DING! DING! DING!
On the game's final drive, I was sure that one of two things would happen. Either the Colts were scoring another touchdown and ending the game, or somebody on the Patriots' defense was going to have to come up with the big play to force a turnover. Just like last season, where Bill Belichick infamously chose to go for it on 4th and 2, the Patriots' defense was completely gassed and getting picked to shreds by Peyton Manning. With the Colts possessing plenty of time, three time outs, and four downs to work with, there was simply no way the Patriots were going to prevent Manning's inevitable march down the field using conventional means. There would be no surrender on Indianapolis' part due to downs. If the Patriots were going to win this game, somebody needed to step up and rip the ball away from the Colts.
Enter James Sanders, whose game-winning interception was greatly aided by a nice pass rush created by Jermaine Cunningham. Sanders pick put the exclamation mark on what was, until the fourth quarter, a dominat Patriots' performance. Yes, the Patriots were fortunate to walk away the victors by the time the sixtieth minute ticked off the clock, but looking at the entire picture, the better team clearly won tonight. For the better part of three and a half quarters, the Patriots offense had their way with Indy's defense. A strong ground game by BJGE and Danny Woodhead, opens up all sorts of opportunities for the New England aerial attack via play-action. On the other side of the ball, the defense was stuffing the run like a Thanksgiving turkey and coming up with some big-time INT's against the game's most cerebral quarterback.