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Football, Sports

Demons, Exorcised

01.22.07 | Comment?

Colts 38, Patriots 34 – HOLY CRAP what a great game that was! That’s the best AFC Championship I’ve seen since the Steelers beat the Patriots ten years ago, a game that also came down to the last minute (a Colts receiver dropped a game-winning Hail Mary).

When Asante Samuel returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter, the Colts were down 21-3. From that point on, they outscored the Patriots 35-13. Tom Brady played pretty well, but Manning was great. Looks like he’s finally grown a pair.

Although I thought that New England would win, I suspected that this Colts team was different from those of the past few years. Sure, they raced out to a 9-0 record, but they were struggling, winning ugly and winning late. That early adversity toughened them up, and proved to them that they could perform when things weren’t perfect.

Their victory over Baltimore last week only solidified that feeling. They won a game against a tough team without scoring a touchdown, and with Peyton Manning having a subpar day.

Against the Patriots, they won despite the performance of wideouts Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. New England’s secondary pretty much took them out of the game with a spectacular display of one-on-one coverage. Instead it was Dallas Clark and Dominic Rhodes who led the way with big plays down the stretch.

And Manning. Under heavy pressure, behind for most of the game, with Tom Brady standing on the other sideline, Manning resisted the temptation to go deep, to take the big risk, to end the game one way or another. Instead he moved his team steadily down the field, and scored, and scored, and scored. 32 points in the last 30 minutes.

As I said, Brady had a good game, and this is the first time his Patriots teams have just been flat beat. I give him a mulligan for last year’s defeat at the Broncos – he had an injured shoulder and obviously wasn’t right. This time he got his opportunities, but in the end he couldn’t match Manning.

I was rooting for the Patriots throughout, but I have to say I was smiling at the end of the game. Manning and coach Tony Dungy finally answered their critics in the only way that mattered – on the field. Good luck to them.

In the early game, the Saints choked. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Also, the Cowboys will be looking for a new head coach next year now that Parcells has decided to retire. Too bad that Mike Zimmer already took that job in Atlanta, he’d be a good choice. Hopefully we’ll get someone like Russ Grimm, late of Pittsburg. I heard weeks ago that either Terrell Owens would go, or Parcells would, and it looks like that’s the case. Another season of intrigue for the ‘Boys.

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