Brady. Manning. No further explanation needed. Let’s get it.
8:15 – You’ll never see a broadcast crew this excited to do a game. Al Michaels seems downright giddy doing the intro, giving the obligatory heavyweight fight reference.
8:30 – Andrea Kremer does a poll of the 20 living Hall of Fame quarterbacks to see who they favor, Brady or Manning. The Tennessee Vol wins in a landslide 13.5 to 2.5 with four refusing to choose. It is explained that the half is represented by Joe Montana taking the ultimate high road by saying he’d have them each quarterback a half. Geez Joe. Just pick one.
8:36 – Anytime where you get the media clubbing you over the head regarding how great the quarterback play is going to be, the defenses will likely leave an imprint on this game. Manning’s first drive…three and out….Brady’s first drive…three and out. Let the games begin.
8:47 – After Lord Belichick loses a challenge on a Reggie Wayne reception, the Colts quickly take advantage. On a third and 11, the Pats look to have the Colts in trouble but a simple screen pass to Joseph Addai results in the evening’s first points. In other news, some pyro goes awry landing on the field, which draws the ire of Michaels. “Don’t get me started on indoors fireworks.” Well, yeah. Not exactly the brightest of manuevers. COLTS 7, PATRIOTS 0.
8:55 – JIM CALDWELL EXISTS!!! Looking very unhappy….
8:57 – Caldwell’s look foreshadowed the events to come. Brady hits Moss on a sweet 55 yard rocket deep into Colts territory. Laurence Maroney finishes off the drive with a short touchdown run. COLTS 7, PATRIOTS 7. By the way, I’d certainly hope the Colts don’t continue that level of coverage against Moss. After all, it’s probably wise to cover him.
9:10 – A briskly played first quarter ends with the Pats on the move thanks to a 29 yard run by Kevin Faulk and another Brady to Moss connection. I like Faulk but if he’s breaking off a 29 yard run against this Colts defense, I’d be a bit concerned about their long term prospects this season. END OF FIRST QUARTER – COLTS 7, PATRIOTS 7
9:13 – On a 3rd and 4, Brady decides to go to a reliable option…Isaiah Stanback? His joy is short lived though as Brady takes a third down sack from Robert Mathis. New England’s red zone offense leaves a little to be desired still. Stephen Gostowski boots through a field goal to give the lead to New England. PATRIOTS 10, COLTS 7
9:22 – Stanback doesn’t rank in the top five for Tom Brady’s most bizarre targets over the years. Greg Lewis was a decent candidate but watching the NFL Network on Friday night, I noticed two during a re-airing of a New England/Indy game from 2003. How about that Dedric Ward and former San Francisco first round pick J.J. Stokes?!?
9:25 – Brady and Moss, tired of toying with Indy, go big bomb for a 63 yard strike. PATRIOTS 17, COLTS 7. The already one dimensional Colts will soon have to abandon their running game if they can’t get back into this one quickly. Somewhere this young lady is smiling…
9:32 – The Colts are on the ropes after a stop by the Pats. On third down, Manning sees an oncoming Jerrod Mayo and decides to fight another time by ducking for cover quickly. That’s how you avoid trouble Jim Everett. Actually look the pass rusher in the eye.
9:37 – Wow. Brady throwing target practice at this point. After hitting another big pass play, this time to tight end Ben Watson, the ’07 MVP finds Mini-Wes Welker (Julian Edelman) for a touchdown. PATRIOTS 24, COLTS 7. Don’t expect Mr. Belichick to let up. With a leaky and battered Indy secondary (No Sanders or Marlin Jackson), this has the potential to get ugly if the Golden Boy doesn’t turn it around and fast.
9;46 – Almost on cue, the Colts move 80 yards in eight plays to draw closer and end the run of 24 unanswered points. By the way, tonight’s over/under? 38. The winner of this game may have to get into the 40s tonight to win it at this rate. PATRIOTS 24, COLTS 14
9:51 – Much like earlier this season in Arizona, Michaels really enjoys saying the name “Garcon”.
10:01 – Colts start their final drive of the half. Guessing this ends with 3.
10:05 – Color me wrong thanks to a drop by Austin Collie, preceeded by an illegal motion penalty. If Dallas Clark can’t get anything going, there is only but so much Reggie Wayne can do. It appears that Belichick is saying to Colts, “go ahead and beat us with Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie because you’re not doing it with Clark and Wayne.” Touche Bill, touche. HALFTIME – PATRIOTS 24, COLTS 14
10:29 – Brady makes his first big mistake of the game. Going for Moss in the endzone, he gets picked by Antoine Bethea. A huge pay by the Colts safety, who prevented this game from becoming 31-14. Colts better make them pay. Those opportunities don’t grow on trees.
10:32 – Well, so much for that…Manning gets intercepted by Leigh Bodden on a ball that looked like it was shot with a rifle in mid-air. Belichick is amazing. Bodden played for the 0-16 Lions one season ago. Now, he is a part of a patchwork but solid New England secondary.
10:45 – The game of living dangerously for the Colts continues. Heading into the endzone Laurence Maroney coughs it up. This game should have been over in the second quarter.
10:51 – I’m probably going to rue the day I typed this but here goes…I just don’t think the Colts are THAT good. As I type this Wes Welker sets up another potential scoring drive by with a long punt return…PATRIOTS 24, COLTS 14…END OF THE THIRD.
10:55 – Brady to Moss from five yards out. Goodnight folks. I know it’s easy to say now because he’s winning the game but Brady is the quarterback of the decade, period. Brady has three rings, has beaten Manning in head to head battles and with the exception of 2007 on, did so with mostly inferior offensive talent. PATRIOTS 31, COLTS 14
11:02 – The Colts answer awfully quick with a Manning to Garcon connection. PATRIOTS 31, COLTS 21. In other Garcon related news, his Mount Union College Purple Raiders made it to the NCAA Division III football tournament with an undefeated record once more. Expect chaos and mayhem to ensue as they gallop their way towards another national championship.
11:12 – Down 10 with seven minutes left, Manning and Wayne miscommunication leads to Peyton’s second interception of the night. Jon Wilhite sets up shop for the Pats as they try to apply another death blow to the Colts.
11:20 – The Colts win that battle…sort of. The Pats have to settle for a field goal. Both of these teams have warts (New England’s inability to finish drives in the redzone; Indy’s lack of number two receiver) but New England seems to have fewer. PATRIOTS 34, COLTS 21
11:27 – On the proverbial bicycle and in chase mode for most of the game, the Colts promptly get the ball back and punch it in thanks to a pass interference call and Joe Addai. Well, I guess this game had to come down to the final two minutes. PATRIOTS 34, COLTS 28
11:32 – OH DEAR GOD…NEW ENGLAND IS GOING FOR IT ON THEIR 28!!!!
11:34 – Faulk catches the ball past the sticks but juggles and in the process loses the first down according to officials. Oh boy. Since it’s before the two-minute warning, the Pats have to challenge the play and they can’t since they blew their timeouts in the fourth quarter. WOW.
11:37 – Oh my. Colts ball.
11:39 – Pats blew it. COLTS 35, PATRIOTS 34 courtesy of Reggie Wayne.
11:42 – If Bill Simmons’ book tour allows it, get ready. He is not going to be a happy camper. What a game. The legend of Belichick took a hit tonight. No one expected him to pull a Switzer and he’ll get fire bombed by the national media. Complete theft job by the Colts. An assist from Belichick and then the judge who spotted the Faulk catch.
FINAL SCORE: COLTS 35, PATRIOTS 34.