OK, so the Patriots didn’t beat the Colts by 70 points.
In fact, they didn’t even cover (Vegas always seem to know..).
But they did win. And though Tom Brady seemed less than thrilled with the performance, all that matters is they left their business trip in Indianapolis with a 5-0 record.
Of course, they had some help. The Colts actually looked like a competent football squad for the first half. They led the Patriots, 21-20, as thoughts of a Patriots blowout vanished after a Colts opening-drive touchdown.
And then “SnapFu” happened.
You already know what play we’re referencing. With the Patriots now leading 27-21 late in the 3rd quarter, the Colts faced a 4th-and-3. Inexplicably, they tried a fake punt play in which nine of the eleven players rushed over towards the nearside sidelines and lined up . . . illegally. On top of that, the two players who stayed in the middle of the field – the “snapper” and “quarterback” – actually snapped the ball and were promptly tackled by a hoard of Pats.
It was, by all accounts, one of the dumbest plays in NFL history.
That gave the Patriots ball on Indy’s 35-yard line. Six plays later they’d score a touchdown to go up 13 points, and that was that.
It’s just the latest example of an opposing team psyching themselves out against the Patriots.
And one team that’s done that since the turn of the century is the New York Jets. Led by Rex Ryan from 2009 to 2014, the Jets did more than their fair share of trash talking – and even won a few games. But in the end, Ryan and the Jets were mostly just hot air (and the Bills might be finding that out the hard way this season).
Ryan’s up in
Buffalo now and the Todd Bowles-led Jets are 5-1 as they prepare for New England this Sunday.
But just as Ryan still can’t get the Patriots off his mind, it seems like some of his former players can’t either. Take Jets DE Sheldon Richardson for example. Coming off a 34-20 win over the Redskins on Sunday, Richardson is already hyping himself up for next Sunday.
"[They’ve] run this division for a while so I am kind of happy we get next,” Richardson told ESPN. "We're getting after it. I mean, they are the Super Bowl champions. Just leave it at that. You know, licking our chops."
This is hardly trash talk, but does speak to the way other teams across the league – and especially the division – think about the Patriots.
There’s never been a bigger target on the collective backs of one team than this Patriots team has now.
To be the best you have to beat the best – everybody knows that.
But what Richardson and the rest of the NFL have to realize is that the Patriots are licking their chops, too.