How dumb was the decision by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to go for a fourth down on his own 28 … while leading by six points and with just two minutes on the clock? His defense had kept the Indianapolis Colts bottled up for most of the game, although they had tired a bit in the fourth quarter. A punt would have forced Peyton Manning to drive 70 yards in two minutes with one timeout, and Manning had thrown two interceptions and probably should have had another two passes picked in the game. Instead, Belichick — normally one of the brightest men in the sport — decided to roll the dice, and even Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth couldn’t believe he was serious until they saw the ball snapped:
This was as bad as anything the Red Sox ever did. Had it been a playoff game, it would be right up there with Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, Aaron Boone, and History Derailed in Glendale, Ariz.
And Bill Belichick played the part of Grady Little.
The Patriots lost to the undefeated Colts in unbelievable fashion last night. Leading, 31-14 in the fourth quarter, and 34-21 with 2:30 remaining, the Patriots took the choke and lost to their hated rivals, 35-34.
So the conference is gone, the playoff bye is probably bye-bye, and the (6-3) Patriots are saddled with a loss that will haunt them for the rest of the season.
And Belichick gets the blame. Too smart for his own good this time. The sin of hubris.
I almost turned this game off in the fourth quarter. When the Pats lead by two TDs at that stage of the game, they don’t lose, or at least they didn’t until last night. Hubris is exactly right; Belichick thought that his offense couldn’t be stopped, even though Tom Brady had almost thrown a pick on the previous play, another quick out to the flat.
Update: Collinsworth, not Cunningham. Need … more … coffee, especially after staying up too late watching the end of that game.