Although the Colts didn't win on Sunday, they gave us a blueprint for how to slow down the Patriots offense. The key is a consistent pass rush with minimal blitzing. The Colts, for almost three and half quarters, consistently got pressure on Brady by only rushing 4 guys and not blitzing. This allowed there to frequently be as many as 7 guys in coverage for the Colts and it allowed their safeties to play deep so as not to give up big plays. Even better, because the Colts linemen were getting such pressure on Brady, they had to bring in Faulk to help block, since he's a better blocker than Maroney. That subsequently decreased the number of receivers Brady could throw too, since Faulk had to concentrate on blocking rather than dropping into the flat, and it left the Patriots with a less good running back in the game.The Colts ultimately lost because they basically ran out of gas in the 4th and couldn't get pressure on Brady. And when you're not getting pressure on Brady, you could have 100 guys in the secondary and he'll still complete passes. Really the only way to beat the Patriots is to get consistent pressure on Brady while not blitzing. That means Brady has to make snap decisions and throw into a secondary with as many as 7 defenders. The Colts may have been the only team in the league that had the pass rush necessary to do this with Freeney and Mathis coming around the ends. Now that Freeney's out, forget it. Mathis will get double-teamed all day. And if the Colts face Brady and the Pats again they'll be forced to blitz and they'll get crushed.
The image of Belichick lifting the Lombardi Trophy yet again is more real than ever now. I'm sure Gregg Easterbrook isn't pleased, to say the least.