"Revenge is a dish best served cold. It is very cold in space."
-Khan discussing his plan for revenge in the film "Star Trek 2; The Wrath of Khan"
Not much in the Financial world going on today. I would like to be a fly on the wall during the Citi emergency board meeting tomorrow though! I am going to do a football preview tonight, so if football is not your thing, I apologise. I would recommend checking out the amazing web site Damn Interesting which is linked on the left in the must read banner. All kinds of little known facts, events, and history that I get lost reading whenever I stop there. Highly recommended.
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
I am not objective in this situation. The Patriots have been my favorite team for some time. The character and determination they exhibit year in, year out is inspirational. Never before in the history of the league has a team been so well coached and so focused that they were able to win 3 Superbowl titles with talent that at best would qualify as middle of the pack. This year is different, as the Patriots have true superstars to complement Tom Brady. The results thus far are a testament to how good this team is. That is my full disclosure up front.
2007 AFC Title Game
Everything you need to know about this game goes back to last years AFC title game at the RCA dome. The Patriots had squeaked by a truly dangerous team, last years San Diego Chargers, through sheer force of will. The Patriots hung around and fought so hard for so long in that game the Chargers finally wilted and lost. The Chargers were easily the best in the league last year. Had they won, they would have steamrolled the Colts in the title game.
The Patriots were a bit beat up after the San Diego tilt, and a flu had gone around the team during the prep week. The Colts were coming off a tough game themselves, outlasting the Baltimore Ravens 15-6 in game where the Ravens dominated both lines of scrimmage, but could not score any points to save their lives.
The game started out hot, with the Patriots jumping all over the Colts, who are a slow starting team historically. Into the second quarter it became obvious that the Patriots were dominating both lines of scrimmage, and had been able to get some points on the board. A late 2nd quarter interception of Manning returned for a touchdown made it 21-3. The colts were able to get another field goal before the half making it 21-6.
Now I will explain what has driven the Patriots insane for the last year. During halftime the decision was made to switch from a pressure defense using the linebackers in blitzes and bump and run coverage to a more soft 2 deep zone defense. I cannot know the motivation for this change. Perhaps the defense was a bit tired from the last game. Perhaps the flu had made them able to go all out for only 1 half. perhaps they thought the clock that this defensive set would run off would shorten the game enough to win. I have no idea why they did this.
The 3rd quarter opened with a ridiculous 87 yard drive by the Colts for a touchdown that was all underneath crap passing that the 2 deep zone allows. The drive took almost 9 MINUTES! The Patriots defense was visibly exhausted by this drive. With the score at 21-13, things were still in hand. The Patriot offense could not help the defense, as they went 3 and out. The game got pretty wild from there, but again the decision to play a prevent defense in the 2nd half effectively allowed the Colts to play their game, and the Patriots to play passive which is not their style.
All told, the Patriots still could have sealed the game, but Reche Caldwell dropped a sure touchdown pass late in the 4th quarter when a broken coverage by the Colts left him uncovered. With a stalled offense, and an exhausted defense, the Patriots lost the game 38-34.
The Patriots want this game. They have thought of nothing else for nearly a year. The additions of Welker and Stallworth on offense were aimed at punishing the Colt corners. Adalius Thomas was added to shore up the middle of the field. And finally, Randy Moss was acquired to give Tom Brady what he has never had, a bonafied deep threat. All the pieces are in place.
All the talk about running up the score ignores the fact that last years loss was the largest ever comeback in AFC title history. I am not saying its a possibility that a team would come back from 40 plus points down like many have been this season, but it is a new psychology with the Patriots. If they get up on a team they are going to put the pedal down all the way the whole game so that never happens again. The scoring of tons of points, and not accidentally 52 points the game before facing the Colts, is a clear declaration to the Colts that they will have to score tons of points.
Its hard to know how the game will play out. I think the Patriots are going to run Maroney tons in this game. I think the Colts can stick with the Patriots for the 1st half. I think as the game goes on, the deep patterns the Patriots will keep running will take a toll on the Colt defense, and late in the game the Pats will run away with it.
Final Score: Patriots 42 Colts 31
In the Revenge theme, I have included the final scene from the film "Unforgiven". The Patriots are going into the RCA tomorrow and they want to know who owns it:
Have a good night.