November 16, 2009

Game of the Year

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Say what you want about Brett Favre’s miracle toss to defeat the 49ers a few weeks back, last night’s New England-Indianapolis tilt was the game of the year – and it will be hard to top, too. The Colts came into the game banged up and they seemed like they wouldn’t be able to keep up with a Patriots squad that had just started to fire on all cylinders. Well, for three quarters it looked like things were going to shake out just like that. The Brady-Moss combo took advantage of the weak secondary and the Colts couldn’t keep pace. But, it wouldn’t have been the game of the year if it simply kept up that story. No, something unbelievable happened late in the fourth quarter: The mastermind Bill Belichick blew the game.

Using unnecessary time outs, making bad play calls and flat out getting outplayed are not things you usually associated with a team that’s supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. But they all happened to the Pats in the final minutes. And the worst part of the whole sequence was Belichick’s stupid gamble to go for the jugular on fourth-and-two on their own 28. Even worse, instead of running it, they passed and fell short. Even worse, it wasn’t to Moss or Welker, it was to a running back split out wide. Worst of all, the team had blown all their time outs and couldn’t review what looked like a call that might have been overturned to save the game for New England. Once Peyton Manning got the ball back, you could’ve written “game over” in your notebook; the Colts undefeated run would still be intact.

Up until the masterful comeback/collapse last night, the story of the day was Cincinnati going into Pittsburgh and beating the defending champs by grinding it out and playing, essentially, Steeler football. Now, with only one match against the Browns left, the Bengals are nearly assured of sweeping their entire division this season, a rarity for even the best of teams.

I’m not going to read too much into the Saints winning a sloppy game in St. Louis. It was a classic case of a good team overlooking a highly inferior opponent. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re back to their dominant selves next week against the Bucs, in a tune up for a huge showdown against the Patriots.

So, that was the Cowboys stink bomb that I was expecting, I guess it just came a week later than I had predicted. Until they managed to score their TD in garbage time, Dallas was in line to be shut out for the first time in nearly six years. In fact, the last time they were shut out was on November 16, 2003, by New England. Hopefully the Boys can learn from their mistakes and try to hold onto the ball a bit better, but really, I just want them to get Miles Austin some more touches. Forget about Roy Williams already.

Remember the Titans? Well that team that went undefeated the longest last season is rolling like that again. Sure, it was only the Bills they beat, but damn did Chris Johnson look good. With him in the backfield, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Titans turned around their season and made the playoffs after their 0-6 start.

So, can we say that the Falcons have completely fallen apart? Now with Michael Turner limping after suffering a high ankle sprain, things could go from bad to worse for Atlanta. It looks like Matty Ice has gone ice cold.

Speaking of Turner’s injury, it was a banner week for running backs getting banged up. Including Turner, six starting running backs went down yesterday and some could miss at least a week. Ronnie Brown was on crutches because of his ankle, Cedric Benson hurt his hip, Joseph Addai injured a finger last night and missed some time, Julius Jones had bleeding in on his lungs after breaking a rib and Brian Westbrook suffered his second concussion of the season.

This week: 9-4 (plus Baltimore -10.5 tonight)
This season: 77-58-1

Leave a Reply