The Indianapolis Colts’ botched trick play in their 34-27 loss to perennial rivals the New England Patriots on Sunday was utter madness, but it’s just the latest installment in a series famed for drama.
Crazy things are known to happen in games between the two, although Sunday’s insanity was right up there.
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Trailing 27-21 late in the third quarter, the Colts opted to go for it on fourth and three on their own 37-yard line.
That wasn’t even the crazy part. After lining up in punt formation, the Colts rolled their entire offensive line to the far right side of the field, leaving wideout Griff Whalen kneeling over the ball, with safety Colt Anderson stood
The formation caused chaos although five Patriots defenders wisely kept close to Whalen, who appeared to surprise Anderson by then snapping the ball.
They were both pounced on by Patriots, the play was dead and a barrage of boos rained down from the majority inside Lucas Oil Stadium. It prompted commentator Phil Simms to say: “There is absolutely no way they should have snapped that ball. There were five guys around two players. That was insane.”
The Patriots march on to 5-0 and dreams of an unbeaten regular season continue, while the Colts, who lost their opening two games before winning three straight, have slipped to 3-3.
Although Colts coach Chuck Pagano appeared to ask Whalen “Why’d you snap that?” on camera, he later took full responsibility.
“The whole idea was on fourth-and-3 or less, we shift to an alignment where we could catch them misaligned,” Pagano said.
“They tried to sub some people in. Catch them with more men on the field. And if you get a certain look, you have three (or) two yards to make a play.”
Pats counterpart Bill Belichick wasn’t fooled. “We didn’t know what the play was going to be, but they went on the swinging gate type play and we reacted well. It was a heads up play by our punt return unit,” he said.
From the Deflategate scandal which exploded following New England’s 45-7 crushing of Indy in last season’s AFC Championship Game to the November 2009 4th and 2 Game when the Colts overturned a 34-21 deficit with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter after the Patriots went for it on 4th and 2 on their own 28-yard line – this clash has given us great entertainment.
Elsewhere on Sunday, four more teams stretched their perfect records as the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers all improved to 6-0 and the Carolina Panthers raised their record to 5-0.
The Panthers ended a three-year, four-defeat drought against Seattle, stunning the Seahawks with a 27-23 triumph sealed by quarterback Cam Newton’s touchdown pass to Greg Olsen in the final minute of the contest.
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