The Patriots won their eighth straight game with a last minute goal line stand that held off the Indianapolis Colts in a wild 38-34 road victory.
Michael Felger names the Patriots the "Answer Team".
Is it possible to be a championship-caliber team without a running back you can trust and a punter you can rely on? Ask the Patriots. They're the Answer Team. That's the nickname the coaches have given the kickoff return unit, but it really applies to the whole team. And once again, the Pats had an answer yesterday.
Not quite as catchy as the LA Rams Fearsome Foursome or the Vikings Purple People Eaters, but Michael Smith continues the nickname route by calling the 2003 Patriots the "Palpitation Pats" after the hearty victory over the Colts.
...the Patriots nearly lost their starting left guard in the final fast-and-furious moments of a 38-34 victory yesterday at the RCA Dome in which they denied the Colts the winning touchdown three times from the 1-yard line. "I was about to have a heart attack out there," Damien Woody said. He didn't, obviously, although Colts fans are suffering from a severe case of heartache after their team's rally from a 21-point second-half deficit fell short.
Tom Curran looks at the "teeth" of the Patriots.
Another week, another gut-wrenching, mind-bending, tied-to-the-track-with-the-train-bearing-down win over an upper-crusty AFC opponent.
After yesterday's throbbing, 38-34, Patriots win over the Colts, the overarching question that remains is this: How many layers of skin do the Patriots have on their teeth, anyway?
How many layers of teeth skin is desired or necessary?
Now that New England's vanquished the AFC elite (in order: Tennessee, Miami, Denver, Indianapolis), they finds themselves winners of eight straight games and are a franchise-best 10-2 at this point in the season. Of the last 38 teams to finish a season with 10 wins, 36 have made the playoffs.
"That's the luckiest team in America," said an AFC personnel man after the game.
Perhaps they are. But it's better to be lucky than good and better still to be both, which the Patriots again proved to be yesterday.
Lucky doesn't allow you to stop an offensive as explosive as the Colts' the way the Patriots did in the final three minutes. In that span, Indianapolis ran 12 plays inside the Patriots' 30. They ran nine plays from inside the 12. The Colts managed just three points.
Ron Borges has an entertaining column on the game-winning goal line stand.
The final play of a goal-line stand summed up why the New England Patriots are 10-2 this morning. They are 10-2 because they out-thought the Indianapolis Colts on fourth down at their 1-yard line, and because they out-hit them, too.
Football is about much more than schemes and plans that account for every possibility, even though some might like you to think that's all it is. It is chess, but only if you believe chess comes with concussions and torn muscles, and mind-numbing exhaustion.
Former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks knew better than that. That's why he used to say, "It's not about X's and O's. It's about Jimmys and Joes."
What he meant is that the game is decided by the players most of the time, and yesterday's stirring 38-34 victory at the RCA Dome certainly was decided by Willies and Teds. Mikes and Bobbys. Romans and Rodneys and Richards. It was decided a little bit by a Peyton, too, but in the end that was the Colts' problem, not the Patriots'.
The Patriots' defensive line beat back the Colts' offensive line on three running plays with only a yard of real estate between victory and defeat. With no more margin for error, they gave up nothing.
At that point, there was no scheme involved. No X's and no O's. There was thinking, as McGinest proved, but it was done by the Jimmys and Joes Fairbanks always acknowledged were the true deciders of games. Then comes the clash. Two tons of bodies slam into each other. One side surges forward, the other meets it like a seawall against a storm crest. Yesterday, the seawall held, and behind it McGinest came like his own flood, and drowned the hopes of the Colts by out-thinking Manning and out-hitting James.
Kevin Mannix has Jonathan Kraft getting jiggy with Willie McGinest.
As Willie McGinest reached the door of the Patriots locker room after yesterday's unexpectedly pulsating 38-34 victory over the Colts, there was a one-man greeting party waiting for him.
"You are the (expletive) man,'' shouted Patriots vice president Jonathan Kraft as he reached out and up and hugged McGinest.
The "duplicitous pond scum" scribe's sensibilities were stretched by Kraft's language.
You could quibble about the adjective, but there was no question about the sentiment. Willie McGinest was the man yesterday. As he did in overtime in Houston a week ago, the veteran linebacker came up with the defensive play of the game, preserving yet another last-second Patriots victory.
Nick Cafardo has a look at rookie Bethel Johnson's big day in the return game.
Seizing the moment. Making the big play when it counts most. A lot of Patriots could claim such distinction following yesterday's 38-34 victory over the Colts at the RCA Dome. If they did, however, they would have to stand behind Bethel Johnson, the speedy rookie receiver/kick returner who turned momentum in the Patriots' favor on two occasions.
Johnson returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown just before halftime, after Indianapolis had scored its first touchdown moments before. Then he made a 67-yard kick return late in the fourth quarter that led to excellent field position for Tom Brady and Co.
Jim Donaldson looks at gift bearing Coach Tony Dungy.
"That was really not a smart play on my part at the end of the half," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said of his decision to kick deep after the Colts had trimmed a 17-0 New England lead to 17-10 with 12 seconds left in the first half.
The difference in the game turned out to be the huge, goal-line stand by the Patriots at the end.
"We called the plays that we like to call down there," said Dungy, "and got the ball to the 1-yard line, but we just couldn't get it in."
This was not the first time Dungy has "run the plays we like" at the goal line. In Coach Belichick's post game press conference, he was asked if the Colts 4th down play call came down to a guessing game, pass or run. Belichick replied that the Colts had ran the same play three other times this year in similar goal line stands. Click here for the Belichick audio.
Over on the other side of scrimmage, the Colts fans are crying foul on Willie McGinest's time saving "knee" injury during the last series. Philip B. Wilson of the Indy Star reports on the "mystery" injury.
Asked which knee he hurt in the final plays of New England's latest heart-stopping victory Sunday, McGinest said it was his left. But then the veteran outside linebacker hollered back, "I'm not a faker, dog. Don't worry about that."
The Colts (9-3) were facing second-and-1 at the Patriots 9 with 1:09 left. The Patriots (10-2) were out of timeouts, so McGinest's injury, real or an Oscar performance, provided a breather for his teammates against the Colts' no-huddle attack. Teams are granted an extra timeout for an injury. If it happens again, they get penalized.
It was, at the very least, suspicious if you're a Colts fan. If you're celebrating the Patriots' eighth consecutive victory today, then perhaps it's more fortuitous. But the winners didn't have their story straight about what happened.
"He cramped up there at the end and couldn't get off the field," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, unaware that McGinest would tell a different tale, that the defender's knee got caught in the AstroTurf.
When asked about being able to put McGinest back out there so soon, Belichick said, "Sometimes, those things loosen up, yeah."
Then came a wry smile from a low-key coach known for grumbling, not grins. It was as if even he knew the Patriots got away with one.
Colts coach Tony Dungy didn't buy it at the time, nor did most in a sellout crowd. Dungy walked about 10 yards onto the field to get the official explanation, then returned to the sideline shaking his head.
Thanks to the Patriots crack medical team, McGinest was back on the field in an Indy minute.
After returning for a third-down incomplete pass, McGinest blitzed around the right side of the Colts' line on the deciding play. He hit running back Edgerrin James high and, with the help of diving nose tackle Ted Washington, James was stymied for a 1-yard loss.
McGinest was so ecstatic, he ran down the middle of the field, his right arm raised with an index finger signifying "No. 1." He didn't favor the knee.
Finally today, an update on Colt's Cover Boy QB Peyton Manning. Looks like the media lovefest decided to bypass the "pressed ham" charges against Peyton. The AP has the story.
A female athletic trainer's defamation lawsuit can proceed against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his father, a judge ruled.
Judge Harvey Kornstein said Monday there is enough evidence for a jury to hear the case, which stems from a 1996 encounter during which Manning dropped his pants in front of former University of Tennessee trainer Jamie Ann Naughright.
The quarterback, without using Naughright's name, talks about the encounter in the book he wrote with his father, "Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy."
Manning says in the book that he pulled down his pants while the trainer was examining his feet in the Volunteers' locker room. He said the trainer had a "vulgar mouth," but concedes his behavior was "inappropriate."
"Crude, maybe, but harmless," he wrote.
Naughright alleges Manning placed his "naked butt" on her face. She filed the lawsuit in Polk County, Fla., in 2002, two years after the book was published, saying it disparaged her and seeking at least $15,000.
Patriot Report has not confirmed whether CourtTV will be covering the "butt face" allegations against Manning.