Sunday, January 21, 2007

Patriots vs. Colts: Live Blogging [J. Mark English]



10:16 pm
- I have no stake in this game and yet I can feel my own pulse!

10:11 pm
- Holy Cow! Colts score the touchdown by way of an Addai run. (Edgerin James who?). They lead by four, and Brady has exactly one minute to drive the Pats down the field, and they would have to score a touchdown to win. In the Super Bowls when Brady led last minute drives, the score was tied, and all they needed was a field goal. This is an entirely different kind of pressure. Colts 38, Patriots 34.

10:05 pm
- JEBUS! Manning has them down close to the 20 yard line...and Wayne nearly loses the ball. But the Patriots (pulling a Charger type play from last week) get called for roughing the passer. Not only are the Colts in position to tie the game (on a Vinatieri kick..muhahaha) but to also take the lead. No matter what happens though...if they score either way...they better not leave to much time left on the clock, or Brady, as we have seen many times, will lead the Patriots down the field.

10:02 pm
- Barring a stupid penalty (a la the Chargers)...Manning & Co. have one last shot to tie this game up...

9:58 pm
- My goodness. The Pats stepped up their pressure on defense. Now the Patriots will get the ball back...the Colts still have two timeouts, and the two minute warning. But the Pats will be starting their drive from the forty yard line. 3:22 to go. Either the Pats can finish out the clock or the Colts will get one last shot.

9:55 pm
- If you love football, you love this game. Hearts are beating fast in Indy, and New England. 3:49 to go in the 4th.

9:53 pm
- Can you write a better script? The rookie, Gostkowski, puts his team up by three, nailing a 45 + yard field goal. Patriots 34, Colts 31.

9:50 pm
- Should the Pats win this game, the player of the game should be Hobbs. His kick off returns keep breathing life back into the Patriots. And now they're in a position to at least take the lead on a FG. 4:45 to go.

9:49 pm
- Viantieri, as Jim Nantz keeps reminding us, is perfect at the RCA Dome, and perfect in the playoffs. He's jinxing him, and you can sense that he'll miss a final second field goal when they most need him to be good.

9:48 pm
- ...And the kick is good! Colts 31, Patriots 31.

9:48 pm
- Here comes Viantieri...

9:46 pm
- Whatever was ailing didn't stop him from completing a near 50 yard pass to Dallas Clark. Oh man, what a friggin' game!

9:44 pm
- If I had a personal stake in this game, I'd be a reck. The fans inside the RCA dome must be biting nails. 7:35 to go in the fourth.

9:42 pm
- Caldwell once again failed to make a catch, although this time he was covered. So the Pats were forced to settle for a FG, and the successor to Vinatieri, Gostkowski, gets three up on the board. Patriots 31, Colts 28. Now we find out if Manning's thumb will diminish his play.

9:41 pm
- Belichick should bench Caldwell. He was wide open and again dropped the ball!

9:38 pm
- Brady magic is still alive, with a little help from a personal foul. Now they are in the red zone. Meanwhile Manning's thumb appears to be hurt. Can he still be effective if the thumb is really bothering him?

9:34 pm
- And the Pats defense just came up with a pivotal stop, forcing the Colts to punt, and giving their offense excellent field position.

9:31 pm
- On WFAN this morning, Phil Simms was asked by Mike Francesa, "if both teams played to the best of their ability, who would win?" Simms responded that the Pats would, because their best play comes by taking advantage of the intangibles within a game. At this point, you'd have to say that the Colts are playing as well as they can, and the game is tied. As well as the Colts are playing, the Patriots may still hold on to win this game. Remarkable.

9:28 pm
- Pats get shut out again on offense, and now the Pats defense will have to stand up to a juggernaut that has been rolling over them for the past quarter and a half.

9:27 pm
- I wonder if the dome managment is turning the heat up in order to increase the likiness of cramps on the Patriots sidelines?

9:22 pm
- In a mirror image of the Patriots touchdown in the first quarter, the Colts just repeated the feat. Rhodes fumbled at the one, and Jeff Saturday, a linemen, recovered in the endzone. Colts march down once again and tie the game. Colts 28, Patriots 28. What a game.

9:09 pm
- The Colts lose the challenge, and the Patriots have a touchdown. The run back by the Pats special teams came up big time for the offense, and kept the team from completely falling apart. Patriots 28, Colts 21.

9:07 pm
- Gaffney has had one hell of a ride in the playoffs. He only had 11 catches in the regular season. He signed with the team barely half way through the season. And now he has practically become the Pats number one reciever. He had a TD at the end of the half last week against the Chargers, and one against the Jets. How in the world do the Patriots find these players?

9:05 pm
- No matter, Gaffney catches a touchdown on a push out in the back of the endzone. But of course the Colts will challenge the call.

9:05 pm
- Wow, how does Caldwell not catch that...

9:01 pm
- When your defense is so exhausted it can't make a stand, your offense is inept due to lack of being on the field...then your special teams must stand up and take charge. Hobbs of the Pats just had an 80 yard kick off return to the Colts 20. Just what the Patriots needed.

8:59 pm
- Its a whole new ball game folks!

8:57 pm
- Oh my! Dan Klecko, the former Patriot, catches a TD from Manning. And they follow that up with a two point conversion on a pass too Harrison. The Manning family is watching from up above and must be proud. The Colts are back. Colts 21, Patriots 21.

8:57 pm
- Finally the Colts get the pass interference call, and the Colts get the ball at the one.

8:54 pm
- Its the attack of the flu! As the Colts are on the move again, the Pats seem to be exhausted, the defense overworked, barely a chance for substitutions, and the flu diminishing the effectiveness of many of the players for the Patriots. Momentum really does seem to have shifted in favor of the Colts. The Colts have had the ball for nearly 12 minutes compared to the 1 minute for the Pats since late in the second quarter.

8:50 pm
- Maybe the best defense for the Colts is just to eat the clock on offense. The Pats certainly looked out of sync, and it was to the Colts advantage as they shut them down, three and out.

8:44 pm
- It will be interesting to see if the Pats look out of sync on offense. They haven't had the ball of nearly an hour...due to the drive by the Colts before the half, the half time, and then the drive the Colts just scored on.

8:41 pm
- Colts just scored a touchdown on a sneak by Manning from the one. It was a "long hard slog" down the field. It chewed up a lot of time off the clock, and its now a one possesion game. But the amount of effort it took for the Colts to score their last ten points have been exhausting to watch. How much more can they score given the energy they have to exert just to move the ball? Be that as it may, they are just down by one possesion. Patriots 21, Colts 13.

8:32 pm
- Larry Izzo is some player for the Pats. There was a story told this morning on WFAN by a beat reporter for the Patriots that when they last won the AFC Championship against the Steelers two years ago, the morning after, one of the younger players got a phone call from Izzo at 6:30 am. Izzo said "I'm in the weight room, where are you?" The core of the Patriots - Brady, Bruschi, Izzo, Harrison and Seymour all inspire an extreme hard work ethic out of the players around them. Which is amazing considering that Robert Kraft (the owner) hardly pays anyone on that team the market value of what they should be making. Which is why every year some star player leaves...examples are Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Deion Branch. And yet they still win!

8:14 pm
- In another example of what good is Vinatieri if your down by 18 points, Viantieri boots another FG for the Colts, but they still are way behind. Barring a run back from the Patriots, the Colts will go into the half with a 15 point deficit to over come. The Colts at least will start the second half with the ball. Patriots 21, Colts 6.

8:12 pm
- The Pats are redefining the meaning of the word physical with the way they are covering the Colts receivers. The play on 2nd and goal to Clark look liked pass interference, as did the one to Reggie Wayne on 3rd and goal. But the Pats get away with it, and the Colts are left a 4th down, and the decision of whether to go for it or kick the field goal. I think you have to kick the field goal.

8:08 pm
- The last two completions by the Colts inside the thirty of the Pats are perfect examples of what Carl Banks was talking about. Rhodes and Clark were both nailed after they caught the ball. Rhodes was leveled. They'll think twice the next time they are in a position to catch the ball in the middle of the field. They'll be hearing footsteps...

8:05 pm
- Did I just see Jeremy Miller, who played Ben Seaver on the show Growing Pains, do a commercial for McDonalds? Is the game this much of a blow out that I'm making comments about B-rated actors appearing on commercials?

8:03 pm
- As part of a plug for GMC, James Brown just did a keys to the game for Super Bowl XLI...detailing what the Bears would have to do against either the Colts/Patriots. They can't wait just two more hours to do that? "Corporate sellout!"

7:58 pm
- The other magnificent ability of Belichick is his ability to find the right people to place on his coaching staff. Despite losing coaches on his staff like Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Nick Saban, Eric Mangini...he still posses the ability to great coaches to fill their vacancies.

7:55 pm
- When I covered the Giants for one day back in October, I had the oppurtunity to speak with former linebacker Carl Banks, who played under Belichick. He told me that they never came up with complicated defensive schemes. The idea was to blitz, and cover the receivers man to man, but softly. Should the QB withstand the pressure, then let the reciever make a play, but if he catches it, punish him. Make him afraid to catch the ball again. This strategy worked against high octane offenses, that were considered the best of all time...offenses like the San Francisco 49ers in 1990 when the had Montana and Rice, or the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl when they had Thurmon Thomas, Jim Kelly, and Andre Reed. He shut down their offenses, and took away them away from their rythym. He also executed a perfect defensive exhibition against the St. Louis Rams in 2001, when that team was considered the greatest show on turf. And now he's been doing it to the Colts. Belichick may be the greatest coach of all time. Nothing seems to stop him from developing and using the right personel to make the plays that are necessary to execute his punishing game plan.

7:47 pm
- Patriots are putting together a recipe for a blow-out. They just added two straight sacks to the ingredients.

7:43 pm
- Oh man...Colt fans are stunned. Asante Samuels just intercepted Peyton Manning for a touchdown. Patriots 21, Colts 3. Manning may be home in New Orleans watching the Super Bowl with his Dad, brother, and the Saints.

7:41 pm
- The Colts nearly fumbled the ball on the kickoff return, but in the replay it was clear that the carrier was down before he lost the ball. But also in the replay showed a face mask. Suppose the Pats had recovered the ball, and the Colts challenged, and not only did the Refs reverse the call, but would they also call the penalty of a face mask based on the review?

7:37 pm
- But true to form, they go for it, Brady completes it to Brown for a big first down, and then Dillon runs it in for a touchdown. Patriots 14, Colts 3. What good are field goals when you can score touchdowns.

7:34 pm
- The Pats may or may not go for it on 4th and 6 at the Colts 35 yard line. Not to beat a dead horse here, but if Vinatieri was on the team still, think they'd even hesitate as to whether to kick a field goal or not?

7:31 pm
- The Patriots already have 84 rushing yards, and its still early in the second quarter. How did Larry Johnson and Jamal Lewis get stuffed the past two weekends?

7:27 pm
- How bad does that movie 'Ghost Rider' with Nicholas Cage look?

7:26 pm
- "So many teams in the league now able to deal with loud noise on the road" - Phil Simms. Yea, not the New York Giants.

7:24 pm
- Many have tried to compare the "dynasty" of the Patriots to the Yankees dynasty of the late 90's (as if you can compare dynasties from two different sports.) But if you were to suspend reality, and play along, then Tom Brady would be the Derek Jeter of the Pats. Adam Vinatieri would be the Mariano Rivera of the Patriots. Well now he is no longer with the Pats, and will that come back to burn them...stay tuned.

7;20 pm
- Adam Vinatieri just barely kicked his first field goal, but it counts, and he just gave the Colts three points against his former team. Patriots 7, Colts 3.

7:13 pm
- Dallas Clark of the Colts, just caught a big pass from Manning in Pats territory. He is such an oddity. He looks nothing like a tight end, looks more like a full back, and even wears the number 44. He reminds me of Dan Reeves from when he played for the Dallas Cowboys. A misfit player, who over achieves.

7:05 pm
- Oh my! Bizarro world in Indy. The Pats fumble, and the Patriots guard, Logan Mankins, recovers the ball in the endzone. Touchdown Patriots. Patriots 7, Colts 0.

7:03 pm
- The thing I don't understand about the Cover 2 defense, is why it would be effective against the run? Unless you have a Warren Sapp, or Bubba McFarland defensive tackle, you should be able to run inside your own tackles.

7:02 pm
- Corey Dillon just put an exclamation mark on the conversion, running for 35 yards.

7:01 pm
- 4th and 1 for the Pats at midfield. No way Belichick doesn't go for it here. He lives for 4th and short.

7:00 pm
- Freeney came back in...

6:57 pm
- Dwight Freeney, the defensive end for the Colts, limped off the field. If he can't come back in, that would be a big loss for the Colts. He can generate such a rush, and the success of the Tampa Two defense depends on the ability of the front four to create a rush on the quarterback, because the rest of the defense is in a zone. If the quarterback is not being rushed, he can sit back all day and wait for an open receiver.

6:55 pm
- Both teams have exchanged punts. Sometimes, like a heavy weight boxing championship fight, teams like to feel each other out, and you don't get the real action until the second quarter. I remember in Panthers/Patriots Super Bowl, the teams traded like six punts back and forth, and it was not until the end of the first half that things began to heat up. It wound up being one of the highest scoring Super Bowls of all time.

6:48 pm
- Sure is loud in the dome. Patriots will have to punt.

6:47 pm
- Reminder...don't forget to refresh this page every few minutes to see the new postings.

6:46 pm
- Here's my key to the game. The team that wants to win needs to score more points then the other team. Its that simple... Have I mentioned that I cannot stand Phil Simms?

6:43 pm
- Steve Tasker, a sideline reporter for CBS, and the former Bills special teamer...has a great voice for TV. He should replace Phil Simms. He'd be a lot better.

6:41 pm
- Given the build up on CBS, why even play the Super Bowl. This is the Super Bowl. If the Bears win in Miami, will that be considered the upset of the decade?

6:33 pm
- I defy someone to find a singer who can sing the National Anthem under two minutes... Actually Paul Zimmerman (Dr. Z) wrote a great piece about how the Anthem is dragged out way too long.

6:31 pm
- Here we go again. Now its time for the main show...what many believe will determine the true Super Bowl winner. The odds out of Las Vegas is that the winner of this game will be at least a seven point favorite tomorrow no matter who had won the Bears/Saints game. The bad news is that CBS gets to cover the game. I can't stand their studio crew. Talk about a sorry bunch. Dan Marino has the IQ of a two year old. I can't understand a single word Shannon Sharpe says. Boomer Esiason looks like a fool wearing Bill Belichick's signature sweatshirt. I feel sorry for James Brown...he must miss his old FOX crew. Anyway, on to the game. Gotta feel happy for Lovie Smith who will become the first African American to coach in a Super Bowl. Tony Dungy can quickly become the second with a win today. And it would be fitting that they would be the two to go since Smith used to coach underneath Dungy in Tampa Bay, and they both perfected the Tampa Two (cover 2) defense.

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