When the Colts lined up in a cockamamie punt formation against the Patriots on Sunday night, a lot of people just assumed Indy was trying to draw New England offsides.
But then a crazy thing happened.
With nine teammates lined up outside, backup receiver Griff Whalen actually snapped the ball to safety Colt Anderson, who was immediately taken down for a loss by the Patriots.
People yelled at their television screens all across America, wondering what in the world just happened.
“You see the ball snapped, and I’m like, ‘They snapped the freaking ball. I can’t believe it,’” 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots analyst Scott Zolak said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But then there was a flag down and (I thought maybe one of the Patriots was offsides). Then you hear (NFL official) Tony Corrente say the entire right side of the Colts’ line was not up on the line of scrimmage. (Pat) McAfee, the punter, said we’ve been practicing this play for a year. So they’ve been coaching this play up for a year and they still couldn’t line up correctly. What gets lost is the poor coaching part of it. I thought the Colts had a pretty good (game) plan. You go for it on 4th-and-1 (early on). Jason Garrett, he would have kicked a field goal. So they go up 7-0, put some pressure on New England and try to get in a little bit of a track meet with them. (They) tried the onside kick (and) almost got that. But this play was an absolute disaster. It changed the whole complexion of the game.”
Indeed, the Pats promptly went 35 yards in six plays to take a 34-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. They eventually won, 34-27.
Zolak thought that the Colts’ “fake” – if you can call it that – was even worse than the Seahawks passing from the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl.
“It was 4-on-2,” Zolak said. “You have to be an absolute imbecile to snap the football. The coach should have been fired. The guy that snapped it should have been cut on the spot.”
In any event, the Patriots (5-0) remain undefeated and are being compared to their 2007 team that went 16-0.
“I think we’re better this year,” Zolak said. “And the only reason I say that (is because) that year we had Randy Moss. He was one of the top three at his position. Randy broke records – all kinds of records – but Randy was a one-trick pony. He would go deep and we’d throw him the deep ball. He wasn’t going to go over the middle, he wasn’t going to run a slant, he wasn’t going to block – he wasn’t going to do this, that or the other. We got Gronkowski. Now, when he’s healthy, I think he’s better than Moss at that point because of the multitude of things that he can do. He could catch the deep ball, catch it short or run over people, he’ll block. And we had Welker, who was catching 108 balls a year. I think Edelman is better than Welker in this offense. And we get Brandon LaFell back this week. You look at Kevin Faulk – and I love Kevin Faulk. Played with that guy. He was one of the best third-down backs I’ve ever seen. Great screen back. This kid Dion Lewis is quicker in space. And I think Brady is actually playing better now than he did in ’07, which is pretty crazy for teams.”
Brady, with 14 touchdowns and one interception, is an early frontrunner for MVP.
The Patriots play their next three games at home, beginning with the Jets (4-1) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.