The game was set up for another Andrew Luck-led comeback. The Indianapolis Colts trailed by only seven points after the third quarter of play and had the ball to start the fourth quarter.
Only problem was they should have been ahead.
If it wasn’t for some terrible officiating in the third quarter and some unforced errors by the Colts then this AFC divisional game could have had a different outcome.
Take the end of the second quarter for example. If Stanley Havili catches the ball like he’s paid to do, Indianapolis gets at least a field goal there. He couldn’t hang on to the ball and it bounced off his shoulder pads to a New England Patriots defender.
Instead of being 21-15 at worst or 21-19 at best, the Colts trailed 21-12 at the half.
Then in the third quarter that’s where it got real fishy.
The refs blew a bad call when they called pass interference on Josh Gordy on third down which gave New England a first and goal. The Patriots scored a touchdown on that play to put them back up 14. It was a crucial third down miss so instead of a punt they got a touchdown.
Give them seven there.
Then on the Colts’ end, a Patriots defender tackled Griff Whalen on third down and the refs swallowed the whistle.
Colts get called on a PI when there was no contact by the defender on an under-thrown uncatchable ball, but the Patriots don’t get called on a tackle when the ball was thrown right to him?
Add to the fact a couple of blown holding penalties none bigger than the missed one on No. 47 on New England (I won’t even bother to try and type his name) when he grabbed Robert Mathis’ shoulder pads, spun him and tackled him allowing LeGarrette Blount an open lane to the end zone which gave the Patriots another seven.
Yes, I know LaRon Landry missed a tackle, but it should have been a 10 yard holding penalty at the line of scrimmage. Credit New England 14 points and take at least three to 10 from Indianapolis and this game is much different in the final quarter.
This is why a few plays and blown calls can change the outcome of the game. Inexcusable.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru.