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Home » New England PatriotsNovember 2005 » And this weak and idle theme no more yielding but a dream....

And this weak and idle theme no more yielding but a dream....

Week 9: November 7, 2005
Colts (8-0), 40
Patriots (4-4), 21

I’ve already expressed my opinions on this debacle, but I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit some of the details of game to see if there were any positive things New England could build on for the future. Suffice to say, such encouraging examples are few and far between, but hey, at least we’ll always have memories. If the New England Revolution win the MLS Cup this afternoon, Boston can still call itself Title Town.

Some may have been relieved when the Patriots were able to respond with a touchdown by Deion Branch immediately after the Colts’ 5-play opening drive score, but I knew immediately that the home team was in peril. In comparison to Indianapolis’s leisurely jaunt down the field, New England’s opening drive was 11 plays and required a 4th down conversion at the opposition’s 21-yard line. The offensive was designed to eat time and keep the visiting team’s offense off the field with a 5 to 6 ratio of run to pass plays, but Corey Dillon is not playing at the top of his form due to his nagging injuries. Seven-minute drives would not be sustainable for the entirety of the game. The Patriots defense would have to rise up to the challenge of shutting down the highly effective onslaught of Peyton Manning and his myriad weapons.

Despite being on the field of so many grisly defeats from the past, the Colts did not wither as they had done before. In their second drive, which lasted 9 minutes even without huddles, converted a 4th down and 1 of their own at the Patriots’ 46-yard line. The old Colts would have botched this situation, but this new version handily earned the required yardage to continue their drive for a second touchdown.

  • Not only did the Colts outearn the Patriots by a little more than 33% in terms of yardage with their 228/207 first and second half yardage split, New England opponents continue to win the time of possession battle. The Patriots held the ball only 23:19 compared to Indianapolis’s 36:41. Tellingly, Hunter Smith, the Colts’ punter, made only one appearance on Monday night. Against most other teams, New England’s 102/186 split would have been adequate, but clearly not against the class of the AFC. Advantage: Indianapolis.
  • The primary narrator of the turnover story was Indianapolis. Mike Vrabel had his second interception of the season in the 2nd quarter and his team momentarily seemed to regain momentum. On the enemy’s 17-yard line, however, Dillon fumbled back the ball which led to a Colts touchdown just a little over two minutes later. Making a relief appearance, Doug Flutie also fumbled in the last seconds of the game to complete the epic defeat. Advantage: Indianapolis.
  • The teams were tied for red zone efficiency in terms of percentage with each team turning in a rate of 67%. The determining factor was that the Colts were 4 for 6 while the Patriots were 2 for 3. Advantage: Indianapolis.
  • Once again, minimal time of possession pared down the penalty yards for the Patriots, who had only 4 infractions for 24 yards. A key misstep in the 3rd quarter was an offsides against New England on a 3rd down and 4 with the Colts just 8 yards from the end zone to grant the visitors a new set of downs. The disturbing trend of the Patriots beating themselves continues. The Colts had 7 penalties for 32 yards. The officials called the game loose as the score was so lopsided. Advantage: Indianapolis.
  • Last week, the Patriots were only 1 of 7, or 14%, and this week the dearth of success on 3rd downs continued with 4 for 11 for 36%. The battered Patriots defense allowed an alarming 71% rate of conversion, permitting 12 of 17 chances. Advantage: Indianapolis.

In sum, complete and utter dominance by the Colts. For a team that had so long been on the cusp, they chose a tremendous stage for their coming out party. They now threaten to match the 1972 Miami Dolphins for a perfect season and perhaps the Patriots’ 21-game win streak as well.

Fair warning, however: Bill Belichick has a long memory. He will not forget that 2-point conversion attempt. When his roster is refilled and another game against the Colts is on the horizon, expect that debt to be repaid in full.

Game Leaders
Peyton Manning: 28/37, 321 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Tom Brady: 22/33, 265 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

Edgerrin James: 34 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD, 9 yard longest gain
Corey Dillon: 12 carries, 40 yards, 0 TD, 13 yard longest gain

Marvin Harrison: 9 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD, 48 yard longest gain
David Givens: 4 receptions, 64 yards, 0 TD, 35 yard longest gain
Deion Branch: 5 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD, 17 yard longest gain
Gary Brackett: 5 tackles, 4 assists
Raheem Brock: 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack

Robert Mathis:
2 tackles, 3 assists, 1 sack
Rosevelt Colvin: 6 tackles, 3 assists
Mike Vrabel: 6 tackles, 4 assists, 1 interception

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