The Colts Influence
The Colts Influence
40 at 21
SITE: Gillette Stadium
COLTS NOT ONLY SHAKE THE MONKEY
OFF THEIR BACK,
was billed as a prime-time litmus test for the NFL's only unbeaten
team with the league's two-time Most Valuable Player, the Colts and Manning
beating the New England Patriots wasn't satisfying enough; plenty of
teams have been doing that to the two-time defending Super Bowl
champions all season.
It all had the aura of a team coming face-to-face with reality.
The Pats aren't good enough - and they know it.
Well, at least now we know for sure.
The New England Patriots had seemed to be a pale imitation of their former selves for most of this season. But with Tedy Bruschi back in the lineup, Randall Gay joining him last night, Richard Seymour (we think) on the horizon, and the calendar flipping to November, the New England Patriots had teased themselfs with the hope that they could get that old pilot light flaming again.
And for the first time in seven head-to-head meetings, the Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning got the better of the New England Patriots' Tom Brady not only on the statistics sheet, but on the scoreboard.
Peyton Manning completed 28-of-37 passes for 321 yards, his's first 300-yard passing game this season and three touchdowns to lead the Colts to a 40-21 victory that got them to the midpoint of the NFL season and a Colts first 8-0 start in club history record. More importantly, it got them over a mental hurdle by winning at Gillette Stadium for the first time since November 1995.
"It feels good to beat these guys," Manning said. "It was important that we got off to a good start. We haven't had a lead on these guys in a long time."
Among those congratulating Manning in the locker room was his little brother. Eli Manning came from New York, where he has been busy leading the Giants to a 6-2 record, tied for best in the NFC.
There's another story!
The Colts had lost nine straight games at Foxborough, the past seven with Manning as their quarterback and the past six with Brady leading the Patriots. Overall, New England had won 14 of the past 16 meetings and 10 of 12 since Manning arrived in Indianapolis.
This year the Colts checked all their emotional baggage in Indianapolis. These were not the Colts who have made a habit of coming here and curling into the fetal position. They were relentless. They were physical. And they never took their foot off the pedal.
These were not the same old Colts, and that was not the same old Peyton Manning, who has carried the burden of these New England flameouts for too long.
his body language in past games here?
night, he showed up with an unmistakable fire in his gut, a clear
resolve, looking like a man who is sick and tired of hearing about
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and the nightmares in New England.
"Everybody said I had that look in the eye. I don't know what that means," Manning said. "We just came out and executed."
Peyton Manning and the Colts no longer have to hear about how they can't beat the Patriots and how they can't win in Foxborough.
relentless offensive attack, a timely turnover, and a big lead,
Manning shrugged off his 0-7 record at Foxborough with an intelligent dissection of the two-time defending champions. Aided by star running back Edgerrin James' 104 yards on 34 carries, and 100-yard receiving games from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
For the first time in recent memory, the Colts were able to run their deadly Edgerrin James stretch play with success against the Patriots. Normally, Willie McGinest or Tedy Bruschi or Richard Seymour would sniff it out. Neither McGinest nor Bruschi did with regularity Monday night, when Seymour was inactive for the fourth time in eight games this season.
Not even the second game for Tedy Bruschi, New England's Pro Bowl linebacker returning from a mild stroke, could help the Patriots this night. Not against a Colts team that no longer can play it low-key.
For years now, we've heard about New England's physicality, how they could run and stop the run, especially when it involved the Colts. This year was different. This year, the Colts ran and they stopped the run.
"We just wanted to come up here and win and keep our streak going," James said. "That's the main thing. It wasn't just about coming up here and beating the Patriots; it was about playing our game. We know what type of team we've got, let's just go and play our game."
You never heard The Colts claim that they were defeated by Patriots in the past because we didn't have "OUR TEAM". We accepted the loss and as Peyton said, "The times we've played up here they've played better than us. We haven't played our best games. We were set on getting an early lead tonight."And that they did!
The Colts laid the groundwork for their breakthrough victory with a first half that had just one flaw. Exclude linebacker Mike Vrabel's second-quarter interception of a Manning pass, and efficiency ruled. The Colts converted 7-of-9 third-down situations and a fourth-and-1.
Manning directed a multidimensional attack, generating 240 total yards by mixing long and intermediate passes with a lot of James.
Quarterback Tom Brady teased a sellout crowd of 68,756 by hitting Deion Branch for a 16-yard touchdown on New England's first drive, then spent the rest of the half dinking, dunking and going nowhere.
season while the Colts Defense was making a name for themselves,
everyone was saying,
Does anyone else find it the least bit ironic that some Pats fans are pointing out that the Colts still haven't played a really competitive team - Especially when the Pats play in the AFC "Least."
I guess The Patriots are among those non competitive teams!
I can not
believe all the crap that is being said about -
"Because those weren't the Patriots."
"They wore Patriots jerseys, but defensively bore no resemblance to their Manning-devouring predecessors."
What a bunch of sore *^%$#* Losers!
Being one of them!
"Tonight wasn't us," receiver Deion Branch said. "That team that played tonight wasn't us."
Deion! It's the same New England team that played and lost against
the Panthers(6-2), Chargers(5-4) and the Broncos(6-2).
you beat? Let's see, Raiders(3-5), Bills(3-5). Here's two competitive
teams you beat by a mere 3 points. Falcons. And then there's The
Steelers, or should I indicate that this is again the better team
lost to officials!
For years now, we've heard about New England's physicality, how they could run and stop the run, especially when it involved the Colts. This year was different. This year, the Colts ran and they stopped the run.
Cynics will point out that the victory didn't occur in the playoffs and that this wasn't the same brand of New England football that has trumped Manning and the Colts in the past. While those things may be true, both seem to be hollow facts - because this isn't the same old Indianapolis team, either.
The Colts' vastly upgraded defense hit harder when the score was close and forced the pace, while the offense was versatile and unflappable.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker David Thornton is aware of all that is said about the two-time defending Super Bowl champions and Gillette Stadium, nicknamed The Razor, which is one of the toughest venues in the NFL.
"All those things are true," Thornton said. "We haven't beaten them in a while and it is tough to play up there in those conditions.
"But the bottom line is this is 2005 and it's a new season. They're a new team and we're a new team."
The proud defense that helped the Patriots win three of the last four Super Bowls seems like only a memory now. Some of the best players remain - Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel - but too much talent has been drained. The retirement of LB Ted Johnson, the free agent defection of CB Ty Law and injuries to S Rodney Harrison, DE Richard Seymour and CB Tyrone Poole have rendered the New England defense ordinary.
As I have
said all these years - it's not Tom Brady's New England Patriots!
Which whom gave up in this game as 43-year-old backup Doug Flutie
finished out Brady's mess! It's been their defense! It's the only way
to explain how a team with a MVP Quarterback surpassing Marino's 48
touchdown in a season record, wide receivers as Marvin Harrison,
Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley who had 10 touchdowns a piece, could
have possibly won in 2004. Oh, and again having to play against their
17 guys to our 11.
While everybody is blaming The Patriots loss on their defense - I blame it ALL on Tom Brady! I don't know if he and the team got a Belichick ass chewing in the locker room at the break or what. Brady was 10 for 10 in the first half. But it was evident in the second half that the little baby was all frustrated and eventually began throwing bad passes. Enough said!
All aspects were all on display against the Patriots. On one side of the ball, Peyton Manning passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns (two to Marvin Harrison).
Meanwhile, Indy's defense recovered two fumbles and notched a pair of sacks while getting consistent pressure on Brady and limiting Dillon to 40 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Simply put, with the exception of Vrabel's interception, the Patriots front seven failed to adequately pressure Manning, who escaped with three rushes for 24 yards and two first downs. Nor could the defense contain Edgerrin James who pounded out 104 yards on 34 carries.
The Colts' powerful offense faced a New England secondary put together with duct tape and super glue.
receivers turned Gillette Stadium into their own personal paddock,
galloping freely through the secondary. By the end, pieces of the
Patriots were scattered everywhere.
Harrison scalded Asante Samuel all night, and Wayne beat up on Duane Starks and Randall Gay.
Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne both topped 100 yards and caught touchdowns, while Brandon Stokley often found himself open over the middle.
Harrison did more than any of them, besting Wayne by 4 yards and one touchdown. It's a lesson not lost on Wayne, the fifth-year receiver who has counted Harrison as a mentor.
''It's a blessing," Wayne said. ''I'm truly thankful to be on the same team with him. He's a Hall of Famer with Peyton Manning. I learn a lot from both of them. I'm going to sit back and continue to watch."
Peyton Manning orchestrated it all!
"They had all the right answers to everything we tried to do," Patriots safety Eugene Wilson said. "They made all the right plays. I don't know what Manning saw in our defense, but it was something, because everything we did, he had an answer."
Brady certainly doesn't have anything to be embarrassed about. He exploited the league's seventh-best pass defense and led the Pats to 21 points, 10 more than the Colts were giving up on average over their first seven wins.
Oh, wait a minute. Colts did in reality hold their record true - as Patriots last touchdown was not a caught ball and Patriots know that as well as everybody else does!
On with the show . . .
the more exciting first quarters of the season began with Dominic
Rhodes returning the opening kickoff 37 yards to New England's 46-yard-line.
take long for Peyton Manning to victimize the Patriots pathetic,
washed-out secondary. On his second play from scrimmage, the
offensive showcase began when he looked deep down the middle of the
field to Marvin Harrison covered by Patriots CB, Asante Samuel and
Randall Gay to connect for 48 yards to the New England 9-yard line.
Marvin Harrison hauls in this first-quarter pass for a long gain.
Edgerrin James runs left the Colts with a 3rd-and-goal from the 1.
threw a fade to Harrison in the right corner of the end zone over
Patriots CB, Asante Samuel, giving the Colts a 7-0 lead in just five
plays to cover 54 yards with 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
The Patriots answered with a nice scoring drive of their own. 69 yards in 11 plays, chewing 6:38 off the clock. After moving to the Colts 21-yard line, the Patriots faced a 4th-and-1. They went for it as Brady hit David Givens with a quick slant pass for the first down. Two plays later, Brady found Deion Branch in the end zone with a 16-yard touchdown pass, tying the game 7-7, and the stage was set for what looked like a shootout.
On the Colts' next drive, it was their turn to make a decision on 4th down. With New England's defensive line pushing the Colts' offensive line backward on almost every play, Manning still moved the Colts to the Patriot 46-yard line. On 4th-and-1, the Colts went for it, and James burst threw the line for a 1st down.
plays later Peyton Manning surprised the Patriots after three pass
plays broke down. When Peyton became under pressuer by Patriots
defense, instead of chucking the ball out of bounds, as he often has,
Manning tucked it and ran with an 8-yard run to the Patriots' 26 on first-and-15.
conversion paved the way for the Colts second touchdown in two
series. It was a grinding, 17-play drive going 9:02, 68 yards and
ending on a 5-yard James run to the end zone and the Colts led 14-7.
Indianapolis used a solid ball-control offensive approach and limited Brady's time on the field as the Colts used 17-plays for 68 yards that ate up 9:02 off the clock.
The Patriots held the ball for about 2 minutes going 3-and-out on their next possession, even though Brady completed two more passes. Patriots ended up turning the ball over with a Josh Miller 55-yard punt and a penalty, the Colts began their next drive on their own 5-yard line.
Manning drove the Colts 33 yards, almost exclusively through the air, but faced a 3rd-and-11.
The New England defense had one sparkling moment when pressure coming right up the middle, Manning backpedaled and fired over the middle. Patriots LB, Mike Vrabel picked off Peyton's pass.
I think that pissed the Colts off as the Patriots were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
Patriots first play of their drive, Brady was
violently sacked by Raheem
Brock forcing him to fumble and driving him down into the turf,
however the Patriots recovered the ball on the play.
England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fumbles the ball as he is sacked by Indianapolis Colts Raheem Brock
Indianapolis Colts Raheem Brock drives New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady down into the turf
Brady was under heavy pressure often as Colts seized the game's momentum! It was one of those junctures that have happened so often with these two teams - typically ending with Manning frustrated and the Indy defense struggling to keep the Patriots from capitalizing. But this time, the plot took a twist.
Five plays later New Englands
RB, Corey Dillon gets tackled by Bob Sanders forcing a fumble, as
Colts, Jason David recovered on their own 27-yard line.
Can you read lips? It wasn't difficult! Cameras got a shot of Tom Brady on National TV mouth, "were fucked" then leans his head back in disgust.
The Colts then had the
Patriots' defense reeling. Using the hurry-up offense to perfection,
Manning took up nearly all the remaining 2:07 on a nine-play, 73-yard
drive. He capped it by hitting Wayne with a precise pass into the
left corner of the end zone for a 10-yard TD just 9 seconds before halftime.
The Colts led, 21-7. Patriots fans booed their team off the field.
Duane Starks has been a fixture at right cornerback since the Patriots' third game of the season, but last night he found a new spot to call home.
Starks was yanked for the entire second half as the Patriots' secondary, a unit reeling all season, continued to struggle. Starks wasn't happy about his demotion.
Asked if an injury was a factor with Starks not playing in the second half, coach Bill Belichick paused for a few moments before answering: ''The people we had out on the field were the people we thought were the best ones to put out there during the game."
Brady was 10-for-10 passing for 105 yards and a TD in the first half, but as Brady got frustrated being down 21-7 at the half, he threw three straight incomplete passes to start the second half, quickly spiraling the quarterback's perfect record against the Colts toward extinction.
The Patriots first series of the second half took all of 29 seconds from the first snap to the fourth-down snap to punter Josh Miller, as Tom Brady misfired on three consecutive passes.
Peyton was right back at it again as the two-time MVP engineered an 11-play, 60-yard series highlighted by his own 18-yard scramble. On 2nd and 7 Peyton rushed for 4 yards. Manning converted a third-and-6 by running up the middle for 12 yards to the Patriots' 24.
Manning entered the season with 16 rushing yards on 15 carries. The 12-yarder equaled a season best.
The longest run of his career was 33 yards for a touchdown on a naked bootleg at Buffalo in 2001.
Harrison made several pass plays as Stokley caught one for 13 yards. Edge pounded the rest of the field.
On 1st and 4 Rhodes rushed up the middle for a touchdown, and the Colts led 28-7.
The Patriots had a nice mix of run and pass on the next drive, as they marched 73 yards in just 8 plays. Brady hit Daniel Graham with a screen pass, and Graham rumbled 31 yards into the end zone, cutting the Indianapolis lead to 28-14.
This is how desperate it got for New England: After the Patriots scored in the third quarter to pull within 28-14, the so called smartest man in football, Bill Belichick, turned a little bit dumb. He tried an onside kick, which failed miserably.
The Colts' Joseph Jefferson noticed that Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri teed the ball up differently and alerted teammates that an onside kick appeared forthcoming. The ball bounced just eight yards, two shorter than mandatory, but Jefferson didn't hesitate, returning it 11 yards.
"All night he was teeing it up closer to the right hash, but this time it was more to the left," Jefferson said. "I said, 'They're not going to kick it deep."
The Patriots were hit with a 5-yard penalty for the short kick, which was tacked on to the return and brought the ball to the England 22 with 5:48 remaining in the third quarter
What in the hell was Bill thinking?
When asked to explain his thought process in calling for the onside kick, coach Bill Belichick answered, ''Try to get the ball. Trying to come up with the ball."
"We were down," Belichick said in what was a short, terse press conference. "I was trying to get the ball."
When pressed, Belichick tersely added, ''I can't make any more out of it than what I said it was."
"Our offense was rolling pretty well and they thought they needed a momentum-changer," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "It was a play that killed the momentum for them."
Four plays later, Mike Vanderjagt kicked a 35-yard field goal to push Indianapolis further ahead, 31-14.
After Brady threw 2 incomplete passes. One of them on a 4th and 4. The Patriots turned the ball over to The Colts leading to another Vanderjagt field goal. Now 34 - 14, Colts going into the 4th quarter.
New England made it a two score game with a 19-yard Brady to Troy Brown touchdown. But at that point they were too far behind. The scoring drive started at the New England 31 and took 9 plays. Branch started things off with a 17-yard catch and later had a 10-yarder down to the Colts 19. The Brown scoring play was a low ball from Brady that Brown caught and then literally rolled into the end zone with before he was touched.
"I should have challenged it," Dungy said. "We weren't going to need the timeout or the challenge. In hindsight, it probably was not a good play on my part."
Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy was tempted to challenge New England's final touchdown and then he wished he had after seeing replays.
As Patriots receiver Troy Brown caught a low pass and rolled into the end zone for a 19-yard score. Colts rookie cornerback Marlin Jackson immediately waved incomplete, suggesting the ball hit the ground as it was being secured. A replay showed the ball did hit the ground, but it wasn't video that Dungy's coaches viewed in time.
"When I saw it (initially), I didn't think he caught the ball, but you've got to go on what the replay has, so I'm talking to the guys upstairs and what are they showing? Did it look like the ball hit the ground?" Dungy said. "They just saw one replay very quickly before the (point after touchdown) and that looked like he got it."
Once another play is run, the previous one cannot be reviewed.
"After the PAT, I guess there were a couple more that showed that it hit the ground," Dungy said.
It's an old gripe Dungy has with instant replay, that a game's outcome can hinge on television and the quality of replays.
"You're at the whim of the (TV) producer of the game and if they're showing reaction shots or crowd or whatever, you don't always get the shots you need," Dungy said.
With the lead now 34-21, the
Colts refused to let the Patriots get any closer. They marched 74
yards in just 7 plays, when Manning iced Indianapolis' victory with
an on-the-run throw that descended directly into Harrison's hands in
the end zone despite tight coverage by Asante Samuel with 5:53 left
in the game.
Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison react to Harrison's fourth-quarter touchdown catch.
The Colts lined up to go for two points when Patriots coach Bill Belichick responded by throwing the red challenge beanbag, twice.
After throwing the flag once, referees consulted with Belichick and advised there was no challenge. Peyton had to remind the Officials of the rules indicating Belichicks actions constitutes in a penalty.
As to what he was challenging, nobody quite knew. Perhaps in frustration. There was NO DOUBT in anybodies mind that Marvin Harrison made a BEAUTIFULL CATCH in the Patriots face!
Take a look . . .
After much conversation near the Patriots' sideline, Belichick challenged the touchdown catch.
The play stood as replay showed that Colts receiver Marvin Harrison caught the pass.
I think most folks expected a contrasting quote from Belichick showing remorse for wasting everyone's time with his hanky-panky where he stalled the game after a Colts touchdown, but I haven't found one yet. He obviously doesn't mind playing the part of the grousing buffoon on national television.
Perhaps Bill did it to stop the Colts momentum of The Patriots humiliation, which did work as The Colts missed on the 2 point conversion.
It looked disrespectful, but Colts head coach Tony Dungy had a perfectly legitimate reason for attempting a two-point conversion with five minutes left and the Colts up by 20 last night.
He's seen a team come back from such a dire predicament - his own.
The Colts beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a memorable Monday night game last season despite trailing by 21 points with just over three minutes left. So Dungy wasn't taking any chances with the Patriots.
"We won a game when we were down 21 points on Monday night," Dungy said after his team's 40-21 win. "At that point (last night), we're 20 points ahead. We just wanted to get to 21. That was the only reason for that."
"It wasn't disrespectful," said Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. "If they went for one they'd only be up 20. You make it a three-possession football game. That's about the only play they didn't convert."
Patriots handled the ball for 34 seconds as again Brady threw incomplete passes.
Tom Brady left the field
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shouts in frustration while leaving the field during the final minutes of the Patriots 40-21 loss to the Indianapolios Colts at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Monday, Nov. 7, 2005.
The Colts ran down the clock with actually having to use Hunter Smith for the first time and punt it away.
Things got so bad that backup quarterback Doug Flutie was brought in for Brady's mop-up duty for the final 1:03, his first action of the season, and first as a Patriot since 1989. Fittingly, on the game's final play, Robert Mathis sacked Flutie, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Montae Reagor.
Flutie completing 3-of-7 passes for 20 yards. He hadn't played for the Pats since Dec. 3, 1989.
Here' what Tom Brady was
doing while Flutie was playing.
Patriots wake up next morning to a harsh reality:
Their championship aura is gone.
End of story.
AFTER THE GAME
The Colts never let up and never gave New England a chance to recover, converting 12-of-17 times on third down.
"We didn't match up to the Colts in any aspect of the game,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said.
What Indianapolis left behind was an unusually angry Patriots team - one that, as Tom Brady put it, got its "butt kicked." The unsettling loss featured many of the same old problems. New England's front seven rarely had an effective pass rush, and the secondary was in shambles, with cornerbacks Duane Starks and Asante Samuel surrendering several big plays.
It was the kind of bitter defeat that left even Brady at a loss for words.
One night after his heart-to-heart interview on "60 Minutes" aired nationally, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's postgame meeting with the media lasted less than 60 seconds, as an uncharacteristic - normally egotistic Brady made a short and snappy statement and took no questions.
"I don't have much to say," Brady said. "We got our butts kicked, and we need to play better and we've got to fight hard. And give all the credit to the Colts. They played really well. I think we just made too many mistakes.
There's a lot of football left. We're 4-4, we've got a lot of division games and, hopefully, we can turn it around. But the Colts certainly outplayed us. They were the better team tonight, and that's it."
New England quarterback Tom Brady meets Colts quarterback Peyton Manning at midfield to shake hands after the game.
Bill Belichick answered eight questions with terse, angry answers.
''Well, obviously we didn't match up very well to the Colts in any aspect of the game, They completely outplayed us," Pats coach Bill Belichick said. "I don't know what else to say."
''They outplayed us. They outcoached us. They were better than we were as a football team tonight."
''No passion," receiver Troy Brown said. ''We got it handed to us. Any which way you can name it, we got beat. We just got our heads kicked in. I don't know what other way to describe it.
''Just no passion. Across the board, everybody. How many ever people we had out there . . . across the board."
"We just didn't go out and execute our plays," wide receiver Deion Branch said. "We didn't do a good job of executing our plays and answering back when they scored." When they scored a touchdown, we should have went back out there and scored, and we didn't do that. It was one of those games where we couldn't leave any points on the field and we left points on the field."
''Of course it's embarrassing,'' safety Eugene Wilson said. ''No one wants to lose like that.''
"It's pitiful. It's embarrassing," linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said. "We've got to get it right and we've got to get it right fast.
They showed why they're pretty much the best team in the league."
Below was found on The New England Patriots Official Website
The following players offered comments from the Patriots locker room after the 40-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium.
Duane Starks, Cornerback
(On Defensive play)
Some of everything happened out there. It was obvious. Just turn on the film and look at it and see what happened. Basically, we were outplayed. In every aspect of the game, we were outplayed. I think we got a lot of things done that we were supposed to get done. It just didn't happen the way it was supposed to happen. Basically it seems like there is a problem that needs to be fixed and it doesn't lie with one person. No one individual is the reason this is happening. It's just collectively as group we need to come together.
Deion Branch, Wide Receiver
(On the fumble)
It came at a critical time in the game, because we had something going. We were going in to score, but those things happen, turnovers and stuff happens. We didn't do a good job of coming back from that and score. You can look at a lot of different things. We didn't do to well on third downs. You just can't pinpoint that one play, even though it was critical at the time. There were also a couple of penalties that set us back and stopped us from driving the ball.
They did a great job of scouting the team. We take pride in our offensive and like I said we didn't do a good job at least trying to keep the defense off of the field.
Tedy Bruschi, Linebacker
We have played each other a lot before and this is almost like a divisional opponent. We thought we were prepared coming in, but what they did out there was impressive. They were able to move the ball on us and put a lot of points on the board. We wanted to put a good performance out there for our fans and always win at home. We have to say 'good job' to them and I don't want to make any excuses. They made the plays and we didn't.
Eugene Wilson, Safety
(On the play of the Colts offense)
They just always had the right answers. There is not much more you can say about it, they made all the right plays. They just had a lot of good plays out there and we got beat. It seemed like he (Manning) had all the right answers. He went to places where we were soft and he did a good job of making checks and running that offense. I wouldn't say what they did was different (than in the past).
(On the onside kick)
I think we were just trying to catch them off guard and it didn't work out for us.
Rosevelt Colvin, Linebacker
(On the game)
They came out and did what they wanted to do from the first play on. You can't play defense like that, give up 42 points and then expect to win any games. We are back on that roller coaster. Up and down, up and down. We have to get off of it if we expect to move forward anytime soon. It was pitiful, embarrassing. We have got to get it right and we have got to get it right fast.
(On the third down defense)
They (the Colts) showed a lot of what they are and obviously we were not playing good enough to give ourselves any opportunities to turn the ball back to the offense.
Chad Brown, Linebacker
(On the Colts offense)
I have got to watch the film; it is difficult to say (what went wrong). Their offense was pretty similar to what it has been the last couple of years. But without watching the film, I am not sure if it was any new wrinkles that hurt us. We paid attention to both (the pass and run) because obviously they can hurt you both ways.
The beleaguered Starks, benched in the second half, did not duck a question or make excuses, but he didn't make plays, either.
Asked if he felt he was being scapegoated, Starks said, ''I'm just doing what the coaches ask me to do. I can't do anything else ... Basically, it seems like there's a problem that needs to be fixed. And it don't lie with one person, you know?''
Linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, asked by a TV interviewer if he felt sorry for Starks, given what he's going through, said, ''I don't know what Duane's going through. I try to hold up my end of the bargain.''
It wasn't all Starks' fault last night.
In fact, Gay was benched, too. He started the game at strong safety in place of the just-released Arturo Freeman. When Starks was banished, Gay moved to cornerback but was removed in favor of rookie Ellis Hobbs in the fourth quarter. Gay's crime (unless he reinjured his ankle): After the Patriots had pulled within 34-21 on Troy Brown's 19-yard TD catch with 10:22 remaining, Manning came out firing on the ensuing possession, immediately hitting Wayne for gains of 18 and 12 yards on consecutive plays at Gay's expense.
If you're looking for other culprits, there was Samuel, who let Harrison beat him deep twice (on a 48-yard bomb and a 30-yard TD) and outjump him on a fade pattern for a 1-yard score that capped the night's opening drive.
Or, how about defensive coordinator Eric Mangini?
True, he's lost Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole, Chad Scott and Guss Scott for the season. And Seymour has missed four straight games. But have the Patriots ever seemed so helpless on defense? What's worse, have they ever seemed so confused?
Four times last night they got caught with the wrong personnel on the field. Once it cost them a penalty that handed Indy a first-and-goal in the third quarter.
With the Colts now 8-0 and owners of five road wins already, it's their turn to talk. This truly is a team that has plenty to offer, with an offensive balance that's unmatched in previous years and a defense that thrives on pressure and playmaking.
Even if he wouldn't admit it, there did appear to a huge weight lifted off Manning's shoulders. You could tell by his demeanor, the smile on his face, the excited way he tackled each question. But he knows the score. He knows this was just one step along the road. This was nothing more than a regular-season game. He knows he still has to deliver the goods later, the same way Tom Brady has. That's what John Elway had to do before he was fully validated in the eyes of many.
"This was not a playoff game. But hey, I'm very content to have won this game," Manning said. "This feels good, and obviously, doing this press conference, there have been some low moments doing this press conference in this room the past few times we've been here. So it feels much better. But we have to keep it in perspective. We have bigger goals we want to accomplish."
Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy's postgame speech predictable.
"I told our guys in
the locker room, Pittsburgh beat these guys last year in the regular
season and couldn't do it in the playoffs," Dungy said. "Week
9 doesn't really guarantee you anything."
The Colts controlled the ball for almost 37 minutes
The Colts had the ball for 13 more minutes than the Patriots, and ran 21 more plays
Indy didn't punt until the final 2 minutes of the game, simply due to using their first 3 downs to run down the clock. Didn't really need to score anymore, you think?
They converted 71 percent of their third downs and 100 percent of their fourth downs. They gained more yards than the Pats, 453-288, and averaged 6 yards per play.
The win made Colts coach Tony Dungy 51-0 when his team has led by at least 14 points.
The 40 points are the most ever scored by the Colts against the Patriots
The Colts have scored 30-plus points in six of their last eight Monday night games
The victory enabled the Colts to become just the 24th team in the NFL's 86-year history to open a season 8-0.
It also put to rest a futility here against the Patriots that dated to 1995 and encompassed nine games for the team. Manning, who started playing here in 1998, had been 0-7.
Manning completed 28-of-37 (75.7 percent) passes for 321 yards and recorded his first 300- yard effort of the season. If he continues at his current pace, Manning will threaten Ken Anderson's single-season league record. The former Cincinnati Bengals standout completed 70.6 percent of his passes in 1982.
Harrison and Reggie Wayne each had nine receptions and each had more than 120 yards receiving.
Marvin Harrison caught nine
passes for 128 games and two scores.
Edgerrin James churned out 104 yards on 34 carries and scored a touchdown. The Colts are 40-6 when James reaches the century mark, including 6-0 this season.
James moved into 10th place all-time in 100-yard rushing games with 46, moving past Tony Dorsett
Move over, Cowboys . . .
For the 20th time in their careers, Harrison and running back Edgerrin James each eclipsed 100 yards in respective receiving and rushing categories in the same game. That ties retired Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for most by a duo in NFL history.
James and Harrison needed just 88 games to get to 20 while the Cowboys took 124 games. James ran for 104 yards while Harrison caught nine passes for 128 yards.
It's also just the 12th time in Colts history that a quarterback has passed for 300 yards, a back has run for 100 and two receivers have had 100 yards receiving in the same game. Peyton Manning threw for 321 yards and Reggie Wayne had nine catches for 124 yards.
The last time the Colts hit the 300-100-100-100 mark was in a 51-24 home victory over Tennessee on Dec. 5, 2004. Manning passed for 425, James ran for 105, Brandon Stokley had 153 yards receiving and Harrison added 106 yards in catches.
Robert Mathis, on the final play of the game, sacked backup quarterback Doug Flutie to keep his streak alive. He has registered at least one sack in each of the first eight games this season to extend his franchise record.
The Patriots hosted their first Monday night game since 2002
Tom Brady completed 22-of-33 passes for 265 yards and three scores for the Patriots
Brady fell to 6-1 all-time against the Colts.
Brady was hot in the first half (10 of 10 for 105 yards), but outdueled overall by Manning, who completed 28 of 37 passes. Brady was just 12 for 23 in the second half, and couldn't keep answering the high-powered Colts.
Corey Dillon was held to 40 yards on 12 rushes
New England is a game ahead of Buffalo and Miami in the AFC East and will play on the road against the Dolphins next Sunday
Patriots (4-4) were trying to rally, they were the inferior team.
That mediocre record is good enough to lead the AFC East. It doesn't put them within shouting distance of the Colts, who looked mature, savvy and resourceful!
Were they located anywhere but the AFC East, where their 4-4 record has them in first place with a one-game lead, the Patriots wouldn't even have much of a shot at an AFC playoff berth.
Defensively, this team appears gutted behind the linebackers. Luckily for them, there's hardly an offense remaining on their schedule close to that of the Colts': at Dolphins, vs. New Orleans, at Kansas City, vs. Jets, at Buffalo, vs. Tampa Bay, at Jets, vs. Dolphins. Other than the Chiefs, which of those teams might pose trouble to the Patriots secondary and defense as a whole? Suddenly, a 4-4 record atop the new worst division in football doesn't look like such a bad position in which to be.
Half the season has yet to be played, but the map appears clear. The Pats can still win the AFC East, but what will that get them? A first-round home playoff date and then, if they somehow win, a trip to a place like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Denver. That's if they're lucky. If they're unlucky, they'll go to Indy first and just get it over with and go home 2005 losers!
14 Total rushing attempts by the Patriots that netted 34 yards.
34 Total rushing attempts by Indianapolis' Edgerrin James that netted 104 yards.
7 Kickoff returns by New England's Bethel Johnson, who had a busy night.
1 Total of punts by the Colts in the game.
321 Passing yards by Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.
453 Total net yards accumulated by the Colts offense.
36:41 Time of possession by the Colts.
AFC recognizes Manning for beating Patriots
As if beating the New England Patriots weren't reward enough for a trip to Foxborough, Mass., Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning received a bonus from the league today.
Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the Colts' 40-21 victory. He had lost all seven previous trips to Foxborough and had won only two of 12 games against the Patriots.
It marks the 12th time Manning has earned the weekly award, the first this season. He is the fourth Colts player to win a weekly award this season, joining linebacker Gary Brackett, defensive end Robert Mathis and punter Hunter Smith.
The march toward perfection continues this Sunday with a visit from the Houston Texans. Houston is one of two NFL teams with just one victory this season (Green Bay).
The Texans were Indy's last opponent before the bye and they were in the game until the second half. The score was 14-14 at the break but the second half was dominated by the Colts, who scored 24 unanswered points to break the game open in a 38-20 victory. They also held the Texans to minus-four yards of offense in the second half.
The Colts have never lost to the Texans in seven all-time meetings, outscoring them by a combined 202-92.
Don't look now, but the Indianapolis Colts are halfway home.
To perfection, that is.
Monday night's victory over the New England Patriots boosted the Colts' record to a franchise-best 8-0.
The Colts have the overall balance (record-setting offense, solid defense, above-average special teams) to make a run at finishing unbeaten. Nearly as important, they have the right attitude. While the Patriots' fans rained insults, taunts and expletives on the Colts as they exited the field Monday night, the players kept their eyes straight ahead.
No team has gone unbeaten since the Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in the 1972 regular season. They ran the table in a 14-game regular season, then won three playoff games, capping a 17-0 season with a 14-7 victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII.
However, just because something hasn't been done in a long time doesn't mean it's impossible.
Take the Red Sox. Or the White Sox. Or, in the case of the Colts, the blue socks.
Can the Colts go undefeated? What's the harm in looking ahead?
Five of the remaining eight games are in the RCA Dome. A couple of opponents (Houston and Arizona), the Colts could beat with Jim Sorgi throwing to Aaron Moorehead.
Here's what awaits the Colts, including each opponent's current record:
Sunday: Houston (1-7)
Unless the Texans have secretly reinforced their personnel, this AFC South rematch will be a divisional rerun. The Colts whipped them 38-20 on Oct. 23 in Houston, and should complete the sweep.
Nov. 20: at Cincinnati (7-2)
Finally, the I-74 series takes on meaning. As good as the Colts' defense has been, the Bengals will test it with quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Chad Johnson and running back Rudi Johnson.
Nov. 28: Pittsburgh (6-2)
The third of three appearances on ABC's "Monday Night Football.'' Regardless of the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers will run, run, run. That is, unless the Colts stand firm.
Dec. 4: Tennessee (2-7)
Remember when this series carried postseason ramifications? The Titans still play full tilt, but injuries and personnel changes have reduced them to non-factors.
Dec. 11: at Jacksonville (5-3)
Either the Colts will wrap up their third straight AFC South title, or the Jaguars will keep the door slightly ajar.
Dec. 18: San Diego (5-4)
Last year's game was a classic -- a 34-31 overtime win with Peyton Manning breaking Dan Marino's single-season TD record. Should be another breathtaking offensive display featuring two legitimate MVP candidates in Colts running back Edgerrin James and Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Dec. 24: at Seattle (6-2)
Christmas Eve in the Great Northwest. The Seahawks should have NFC West title wrapped up, and James and Shaun Alexander might be vying for the league rushing title.
Jan. 1: Arizona (2-6)
If it comes down to this, imagine Tony Dungy's dilemma. With home-field advantage in AFC playoffs and a first-round bye secure, does he play his regulars just to ensure an undefeated regular season? No? How many chances does a franchise get to go 16-0?
Wayne's head hit the ground hard after a failed two-point conversion pass in the fourth quarter, but Dungy said he thought the receiver would be OK based on a preliminary report.
The coach said the same about reserve linebacker Rob Morris, who hit his head on special teams. The only other injury Dungy mentioned was right guard Jake Scott, who suffered back spasms but finished the game. Scott is not expected to miss significant time.
The status of safety Mike Doss, linebacker Rob Morris and defensive tackle Jonathan Welsh for Sunday's game with Houston won't be determined until later this week.
Doss had his right arm in a sling and was scheduled to get a second medical opinion on his shoulder. Dungy said Morris was experiencing a problem with his balance that was not related to a blow to the head he sustained in Monday's game.
"When he feels better, he'll be ready to go,'' Dungy said.
Welsh, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury during individual drills Wednesday. A magnetic resonance imaging test was to be taken Wednesday night to determine the severity of the injury.
Also among those missing Wednesday's practice were defensive ends Robert Mathis (toe) and Josh Thomas (chest), offensive tackle Jake Scott (back), defensive tackle Vincent Burns (shoulder) and linebacker Cato June (groin/knee).
Two Players Return
Defensive tackle Josh Williams and cornerback Von Hutchins practiced for the first time Wednesday. Each is on the team's "physically unable to perform" list. Williams had surgery to repair a double sports hernia and address a shoulder injury; Hutchins had foot surgery prior to training camp.
The team now has three weeks to either add Williams and Hutchins to the active roster or leave them on PUP for the remainder of the season.
Williams' activation might occur at the end of this week considering the uncertainty of Welsh, Burns and Thomas.
The team also has to make a decision on rookie linebacker Tyjuan Hagler. He has been on PUP all season and started practicing three weeks ago. If he's added to the 53-player roster, another player would have to be released.
Colts at Patriots
Story Line with Photos Scoring Summary Game Notes Preview
NFL is saving the best for last in Week 9
The idea for the Indianapolis
Colts is to head to Foxborough, Mass.,
Who are The Patriots?
New England hardly resembles the team that handled Philadelphia nine months ago in Super Bowl XXXIX. That squad blended quarterback Tom Brady's efficient, ball-control offense with an opportunistic, stingy defense. Now Brady is on pace to throw 608 passes. Running back Corey Dillon is averaging just 54.8 yards per game and 3.4 yards per attempt. The defense ranks No. 25 in total yards allowed and No. 28 in points. The Patriots have yielded 164 points in six games. Last year, they allowed 90 in their first six. Offseason personnel moves and in-season injuries have taken a toll.
Patriots' linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
Who are The Colts?
Peyton Manning is coming off the most prolific season by any quarterback in NFL history and has the Colts off to a better start this season than even Johnny Unitas ever managed.
The biggest change for the Colts from years past is, obviously, their much-improved defense. They continue to lead the league in scoring defense, allowing only 11 points per game. At no point during Peyton Manning's career, which began in 1998, have the Colts allowed fewer than 19 points per game. This proficiency on defense will serve them well later on in the season, as the games and situations get tighter and tighter.
There is no doubt that the Colts have been the better team through the season's first two months while The Patriots have faltered.
The Colts can become just the 12th team since 1970 and the 23rd in the 86-year history of the NFL to open a season 8-0 when they meet New England on Monday night at Foxborough, Mass.
Another Colts Record?
The Dolphins' 17-0 season in
1972 was a great accomplishment that could never be matched.
The remainder of the Colts
schedule works in Indy's favor. Five of the team's final eight games
will be played at home in the RCA Dome, where they are guaranteed not
to have to deal with unfriendly noise or inclement weather, plus all
the ordinary comforts of playing a home game.
The only two possible bad-weather games remaining are at Cincinnati in November and at Seattle on Christmas Eve. While both of those locales can feature nasty weather, those opponents have not proven themselves consistently, and can't even compare in big-game experience to the Colts.
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