Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 will be reviewed exhaustively this week.
But there’s no need to dissect what it meant to Indy. That much is clear. It gave Peyton Manning and Co. just 29 yards to traverse to get the game-winning points. And it gave the Indy defense the kick in the rear it needed to come up with the season’s biggest stop.
To that point, the Colts had yielded 467 yards. Which, they decided, was quite enough.
“Everyone was surprised (by the decision),” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Fourth down in their territory, you know, they got a lot of confidence in their offense. But we got a lot of confidence in our defense. We took that as a slap in the face. It was a slap in the face, and Melvin (Bullitt) stepped up and made a good play.
“Fourth down in their territory, we took it as a slap in the face.”
Defensive end Robert Mathis agreed, saying, “If you play defense, you’re going to take offense to that.” And at the end of the day, few Colts disagreed.
“Total disrespect,” linebacker Clint Session said. “They disrespected us and got what they deserved. They fought hard throughout the game. But they disrespected us at the end and they got what they deserved.”