Wow. What a fucking game.
I could bitch about the officiating - how Reche Caldwell didn't get the same endzone pass interference call that Reggie Wayne did - but that really wasn't the difference in the game. Indy moved the ball at will in the third quarter, and turned a home embarrassment into an epic shootout.
Unfortunately, a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty on Tully Banta-Cain, who tapped Peyton Manning on the head on the Colts' final drive, setting them up to run the ball in, rather than having to throw it, was the real black mark on the game. I mean seriously - Peyton is like paper mache - if he gets hit, he collapses, trying to draw a flag. He didn't even flinch on this play, and given the situation, the flag was ridiculous.
Indy may well have won the game anyway, but they would have won it as it should have been: a game tying field goal as time expired, followed by the storybook OT ending...
Adam Vinatieri lines up to kick a 55 yard game winner in overtime... Nantz and Sims point out that he's never missed in the RCA dome... We get a close up of Belichick... We get a close up of Vinatieri - chewing gum - nonchalant... We hear Phil Simms mention for the 45th time "I bet the Patriots wish they'd re-signed Adam Vinatieri right about now." It's pure cliche... They'd talk about how important the holder was - Hunter Smith... The snap would come - CBS would broadcast it in real-time-super-slow mo. The snap... the placement... the kick - then we'd get a split screen of Tony Dungy, wide eyed, following the ball, nervously sidestepping down the line... Adam Vinatieri's follow through, head down, coming up, immediately jumping in the air, knowing it's good... Bill Belichick on the Patriots' sideline, stoic, eyes barely moving, expression not changing... and as the ball sliced the uprights,the Indy fans storming the field, having finally vanquished their nemesis by beating the Patriots with their own weapon.
That's how it should have ended.
The worst officiating call of the postseason was in the NFC Championship game - the inexplicable New Orleans fumble on the kickoff - even after the play was challenged, and the replay showed that the return man was down: his knees, hips, elbows, AND shoulder on the ground before Chicago ripped the ball away - the Bears were still awarded the ball on this pivotal play. Ridiculous.
I think Indy will destroy Chicago in the Super Bowl. Lay the 7 points, and after that, lay 'em again.
until next time,