I'm often annoyed by how much some coaches are hailed as geniuses in the media. The overwhelming majority of coaches at the NFL level know the game inside and out and rarely could be out-done by an ordinary Joe at home ("Joe the Football Coach?!!?!?"). By the same token, are we really supposed to believe Bill Belichick has so much more aptitude at his profession than every other peer that he never makes mistakes?
Whatever your opinion on that discussion, he showed his mortality as a football coach tonight.
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- Early in the second half, the Colts defense ran a man off the field. It was pretty clear to everyone watching they only ended up with 10 on the field, yet Belichick still decided to challenge the play. Obviously, the officials correctly upheld their initial call -- they are my boys, after all -- and the Patriots were charged a timeout. Matt Cassel had to use their second shortly thereafter because the team wasn't properly prepared for the play.
- Trailing by three points with 11:38 left in the fourth quarter, the Patriots lined up for an offensive play on fourth and one from the Indy seven yard line. Just as whistles were heard in the distance the Pats snapped the ball and appeared to easily gain the first down. Belichick had changed his mind on the play-call and decided to take a timeout and kick the field goal. His last timeout, mind you.
I would say Bill would be the first to tell you that he mismanaged his timeouts in the second half with an utterly ridiculous challenge and waffling on the fourth down call. Of course, he doesn't say much to the media and has no discernible personality, so he won't tell you jack. He knows it, though. I guarantee that.
The Patriots could have used one or two of those timeouts on their last drive when they threw a pick to Bob Sanders on fourth and 15, or on the last "drive" where they had the ball with 21 seconds remaining and needed to move the football about 40 yards to get into field goal range to tie the game.
It just wasn't in the cards for the Pats to take this game in Indy tonight, though. A game of the two biggest powerhouses in the NFL in the 2000s, both of whom have been thrust into the background this season for various reasons, housed unspectacular play on so many fronts. At the top of the list? Neither is that good a football team this year.
- Why didn't Belichick try to control the clock more? I know Sanders was back for the Colts, but the tandem of Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis combined for 25 carries and 117 yards. It's not like the Pats were ever so far behind they had to throw the ball, so why was Matt Cassel attempting 34 passes compared to 32 runs against one of the worst run defenses in football?
- A really stupid 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the Pats cost them a game-tying field goal before the futile fourth and 15 attempt.
- The Colts did a great job of eliminating Randy Moss from the game. I'm not even remotely sure what he was referencing in the post-game press conference when he said something about how "these are the types of games where if you say anything you get fined." For what? I must have missed something, Randy. You get fined for whining about officiating, and it was not one-sided here.
- Anthony Gonzalez? There are many fantasy owners upset about this movement of him getting both TDs ...
- A win's a win, but I think we've seen the Colts do as much as they can this year. They still can't run the football (21 carries for 47 yards), they can't stop the run against the Pats' 4th and 5th string runners -- Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, and Lamont Jordan were out injured -- and this was a home game. They were brutal on the road -- for the most part -- the past two weeks. I have been a big fan of the Colts franchise from afar -- mentally, that is; I live here but am a Bears fan -- for the past decade, but there are some serious issues with this team moving forward which need to be addressed this off-season. You can only reassure yourself so much that it's all health-related.
- Adam Vinatieri is still nails. Gotta love the stones on a guy that knocks a 52 yarder through the uprights with ease for the game-winning points against the team that didn't think they needed to re-up with him.
So the Colts sit at 4-4 and right in the AFC mix for the playoffs, and the Pats now find themselves in a three-way tie atop the most competitive division in football at 5-3 (Dolphins are 4-4).
The way things are going right now, I don't think either team makes the postseason.
What if I said that in mid-August?
Colts 18, Patriots 15: Interesting Use of Timeout(s) From Bill Belichick originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 02 Nov 2008 23:50:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.