I swear I’m not posting that video to tweak you guys … Promise.
It’s to illustrate what Tully Banta-Cain’s final memory of being a Patriot was before he bolted for San Francisco, via free agency. That AFC Championship Game loss to the Colts still sticks in Banta-Cain’s craw — particularly since the Niners weren’t exactly winning big in his three years there.
“Obviously, we lost a game I thought we should’ve won, and it was in Indy, so it was a hostile environment,” Banta-Cain said. “It’s the classic, ‘You can never count the Colts out.’ What was it, 21-3? Perfect example of why you can fall asleep at the wheel with them because they can score at any time from any place on the field.”
And that’s exactly what the Colts did in that one.
They snuck in a touchdown before the half, then went on an all-out second-half assault. I remember blogging in the second quarter of that one that fans should “book their flights to Miami”. Which somehow made it my fault the Patriots lost.
Anyway, Banta-Cain said there are plenty of lessons he and the guys that were there that night can pass on to their teammates from what he called a “real tough loss.”
“It’s a sense of urgency,” he said. “If we ever get a lead like that again, we gotta do our best to really contain them and not let them get the momentum back on their side. And that’s in every aspect – Offense, defense and the kicking game. We might take a big lead on them, but we can’t give up the big return, their defense is known for game-changing turnovers, and getting the ball back to their offense.
“So we know if we get a lead on them, you gotta sustain it in every phase.”
As for what the actually means, some players have shied from saying this is a measuring-stick affair for the Patriots.
“This is an opponent we’re gonna have to face, hopefully, down the road,” he said. “They’re always at the top of the league and in the playoffs. We know this is a game that’s really gonna make a statement on our team and where we can go. We’re all conscious of it, and we’re not trying to overthink it, but we know it’s gonna be a tough game and we gotta play our best.”