After a crushing defeat in week 4, the Colts take a short week into a daunting task; Taking down the New England Patriots in Foxborough. The Colts look to improve to 2-3 on the season and the Patriots are attempting to start to regain control of a division they have practically owned over the last decade plus. Beating the Patriots has been quite a task for any QB not named Eli Manning, or as it should be known, any man not named Tom Coughlin.
Coughlin and Eli Manning to beat the Patriots in a super bowl not only once, but twice. With the latter coming against an 18-0 Patriots team that outmatched them with talent at (almost) every turn. With this article, I aim to take a look back and shed light on the ways Tom Coughlin got to Brady, and how other have beaten Brady using this misleadingly simple formula.
Feb 3, 2008
An 18-0 Patriots team heads to Phoenix to face Eli Manning and the Giants in the Super Bowl. The Giants won the game on the heels of David Tyree’s iconic “helmet catch” but the catch was not ultimately what won them the game. Brady was held to a 55.4 QBR, he was 29/48 for 266 yards and one touchdown. The Patriots running backs were held to 45 yards on the ground.
Brady was sacked five times and lost one fumble. Justin Tuck recorded two sacks, Michael Strahan, Kawika Mitchell, and Jay Alford all recorded one sack as well. The Giants pressured Brady and hit him more than he had been hit all season. Physical cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Corey Webster held Randy Moss to a pedestrian game. The Giants ran the ball almost to the century mark, producing a steady 3.5 YPA. The Giants won 17-14.
Feb 5, 2012
Here’s the rematch of the 2008 SB between Giants and Pats. Tom Brady was 27/41 for 276 YDS and two scores with one interception. Brady was pressured early and was called for an intentional grounding penalty that resulted in a safety and two points for the Giants. A pass rush bolstered by Jason Pierre Paul and Justin Tuck only secured two sacks but pressured Brady consistently. The same long and physical cornerback duo caused problems and intercepted Brady. They ran the ball 28 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. The Giants held the ball for 37 minutes of the game, to the Patriots 23 minutes. The Giants won 21-17.
The coach of the giants these two games, Mr. Tom Coughlin does what everyone else wants to do, he can consistently beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and the few lessons that we can learn from these rosters and games can fuel the Colts to a win.
The Four Pillars of Beating Brady
Not only do you have to rush Brady, you have to do it under certain constraints, Tom Brady is particularly good against the blitz, so you MUST create pressure with your four down lineman, whether it be through stunts, loops, or just pure skill, you cannot let Brady settle with four down lineman or he will pick your secondary apart. Also, Brady does not like to escape his comfort zone, he is not particularly mobile like Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson, so moving Brady off his platform could benefit the Colts. The Giants did this with rushers Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. They sacked Brady an average of three times per game in the Super Bowls.
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Control The Ball
The Giants out-possessed the Patriots in these two games by 15+ minutes, a staggering number. Brady will struggle to be in rhythm if he is kept off the field. The Colts must have a rushing game on Thursday and must convert third downs efficiently, and avoid stopping the clock at all costs. The defense must also keep the Patriots in check and keep them to short drives ended on punts or field goals. The defense will be tasked with containing Julian Edelman in his first game back, as well as new threat Josh Gordon, both efficient receivers on third down.
Indianapolis must be physical with the Patriots if they want to win, Quenton Nelson and the offensive line must create push and overwhelm the Patriots defenders, and rookies Kemoko Turay and Darius Leonard must be ready to be physical for 60 minutes and deplete the Patriots. The Colts will be undermanned and probably outschemed with all the new players in the lineup and they must make up for that with their physicality and make the Patriots think twice about their willingness to run the ball or throw the ball to the middle of the field.
NEXT MAN UP
A cliche football term, it could never apply more to a situation like this. Missing offensive cogs like Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton. Rookie playmakers such as Nyheim Hines (9 Rec, 73 yds, 2 TD) and Zach Pascal (6 Rec, 56 yds, 1 TD) must step up in their absence and not be afraid of the moment, they have nothing to lose and should play like it. Defensively, the Colts will be missing CB Quincy Wilson, although Pierre Desir has filled in nicely, they will need him to continue his consistent play for them to be successful, look for him to be head to head with Josh Gordon often.
The Colts are a young and upcoming team that, with a win on Thursday night, could generate a lot of buzz and momentum going into week 6 as the young Colts try to upset a Patriots team no one thinks they have any chance to beat.