All anyone is discussing around the NFL today is the end of the Colts' 35-34 stunner over the Patriots on Sunday night. Not the Colts coming back from 17 down in the fourth, but Patriots' coach Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th and 2 from HIS OWN 28 with a little over two minutes left. They fell short, the Colts took over and scored the game-winner with 12 seconds left.
I ripped Belichick in my Week 10 notes and am in the solid majority on this. A statistician, using the odds of probability, defended the decision. ESPN's Merrill Hoge also defended Belichick, but that like having Bernie Maddof as a character witness at your trial. Hoge said (and I am not making this up) that the Patriots were hoping to hold the Colts to a field goal on the last drive. The Colts were never going to try a field goal since they were down six, dumbass.
I know why Belichick went for it -- he figured gambling on fourth down was preferable to giving the ball back, even if it meant the Colts had to drive 70 yards. In the AFC title game in 2006, the Patriots punted on fourth down with a little over two minutes to go and Peyton Manning promptly drove the Colts 80 yards in about 65 seconds to win the game. I know Belichick remembers that and figured the Colts were likely to score, whether they had to drive 30 or 70 yards.
But I still would have punted. The Pats did intercept Manning twice in the second half, so make him go 70 instead of 30; the football odds say to punt. I think Manning is in Belichick's head a bit. This never used to be the case, but the Colts have won five of the last six over the Pats. This caused Belichick to do something he never would have done had there been any of the other 31 starting QBs (including his own) on the other side.
Don your headset and hoodie and put yourself in Belichick's place -- would you have gone for it? Why or why not?