The Indianapolis Colts line up for a trick play against the New England Patriots Sunday night. (Photo NBC video capture)
If you asked most Patriots fans prior to Sunday’s match-up between the New England and Indianapolis Colts you would have heard how they generally all wanted the Patriots to run up the score on Indy for the Colts role in the Deflategate saga. The numbers folks were mentioning were in the neighborhood of scores you’d see when a top NCAA team plays a FCS cupcake. So despite the Patriots winning 34-27 you’d think there would be some disappointment as the final score didn’t provide the satisfaction New England fans were looking for. Instead, Patriots fans are laughing at the Colts for embarrassing themselves with one of the dumbest plays ever seen in pro football history.
With the Colts trailing the Patriots 27-21 with 1:14 left in the third quarter and it being 4th and 3 from their own 37, Indy head coach Chuck Pagano decided to go with a fake punt. Now if there is anyone reading this that hasn’t seen the fake punt, and I’m not sure it should be even called a “fake punt”, the video is on NFL.com and you will be hard pressed to find a worse play call.
Watching the video it’s hard not to laugh. It’s almost impossible to have a team make more errors on one play than Indy made on that one, and had for some reason Colts safety turned QB Colt Anderson managed to get past the Patriots covering him and receiver turned center Griff Whalen and earned a first down it would have been called back because the offensive linemen that had shifted to the right were all at least two yards behind the line of scrimmage. And the despite all of that happening, why Whalen snapped the ball to Anderson is a question that may never be answered. But even before any of that, one has to ask what Pagano was even thinking calling it in the first place.
There are few gains for the Colts in calling that play to begin with, and it was immediately obvious that none of the things that would have worked out for Indy were going to happen. The best thing that could have happened was the Patriots didn’t outman the Anderson/Whalen pairing and the Colts would be able to get the yards needed for the first down. The next best thing was the Patriots would try to make substitutes and the Colts could snap the ball to catch New England with 12 men on the field. Third in line would be New England wasting a timeout in confusion. Well, just watch the video and you’ll see how quickly the Patriots special teams react, and while they aren’t line up perfectly you can see they have everything covered well enough.
The Colts embarrassing themselves is the best thing Patriots fans could possibly have hoped for. Had New England gone on to blow out Indy the whiners of Hater Nation would be talking about sportsmanship and other make believe issues as they twisted themselves in knots to come up with reasons to rationalize their hatred of all things New England football. Now, thanks to Pagano, all people are talking about is an incredibly foolish play that cost Indy a game on national television. For a team that has been known on occasion to shoot themselves in the foot in big games Sunday night brought it to a whole new level.
Or, as Julian Edelman said in a post game interview, “You know, Colts.”