The Replay: Chuck Pagano, Pat McAfee, and Peyton Manning
Every Friday, we post up The Replay, our weekly look at sports. It’s mostly fouls and airballs.
For a moment on Sunday, it appeared as if the Indianapolis Colts were finally going to end their six-game losing streak to the New England Patriots. I was happy. You were happy. Then, on fourth down in the fourth quarter from their own 35, the Colts did this:
Colts coach Chuck Pagano called for a fake punt—specifically a gimmick play called a swinging gate—in an effort to draw the Pats offsides and continue the Indy drive. But, thanks to a communication breakdown, the Colts executed what many are calling one of the worst plays in NFL history (the NFL Network later dubbed it the fourth-worst play in league history). While it wasn’t immediately clear how the play was supposed to look, this is how it felt:
The Patriots went on to win 34-27 and Colts fans were left to eat their words—and Deflategate bakery items.
Colts punter Pat McAfee took to radio to explain how the team botched the fake punt, and said that Griff Whalen—subbing for an injured Clayton Geathers on the play—was called on to execute a ruse he hadn’t practiced:
“No, no, not at all. Not pleased obviously with the way that we prepared the guys or coached the guys to go out and execute the play. That’s on me. I talked about that with great length, and I’ve got to be better. I don’t regret the play call at all.”
Case in Points
After a fantastic 4-0 start, Indiana lost its third straight on Saturday, falling to Rutgers in a game that perfectly captured the maddening frustration of the Hoosiers’ ignoble gridiron history. Late into the third quarter, IU led Rutgers 52-27:
From that point on, the Scarlet Knights scored 28 unanswered points for a 55-52 win:
Now Read These
Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning stars in a pair of stories from The Atlantic: “The Inevitable Decline of Peyton Manning” and a farewell from Allen Barra, in which the writer makes the case that Manning was the greatest QB of the 21st Century.