Kill Bill?

Oh the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair! The Pats were within mere ticks of the clock of beating their archrival Colts, not to mention spoiling their hitherto perfect season but they blew it on a failed fourth down conversion. And it’s all Bill’s fault.

Hold on.

I agree, it was a helluva risky call. With about two feet to go, and deep in their own territory, the penalties for not completing the play were harsh: the Colts, rich with time-outs, would regain possession almost in the red zone. In that case, the winning touchdown was nearly inevitable. Why take such a chance?

But think about it. If you were coaching a team – name any team – facing such a situation with Tom Brady on the other side of the scrimmage line, what would you do? Tom Brady could be standing in his own end zone and with nearly two minutes to go, nobody would bet against his ability to march the ball down the field and make that necessary score. With time to spare.

Of course, those of us die-hard Patriots seem incapable of imbuing any other quarterback with Tom’s magic, but if there were one who could invoke the same nightmare scenario, it would be Peyton Manning. Punt the ball into next week and Manning, with enough time, could get it home.

Belichick’s decision was dangerous, yes, but not stupid. It was a calculated gamble, one that unfortunately didn’t pay off. Had it succeeded, Patriot’s Nation would be gleefully proclaiming that we knew all along he could do it.

Great coaches, and great teams, don’t play it safe. They don’t play it dumb either but that’s not what this was. Let’s all hope for the rule of unintended consequences to kick in. Forget playoff home field advantage for a minute. Let’s imagine that this heartbreaking loss has made the competitive fires burn even more fiercely. Let’s hope that the lesson learned is to avoid being in such a situation in the first place. A game was lost but not the season, and when payback comes, as it will, it will be all the sweeter.

© Peaco Todd


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4 Responses to “Kill Bill?”

  1. Lisa Tener says:

    I was in a plane returning from a conference in Las Vegas when we heard the sad news. How fitting to read your analysis about Belichik’s calculated gamble considering where I’d just been. It’s not easy to take our emotions out of the game, but you do a great job of just that.

  2. Andy says:

    The 4th and 2 call was definitely all or nothing, I don’t mind the call Belichick made. I don’t think it was lack of confidence in his defense as much as more confidence in his offense. And it is Peyton, he would’ve went 65 yards as easy as he went the 30 or so.

    Hope they meet again in the playoffs.

  3. Dennis says:

    It wasn’t the call that lost the game, it was the two turnovers that should have been TD’s!

  4. chad says:

    I am in full agreement with Belichicks decision to go for it on fourth. I believe kevin faulk first of all made the first down, and got a bad ball spot, and then that the right decision was made to go for it on fourth. I take my chances with arguably the greatest passing attack in the league to get me 2 or 3 yards. You cannot give Payton Manning 2+ minutes to finish a game. Our defense may have been solid in the first half, but the opposite should be said in the second.Overall i believe Belichick made a great gusty decision that most coaches wouldnt have the balls to make, and that will win the patriots tight games and get them to and through the playoffs to contest in Miami in February.

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