Let's just get it out of the way now. The Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots at the RCA Dome on Sunday. The referees didn't beat the Patriots when Ellis Hobbs face-guarded Reggie Wayne with his back to the ball in the end zone. Hobbs made no effort to play the ball and while the call is actually being called questionable
somehow, it's pretty clear that the flag should've been thrown. The referees didn't beat the Patriots when Tully Banta-Cain went to the head of Peyton Manning on the penultimate drive of the game to draw a roughing the passer penalty. The NFL fosters this protect-the-quarterback atmosphere and you pretty much can't touch them above the neck if at all. Banta-Cain went up high and, though slight in contact, still committed a penalty. I know it was lame, you know it was lame, but the NFL says it isn't lame - sorta like how the NFL says Tom Brady was throwing the ball on the "Tuck Rule" play when we all know it was a fumble. No, the Colts outscored the Patriots 32-13 in the second half, overcame a 21-3 2nd quarter deficit, and Peyton Manning looked like Joe Montana or John Elway in completing 3 of 4 passes for 57 yards in taking the Colts 80 yards in 7 plays and 1:17 to score the game-winning touchdown, exorcising his demons and finally "winning the big game" in what was one of the most incredible playoff contests I've seen. The Patriots fans may blame their own team for blowing the game, and they'll probably bitch and moan about the referees, but the fact of the matter is that Peyton Manning and the Colts beat them on Sunday, and that's all there is to it.