The buzz this morning is about a certain coach’s certain curious decision late in a certain game played in a certain midwest city last night.
I don’t want to talk about that (the decision).
I want to talk about Reggie Wayne.
Lost in the columns pouring forth this morning is my man Reggie’s catch for the ages that completed the Colts comeback as they beat the Patriots 35-34 last night.
It’s premature to call the AFC race; the Colts are seriously banged up on defense, are relying on several young players on offense who showed some nerves last night, and are wading into the most difficult stretch of their schedule. But last night’s game will go a long way towards ensuring that the Colts get the first weekend of the playoffs off and will be hosting a divisional round game, at least.
The game kind of had everything. Early, it looked like it was going to be a classic back-and-forth affair, similar to either the 2003 regular season game or the 2006 AFC title game.*
(Or was it 2007? I always get confused as to how to refer to NFL games that are part of a season that began in the previous calendar year.)
24 straight New England points made it look like a classic Belichick beatdown of the Colts. The opposing coach might have changed, but the result was the same. The Colts showed some life, and then Wes Welker’s punt return was the gut punch that reminded the Colts the Pats were still the team to beat in the AFC. And then the comeback, assisted by several interesting coaching decisions.
I’ll admit I considered going to bed at halftime. Then, I muted the TV, turned on some music, and only kept half of my attention on the game. When the Colts held on fourth down, I sensed my actions were having an effect on events downtown, so I kept listening to <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thievery_Corporation”>Thievery Corporation</a>, lest I force another Manning interception.
And then came the catch. When Marvin Harrison was still a Colt, I always enjoyed the different ways he and Wayne caught the ball. Harrison seemed to catch the pass delicately, at the ends of his fingers, almost accidentally stopping its forward motion. When Reggie caught the ball, on the other hand, it seemed to disappear in his big mitts.
On the winning catch last night, though, Reggie went all Marvin on us. I have no idea how he held on to that ball and kept it from moving at all given that he barely got his fingertips on it. But catch it he did. The brilliance of that catch should not get lost as the myth of this game is written.