraid of the non-Collins linebacker blitzing. Hightower kicks this defense up three notches.
Well that didn't work. Whatever that was.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 19, 2015
The Patriots practiced that on Saturday.
(not a former player, but points to Chris Sprow)
Colts tried to outsmart everyone. Instead they outdumbed themselves.— Erik Frenz (@ErikFrenz) October 19, 2015
The thing is, some plays turn out to be incredibly dumb, but this was DESIGNED as a dumb play, making it the dumbest ever.— Kevin Clark (@KevinClarkWSJ) October 19, 2015
"Why did you snap it?" How about "why did you have the entire offensive line set up in an illegal formation"?— Lee Schechter (@LeeSchechter) October 19, 2015
YOU CAN’T EVEN TRY TO DO THAT IN MADDEN THAT’S HOW DUMB IT WAS HAHAHAHA— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) October 19, 2015
Pagano says the Colts had practiced the fake punt alignment for a while. Ouch.— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) October 19, 2015
Pat McAfee said the #Colts started working on their little fake punt thing last year and put it back in this week. Echoed: miscommunication.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 19, 2015
There was a common misconception that the Patriots were going to absolute destroy the Colts on the field. I bought into it. The idea was that New England would win by so many points that Indianapolis would be embarrassed to show their faces for the rest of the season.
But when you think of it, what could the Patriots have done on the field? Anything less than a 40-point victory would have been received with a shoulder shrug and a well yeah that's not a surprise. Instead, we saw a 7-point victory that was secured with the recovery of an onside kick.
Some might feel disappointed with the final result, but this was literally the only outcome that could have left the Colts as the laughing stock of the league. No one cares that the Patriots won by 7, that Brady threw a pick six, or that it seems like matching up a cornerback one-on-one with Rob Gronkowski flexed outside when the Patriots have no intention of running seems to be slightly more effective than we'd like to admit.
The only thing people are talking about from this game is how terrible of a job the Colts did on their punt play. That's it. The coaches are getting reamed in public. The Colts embarrassed themselves and that's why this result was better than any possible margin of victory.
5 missed INTs.— Mike Loyko (@NEPD_Loyko) October 19, 2015
Updated Colts second half offense: 24 plays, 39 yards.— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) October 19, 2015
Colts fans starting to leave Lucas Oil with 6:39 left in the game.— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) October 19, 2015
How about how lights out the Patriots were in the second half? Chandler Jones and Dominique Easley ascended to another level of play and Rob Ninkovich played his best football. Pat Chung shut out T.Y. Hilton and Malcolm Butler was swatting away every pass in his direction. Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon were everywhere and denying plays across the middle.
The defense might have just quietly played their best game of football this season, and with wide receiver Brandon LaFell's return right around the corner, the offense could make another jump forward.
This is a dangerous team. I just hope Brady doesn't change his facial hair before my beard grows.