Well, the Pats won the big football game and now have the inside track for the best record in the NFL and #1 seed in the playoffs.
And still, I'm not terribly pleased.
There are two things that really bothered me about the game: the penalties and the poor tackling.
The penalties were ridiculous. There was a combination of bad officiating and then the Pats starting committing stupid penalties, which made it harder to complain about the actual mistakes the officials made.
There were three pass interference calls on the Pats, two on defense, and one on offense.
There was one pass interference call on the Colts.
The first PI call on Assante Samuel seemed ticky-tack to me. The charge seemed to be that Sammuel grabbed the receiver by his jersey, which prevented the receiver from being able to catch the ball. At first glance, it seemed like the pass was uncatchable in any case. And any contact was minimal. But Sammuel did grab the jersey, so I can let this one pass.
The second PI, on Ellis Hobbs, was absolutely ridiculous. Hobbs was covering Reggie Wayne, and the pass was underthrow so Hobbs turned and went for the ball, while Wayne crashed into Hobbs while going for the ball. When I first saw the play, I thought Wayne had committed offensive PI. Hobbs had position and went for the ball. By the rulebook, that means that it's not PI when Wayne crashes into him.
The third PI was called on a Colt on a long pass to Randy Moss that he caught. Some commentators are citing this flag as evidence that the refereeing was fair. Um, guys? Don't you notice the difference between a PI flag thrown on an incomplete pass and a PI flag thrown on a completion? Let's not be children here.
And then there was the offensive PI called on Randy Moss which was completely ticky-tack, if that. Moss had one hand on the receiver but was not pushing him or moving him, and was whistled for OPI.
Some people argued that the PI calls did not change the game, but given Vinatieri's difficulty kicking the long FGs, I think it's hard to support that claim when the PIs give 37 and 40 yards respectively.
And then there was the tackling by the Patriots on Addai. God that was horrendous.
If this had been a playoff game, I would be happy with "survive and advance". But it was an ugly win and the bad officiating really tainted things.
I have to give credit to Randy Moss, who deserved the game ball. Once the Pats figured out in the 4th quarter to stop messing around and to go with their best weapon, they started moving the ball more efficiently. There was nobody on the Colts who could cover Moss, so the simple plan was the better one.