November 4, 2007


Patriots beat Colts 24-20 in battle of unbeatens (Dave Goldberg, 11/04/07, AP)

New England, which had been averaging more than 41 points a game and had beaten eight opponents by an average of more than 25 points, trailed 20-10 after Peyton Manning scored on a 1-yard sneak with 9 minutes and 42 seconds left in the game.

However, Brady's 55-yard completion to Randy Moss set up a 3-yard TD pass to Wes Welker. Rosevelt Colvin knocked the ball loose from Manning to force a punt on the next series. Then Brady found Kevin Faulk over the middle for 13 yards for the winning score with 3:15 left.

You'd think the game was popular enough and the NFL had enough experience of getting good ratings with dominant teams--like Jimmy Johnson's Cowboys--that they wouldn't have used the officiating crew to try to keep the Pats from smoking the Colts.

Then the bit at the end -- with the Colts trying to get to Brady when he was taking a knee, rather than run it up -- was just low rent.

10-pack: Forget the Pats, look at the Pack and Lions (Mike Florio, November 4, 2007 , Sporting News)

3. Pats have every right to be upset

Though the Patriots got out of Indy with a 24-20 win, the NFL's lone remaining unbeaten team has every right to be livid about the quality (or lack thereof) of the officiating. The worst calls Sunday involved cases of pass interference.

It started when Colts tight end Dallas Clark mauled Patriots safety Rodney Harrison in the end zone on a ball Harrison might have been able to intercept. No call.

It continued when Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel was flagged for interfering with Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez on a ball that was simply not catchable.

It happened again when New England cornerback Ellis Hobbs was flagged for interference after Indy wideout Reggie Wayne literally tackled him.

The worst call was made in the fourth quarter, with the Patriots driving and trailing by 10. From the Indianapolis 3, Brady threw to Randy Moss in the end zone. When the dust settled, Moss was flagged for offensive pass interference, even though he did nothing that would classify as offensive pass interference. While New England overcame the 10-yard penalty to score, the victory was a lot more difficult than it should have been because of the questionable decisions of the officials.

So what gives? Was it sheer incompetence? Or have the Patriots become the equivalent of the old Raiders in the eyes of the NFL and those who officiate their games?

4. Milli Vanilli moment in Indy?

In the past, teams that have visited the RCA Dome have questioned whether the Colts pipe in artificial crowd noise in an effort to disrupt the road team's offense. Though the Colts have denied any such chicanery (thanks, Tiki), the suspicions remain.

And the suspicions will only grow stronger after Sunday's game against New England. During the first play of the fourth quarter, the noise from the crowd contained a strange effect. It almost sounded like my kid was working the "Whammy Bar" while playing Guitar Hero.

We don't know whether that noise could be heard in the stadium, but it was obvious on CBS' broadcast. And it invites speculation as to whether the Colts are indeed piping in phony music -- and whether there was a malfunction of some sort on Sunday that offered proof of it.

If you aren't cheating you aren't trying, but the refs ought to play it straight.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2007 8:01 PM

Sheesh. I used to think it was just being fans of the Sawx that would bring out that sort of whininess and make them such lousy winners. Instead, there seems to be something endemic in all New England sports and their fans.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 4, 2007 9:47 PM

Sadly the Sox haven't been dominant enough to force fiddling with the rules, but the NBA used to do it to the Celtics, though with official rule changes in the offseason.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2007 10:02 PM

I couldn't watch the game because the local stations were carrying the Browns. (Good game, BTW.)

Brady took a knee instead of running up the score? That's different.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 5, 2007 6:30 AM

What's low rent is what the Pats did to the Jets.

Posted by: Bartman at November 5, 2007 10:08 AM

You mean Mangini did to Belichik, right?

Posted by: oj at November 5, 2007 11:26 AM

Raoul, most of the world feels that way about us Americans too, now that they don't have the Brits to kick around anymore. It's not easy being a dominant winner.

Posted by: Genecis at November 5, 2007 12:57 PM