First off, I want to thank all of you for giving me an outlet for my football discussion need. I only have a couple a friends who obsess over the Patriots as much as I do, and due to schedule conflicts discussions with them typically only occur on gameday. I have enjoyed my time very much and learned quite a bit at the same time. Can't complain too much about that. I don't follow offseason that much so my time here will be sporadic at best, and my posting will be virtually non-existant. If this post goes a little long, please bear with me, as there is a fair amount of catharsis in this. * Odd as it may sound, for a team that loses even though their offense puts up 27 points on the road and allows 38, I lay most of the blame for this game on the offense. By the end of the Colts' first drive of the third quarter it was clear that the D was done. The flu bug and the clash against SD had completely emptied them out. They weren't running on fumes, they were running on desire and desire alone. It was to the point that I was thrilled when NE held Indy to a FG. I honestly expected Indy to get a TD every time they touched the ball in the second half. But when NE's D reached back and found just enough to hold Indy to a three and out (after NE had done the same), that should have been the opening NE needed to put the game away. Instead, a stupid penalty forces NE to start off in the red and they never recovered. A first down there and, at best, Indy gets the ball back with 30 seconds left at the 20 with no timeouts. That was the game right there, and NE let it slip from their hands. * That said, the biggest play of the game that no one will talk about was Indy's conversion on 3rd and 10 at the beginning of the second quarter FG drive. Stop them there and..... * At halftime everyone was laughing at me because NE was dominating and yet I was still a nervous wreck. My wife, dad and friends thought that I was just being overly critical, but my repeated response (almost a mantra) was, "The second half should have been a formality. This should be 28-3 and over, this should be 28-3 and over." When Ben Watson's first down reception was caught, I let my guard down for a second because that essentially ended the game. Everyone in the free world knew that NE would score a TD on that drive, even the Indy players themselves. I still don't know what Brown was thinking because the defender he knocked out of the way had no chance to break up the pass. That game should have been a formality in the second half. * As much as NE made a few mistakes and their defense was dead in the second half, I still have to (begrudgingly, of course) give Indy a lot of credit for the win. I don't believe that NE "gave" the game to Indy, I think that Indy took it by taking advantage of NE's mistakes and weaknesses. With their WRs either playing like crap or being covered well, they didn't force the issue, they just took advantage of NEs LBs and safeties in coverage. It was the smart thing to do and it worked. Even consideing the mistakes by NE, Indy still needed to play a near perfect second half offensively to hae a chance....... and they did. * I can't say that I have any complaints about how NE's strategy offensively, except one. From the fourth or fifth time Maroney touched the ball it was clear to me that he didn't have it. He had a couple decent runs on NE's first TD drive, but it was all downhill from there. I don't know if it was the fumble, but I can't recall a single time he touched the ball, including his KO return, that he didn't dance into the blocking. He really was terrible in that game. I know some are going to say that the blocking wasn't that great, but he made it look bad. With the exception of the one or two time he was dropped immediately after getting the ball, he could have easily gotten 2-3 yards by just busting through the line. Instead, he stutter-stepped and was dropped for a loss or no gain. I think that Maroney has all the skills to be a great back oin this league, but his reading of blocks is so poor at this point that it could literally cause him to be a bust. Everything I have heard about him leads me to believe that he is a dilligent worker, so I think he will improve. But he will not see the field next year if he keeps losing yardage on plays that could have gone for 3. * Does anybody else wonder why the person who had Klecko in coverage came off of him? It isn't as if Manning had broken towards the goal line, so why not ride Klecko a little deeper (and into others in coverage) and then come up to stop the QB run? * What would a post after a Patriots loss be without some vitriol, right? Hey Bill Polian. Unless you are a complete scumbag hypocrite, I fully expect you to come out and complain about the "rough stuff" that Indy's DB was allowed to get away with on NE's final FG drive. That was far worse than anything NE's DBs were3 ever guilty of in 2003. Oh? What? You are a scumbag hypocrite? Well at least we cleared that up. * I still think that the Colts were terribly lucky to convert on their 2 pointer. It was a good thrown and catch, but it certainly was not how they designed it. Stop that (and the subsequent try after Indy's last TD) and the final drive is for a winning FG. * As much as he was a big reason for NE's improvement in the WR department, Caldwell did everything he could to help NE lose that game. He wouldn't have gotten a TD on the swing pass, but he would have gotten at least 6 yards. Had he caught his TD there would have been another 6 seconds on the clock at the end, too. As much as I am disappointed with him right now, I am optimistic about next year's WRs considering that all are assured of coming back with the exception of Brown. * Does anyone else wonder what might have been had Brady seen Evans uncovered out of the backfield on the final play? He would have at least gotten to the 25-20 and he would have gotten out of bounds, too. So NE could have been on the 20 with 14 seconds left still holding a TO. Aaaarrrrrrggggghhhh!!! C'mon Oswlek, don't do this to yourself. * After a bad night's sleep, I am still feeling a little negative right now, but eventually I, and most here, will be able to look at this game as part of NE's run. Even if Samuel, Graham and TBC are gone after this year, NE is not going anywhere for a while. Frankly, unless Brady goes down, I will be surprised if NE missed the playoffs in any of the next 3 or 4 seeason and they will almost certainly be a serious contender in at least one or two of those. We still have to remind ourselves that every team with the exception of two (and even the loser of those two) would kill to trade places with us now. I am sure that I forgot a few things, but I need to get to work. Thanks again.