Nolan Nawrocki and Michael Lombardi are two of the most astute analysts out their. I generally respect what they have to say. Both defended BB's decision to go for it on 4th down.
Nawrocki had this to say: " With the Colts already having scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and momentum swinging clearly in their favor, the decision would have been praised as genius had it worked, as it would have prevented the Colts' greatest asset from touching the ball again with a hot hand. Hindsight is 20-20 and it's easy to pile on Belichick for making the unconventional call and shortening the field, but based on Peyton Manning's unique ability to dissect a defense in a two-minute situation, and the Patriots' defense, without Ty Warren, Jarvis Green and Shawn Springs, having already shown signs of wearing down against the Colts' fast-paced, no-huddle offense, Belichick determined in a blink of an eye that his chances were greatest trusting his own Pro Bowl quarterback to make a play rather than having to ask his defense to stop Manning, who leads the league with 40 career fourth-quarter comeback/game-winning wins and feeds off the pressure that comes with performing in the clutch."
ProFootballWeekly.com - Belichick made no blunder with bold decision
PFW also declared that the Pats "won everywhere but on the scoreboard": "Lost in all of that and the fall-out from Belichick's big gamble, though, is the fact that while the Colts might be undefeated, for more than 52 minutes Sunday night. it was the Patriots who were clearly the dominant team. Indianapolis' defense had no answer for the Pats' offense until its heroic last stand, as Brady marched his club up and down the field. ... The reality is, the Patriots really did win this one everywhere but on the scoreboard, and their injured defensive studs all figure to return, while the Colts' hurt defenders do not. Would Belichick have opted to draw to fill an inside straight flush with a playoff win on the line? Hopefully for all of us, we'll get a chance to find out."
ProFootballWeekly.com - Patriots win everywhere but the scoreboard
Lombardi also defended the move: "The fourth-down call was hard for many to understand, just as the fumble in the end zone by Laurence Maroney or the interception by Tom Brady was hard for Belichick to understand. This was a game in which the Patriots made too many mistakes to win, but they easily could have won. Give the Colts credit for being able to execute at the right time with precision and detail. Jim Caldwell deserves credit for keeping his team in the game and for having a team that was prepared and loves to keep fighting. Thatís an endearing quality and is not easily accessed. Knowing Belichick for 15 years and his penchant for detailed preparation, my sense is that he made his mind up long before the fourth quarter that if the game was tight, he was not going to give the ball back to Manning and watch him move down the field for the win. He thought his best defense was his offense. He ended up being wrong, but donít say this was a stupid mistake. It was an unconventional approach, but trust me, it was well thought out. Nothing was left to chance."
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