Game changing plays can happen at any time during a football game. Even in the first quarter of a 45-44 miraculous comeback win.
When Antoine Bethea tackled Dwayne Bowe at the Indianapolis Colts’ two-yard line after a 63-yard reception, it saved 4 points. Had they scored that touchdown, instead of the field goal that followed, the Colts would have never been able to come all the way back from a 28 point deficit to nab the win.
The Chiefs’ next three plays gained one yard, which set them up for a fourth and goal from the one-yard line. Andy Reid, being Andy Reid, decided to go for the sure field goal rather than risk going for the touchdown.
I needed the Colts and tweeted at the time how happy I was Reid decided to kick.
Bad move by a veteran coach who should have known better.
You wonder if Reid has been paying attention to the comeback magic Andrew Luck has displayed in his two years as the Colts’ starter at quarterback?
On the road in the playoffs, field goals aren’t figured to get the job done.
In weighing the risk/reward, Reid made a calculated error by not realizing a missed touchdown would have still left the Colts at their own one-yard line. With another defensive hold the Chiefs could easily get those three points back with the field position game.
Bethea, the Colts’ safety who made the tackle is one of those silent stars who delivers but is rarely in the spotlight.
The eight-year veteran out of Howard University was a sixth-round draft choice of the Colts. He was a starter in his rookie season when the Colts won Peyton Manning’s only Super Bowl.
Bethea’s off-field resume shows him to be a solid citizen and great locker room guy, too. He is the Colts’ winner of the Walter Payton Award with a chance to win the league wide honor as well.
Unfortunately that doesn’t always transfer to on-the-field ability, but in this case it does. Bethea is a two-time Pro Bowler along with the longest streak of games started by a safety in the league.
One play in football can mean so much to the outcome. In basketball a great play is two or three points out of possibly 200 being scored. A touchdown is seven out of 40 or 50 being likely.
It’s not only the points, but the very nature of the game that can change on one play.
Maybe the Colts would have been able to come back from being down by 32 points, thus tying the Buffalo Bills record. I wouldn’t like to bet on it though.
I really believe those four points Bethea saved and Reid blew were the difference in the game.
You need big play athletes to make big plays in big games. This far into the season, every team that is still alive at this point has them. If this past weekend is any indication, many of these games will hinge on one play or another being made by someone who might be a household name or a free agent who just joined the team as an emergency replacement.
Figuring out who is likely to pull off one of those big plays makes handicapping much more difficult. It sure makes the games a lot more fun to watch, though.
While we will remember Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton for their fourth quarter dramatics of the near-record comeback, it was a play by an often over looked veteran safety who saved the game, and the season, for the Indianapolis Colts.
Who will make that big, game changing play this week? I have no idea. I guess we’ll have to watch and see. And hope they make it for the team we bet on.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at www.againstthenumber.com and www.sharpssports.com. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].