Monday, January 17, 2005

Perhaps the best sign ever. I'd love to get a picture of it but Yahoo doesn't have one and I steal all my pictures from them typically.

The game started as a defensive struggle. The Colts went 3 and out on their first drive with 2 mediocre runs by James and a 2 yard pass by Manning. The Pats got a first down on their first play from scrimmage as Brady hit Branch for 15. They got 5 yards in 2 plays but a delay of game call forced them into a 3rd and 10 situation which they did not convert. Miller then punted the ball into the end zone.

The Colts again went 3 and out with 2 incompletions from Manning and a 7 yard Edgerrin James run. Brown, who saw alot of action at cornerback, returned the punt for 20 yards to give New England great field position on their 44. The Colts were able to stop Dillon for a loss of 2 and then a loss of 1 more on a 2nd down screen. Brady missed Brown and the Pats punted again. Miller again made the end zone but a holding penalty gave the Colts the ball at their own 10 yard line.

The Colts put together a solid drive that got them into New England territory. Manning hit James for a 15 yard gain. James then ran for 5 and then 3. On 3rd down, Peyton hit Harrison for 18 yards. Harrison did a great job staying in bounds but the call was questionable so the Colts ran a quick dive play to prevent a review. Manning then attempted to pick on Brown by throwing to Stokely twice. Brown had good coverage though and the Colts were forced to punt.

The Patriots got the ball at their 16 and put together a scoring drive that could have been more. Dillon ran to the left 3 straight times for 5, then 8, then 7. Faulk then ran up the middle for 13. After Graham moved early, Faulk ran the ball up the middle for 6. On 2nd and 9 from the 50, Brady hit Dillon for 4. Patten then caught a 12 yard pass for a 1st down. The Colts ended the 1st quarter with a sack of Brady that resulted in a loss of 7.

The Patriots opened the 2nd quarter by moving the ball forward on 7 of their next plays. Brady hit Brown for a 10 yard gain and on 3rd and 7 he hit Givens for 9 more. The Pats went into a no huddle as Johnson caught a 9 yard pass. Brown then caught a 3 yarder. Brady snuck for 3 more yards to get to the Colts 7 yard line. Dillon ran the ball to the left for 4 and then up the middle for 2. On 4th and goal from the 1, the Pats were going to go for it and appeared to score before it became apparent that Matt Light had moved before the snap. This meant the Pats were moved back to the 6 and kicked a field goal to go up 3-0. The drive went 78 yards and lasted over 9 minutes.

Given their first lead of the game, the Pats defense came out and sacked Manning for a loss of 8. Vrabel's hit was so hard that Peyton lost the ball. It was recovered by an offensive lineman for a total loss on the play of 12 yards. Manning then threw two consecutive incompletions.

An 8 yard punt return gave the Pats excellent field position starting at their 39 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Dillon had a huge run for 42 yards. It was the 3rd longest run from scrimmage in Patriots playoff history. The Pats couldn't get another 1st down but were able to get another field goal.

The Colts got the ball back and began driving. James ran for 6 then ran for 1. Manning then hit Stokely for 8. He then threw to Wayne for 10 more. James ran for 5 and Harrison caught a 7 yard pass. James ran for 3 and then caught a pass for 7 more. The pass was nullified though due to offensive holding. Manning passed to backup RB Domineck Rhodes who was stripped of the ball by Tedy Bruschi. It was technically a fumble but it was a straight out steal.

The Pats didn't do much on offense. Brady threw an incomplete pass and then got sacked for a loss of 9. They ran a draw play with Faulk for 11 yards and some field position. The turnover didn't result in points but it meant the Colts had to regain alot of territory and spend more time doing it.

The Colts used the last 1:52 of the half to march down field and kick a field goal. The score was 6-3 at halftime. Not exactly what the "experts" expected.

Bruschi had a nice return on a short kickoff to give the Pats great field position. They went 3 and out and the Colts got a generous penalty from Larry Izzo to give them the ball at the 31 instead of the 16. The Colts were able to drive near mid-field but they stalled at their on 48 and punted on 4th and 1. The Pats got the ball back at their own 13.

The Patriots had never had a drive of 87 yards or more all season until that point. Dillon started the drive with a loss of one but then Fauria got a 17 yard reception. Dillon ran for 4 yards and then 9. Then Faulk ran for 9. After an incomplete pass, Dillon ran for 5 and then 4. Faulk got 2 yards and then Brady converted on 3rd down with a pass to Pass for 14 yards. Dillon ran for 5 and then Faulk got 9, 4, and 1.

On 3rd and goal, Brady hit Givens for a 5 yard TD pass. The drive lasted over 8 minutes.

The Colts responded weakly with a drive that had one solid pass from Manning to Wayne for 13 but did nothing after that. The Patriots ate up half of the 4th quarter with a nice drive that resulted in a QB sneak for a touchdown. The TD was set up by a 27 yard run by Dillon. The game was effectively over at 20-3.

Tedy Bruschi once again recovered a fumble and the game was pretty much over.

The Pats ate some more clock, punted and then Manning threw a pick to Harrison in the end zone just like he did last year. Patriots 20, Colts 3.

The Pats play the Steelers on Sunday. After all the talk about stopping the MVP led best offense in the NFL without Ty Law, Tyrone Poole, and Richard Seymour, the defense held the overrated Colts to 3 points. Meanwhile, the Patriots offense was able to put together long drives that put up points and ate the clock.

Overrall the Pats had 210 rushing yards. 144 from Dillon, 56 from Faulk, 6 from Brady and 4 from Branch. They held the ball for over 35 minutes and never turned it over.

The Man of the Game is Corey Dillon. He never got into the end zone but he set up Brady's TD run and a Vinaterri Field Goal. He also caught more passes than any other Patriot with 5 for 17 yards. He allowed the Pats to keep the ball and keep the lead.

Boston College also continues to roll, squeeking by Villanova 67-66. They play at St. John's on Saturday.

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