By: Ian Logue
Here’s the best and worst from the Patriots 31-28 win over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.
BEST FROM SUNDAY:
James Sanders – Had a good performance on Sunday, and made a leaping interception on Peyton Manning in the closing minute of Sunday’s game, which sealed the win. Had Sanders failed to hang on, who knows how this one would have turned out.
Jermaine Cunningham – Did a decent job getting pressure, but made the play of the game when he pressured Manning into throwing that interception to Sanders. That turnover sealed the game for New England.
Jerod Mayo – Another solid game for Mayo, who had a pass defensed when he leaped out on a Manning pass and deflected the ball after his receiver went the wrong way. He finished with another team high 15 tackles Sunday.
Wes Welker – His 22-yard touchdown reception was impressive. He was hit around the three yard line and dragged his man into the endzone. He finished with 5 receptions for 58-yards.
Devin McCourty – McCourty played well again Sunday, including a play where while covering Pierre Garcon, McCourty had good position on him and swatted the ball away early in the first quarter. He actually nearly made a one hand interception on the play, but couldn’t quite come up with it. He later made a terrific interception on the sideline on Manning, who threw down the still pictures of the play afterwards in disgust while reviewing the play on the sideline. The Patriots would get a field goal to go up 31-14 thanks to that turnover – and it ended up being the difference in the game.
Danny Woodhead – Finished with 7-carries for 69 yards including an impressive 36-yard touchdown run which put them up 28-14 at the time. He also made a big play right after his touchdown, and made the special teams tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
Gary Guyton – Guyton saw more snaps Sunday in place of rookie Brandon Spikes and made the most of it. He was in on quite a few plays Sunday and finished second on the team in tackles, finishing with a combined 9 on Sunday.
Matt Light – Light had his hands full all afternoon with Dwight Freeney, who had moments against him. But all-in-all he played well, allowing just one sack (the only one of the afternoon) despite Freeney’s tenacious rush.
Deion Branch – Branch led the team in receptions on Sunday, finishing with 7 catches for 70 yards and looks to be finally getting healthy.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Green-Ellis really did a good job running the football Sunday. He carried 21 times for 96-yards (4.6 avg) including a touchdown.
Aaron Hernandez – Caught an 8-yard touchdown while shedding two tacklers and taking a shot low. That would be his only reception, but he really did a good job on the play as the Colts made him work for that one.
Zoltan Mesko – Punted 3 times for 132 yards (44 yard avg), but really did a good job of putting the Colts in tough shape starting each of those drives. He’s really made a difference in changing field position this season.
THE WORST OF SUNDAY:
Tully Banta-Cain – Banta-Cain had a tough day Sunday, including one play where he had Peyton Manning locked up in his sights but was unable to wrap him up and bring him down. Instead Manning got away and completed a pass for 25-yards to Donald Brown that lead to a 1-yard touchdown pass to Gijon Robinson. Was also flagged for a late hit penalty for 15-yards, and one play later the Colts scored a touchdown pass to White.
Patrick Chung – Chung brought a different attitude to the defense in this one, but unfortunately got beat for two touchdowns Sunday afternoon. Hard to get on him too much – because he was everywhere all afternoon and was more of a reason why they won than why they lost. But giving up two TD’s bumped him into this category.
Kyle Arrington – Had a tough afternoon matched up against Reggie Wayne, and later gave way to Darius Butler – who replaced him to start the second half. That likely came because of a play where he failed to wrap up Wayne after a reception right before the end of the half. On the play he had Wayne wrapped up for a short gain, but let him go – and he picked up 28-yards. Two plays later he got beat by Wayne for the touchdown reception, which cut the lead to 21-14 at the half.
Funniest Moment of the Game: Came from referee Gene Steratatore who called a holding penalty on “#38 of the kicking team (Patriots)” following a punt by Zoltan Mesko, and instead corrected it to the Colts. The fans went from booing to cheering, which made him smile as he completed the call after correcting himself.
Strange Moment of the Game: Tom Brady – Screaming “Go!” at Welker with around 5:00 left in the 3rd after Welker didn’t go in motion before the snap. Welker’s not an idiot – and I’m guessing Brady could have handled that one a little better since he basically more or less showed up the veteran on that play. Welker went on to make a critical block to allow Danny Woodhead to score on that drive.
NOTES: Coming into Sunday’s game Peyton Manning had only thrown four interceptions all season. He threw three on Sunday…..TV STAT: Sunday was the 13th straight home starts with a touchdown pass for Brady. He threw two on Sunday against the Colts….Mike Reiss pointed out that Brandon Spikes didn’t see as much action in this one, finishing with just five first half snaps on defense, which saw Gary Guyton see the majority of action. Guyton finished as the team’s second leading tackler behind Mayo on Sunday with 9…Brady’s touchdown to Hernandez in the 2nd quarter was his 244th, tying John Hadl for 15th all-time….Brady had just two incompletions in the first half, finishing 12-of-14 with two touchdowns….the Patriots were also 6/6 on third down in the first half, and finished 7/11 on the afternoon…. Brady won his 25th consecutive regular season home game, tying him all time with Brett Favre.