USA About: Patriots Publish: 12/19/2021 Edit: 12/19/2021 Author: Gardener
The Colts did more than just block the punt and regain it for a touchdown, followed by two turnovers in the second and third quarters. The takeaways came as the product of a defense that flew around the field, laying the wood on several Patriots ball carriers to set the tone for the evening, and twice on two excellent plays by linebackers and intercepts. It wasn't that the Patriots weren't ready to play, but the Colts were certainly the more longing team, and the lead they built came from their greater intensity after kick-off. If the Colts tackle every remaining game as they did on Saturday night, it will be an extremely uphill battle for anyone who gets in their way. We didn't learn that Saturday night because he had already proven it with his game last calendar year, but by the time the game hit the last two minutes, anyone who saw those Colts knew there was exactly one possibility like this Game it could end appropriately: with a Taylor home run to seal the win. Taylor responded by coming out of break with a gallop to victory, missing two Patriots between tackles before breaking out of traffic into daylight (well, artificial lights since it was night) and the race into the end zone won. The 67-yard sprint made it a 170-yard night for the stud running back joining the elite with his season. He helped the Colts take a major victory on Saturday night. It took a while, but Mac Jones finally had a rookie night. Colt's Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus devised an excellent game plan for the prime-time affair, focusing on finishing the run and messing Jones with his athletic linebackers when he fell back to pass. The two interceptions came from this approach and swung the momentum clearly in favor of the Colts, who did not convert the takeaways into touchdowns, but were still able to score points on the board via field goals. Indianapolis' defensive efforts proved invaluable when Bill Belichick showed his hand by scoring a field goal while less than nine minutes from time, 13 points behind, in the hands of Jones, who struggled with it all night to make yourself comfortable. Jones deserves credit for his late comeback endeavor, which included a slap against, but his mistakes and lack of composure at the start of the game ultimately doomed New England. For a rookie who excelled in his first season, a game like this had to happen at some point. Carson Wentz is still Carson Wentz. Wentz's passing line was unremarkable at best, ending with 5 of 12 for 57 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and almost tossing another INT who luckily (for the Colts) had knocked the would-be pick out of his hands. Belichick's decision to score a field goal in fourth field was based on both his lack of confidence in Jones at a key point and his likely belief that Wentz would make another mistake at a crucial point because the Colts quarterback had no evidence had shown he would do anything else. After the pregame show spent some time showing how Frank Reich tried to build Wentz's confidence in film sessions (known to the world via Hard Knocks: In Season), Wentz proved that he was still not built enough to to win a prime. Time game for the Colts. Old habits tend to die hard. New England was struck from the horse; Now you have to prove that you can reassemble it. The Patriots hadn't lost a game since falling 4-2 in October and it looked like they wouldn't fall the rest of the way in one game if they could get past Indianapolis. The Colts had other plans, slapping the Patriots in the mouth in the first quarter, and it wasn't until the fourth quarter that New England recovered enough to get off the mat and counter. The old Patriots would shake off that kind of loss and go back to what they do best, but by 2021 we are on uncharted territory and could only rely so much on his defenses to fight back and get close to him. But the swagger they had built on their seven-game winning streak was hurt by that game. Now is the time to prove that they are more than just a long streak of victories. J. Speed is the first player to have multiple punt block return touchdowns in a single season since Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed did so with the Ravens in 2003. His first touchdown on punt block return came in week 10 against the Jaguars. Next-gen stats of the game: Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 18 times for 139 yards and touchdowns on rushes within the tackles, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt.
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