Colts win. No matter what anyone says about how it's "just another game" this was a big win. Tony is right, if the Colts had lost, they would still be okay. However, this win was important to getting the Colts to a place where they can win a Super Bowl. This game wasn't so much about the Colts finally "getting over the hump" and beating the Patriots. This was about this Colts team going into a hostile environment and thumping a good team. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pretending that this Patriots team is the same team that send the Colts home last January, but they are still a good team.
The most encouraging thing I saw last night was that the Colts came out with determination and confidence. At 14-7 Peyton threw an interception, but nobody panicked. The defense came out and forced a fumble. From that point on the Colts rolled. That's the point. The Colts are the better team right now and they played that way. They should have beaten the Pats soundly and they did. That's what is encouraging about this game. For the first time since they've been contenders, they looked like they believe they are contenders.
(This part of the post is mostly for Bill Simmons)
Also, did anyone see the end of the game when everything went to shit? The Colts scored their last touchdown (Manning to Harrison) to go up 40-21 and then set up to go for two. This pissed off the crowd (what was left of it) and then Belichick threw the red flag for a review of a play that was clearly a touchdown. I hate to say this because the Pats have handled their winning with class and are a likeable team despite their success, but this reeked of poor sportsmanship. Belichick knew that there was no way the play would be overturned and he was just trying to interrupt the flow of the game and buy his defense some rest by effectively getting a timeout via review.
Now, I'm sure many people will say that the Colts going for two in the fourth quarter up 40-21 is bad sportsmanship as well. However, I can see why they did. They are playing the Patriots and Tom Brady is known for turning it on in the fourth quarter and stealing games. When you are up 19 points, the other team has to score three times to win. If you are up 21 points, they have to score four times. Three scores? Highly unlikely, but possible (the Colts did it against the Bucs the year of the Bucs Super Bowl). Four scores? No way.
I'm willing to bet big money that this whole fiasco is a major focus of Simmons' next article. And he'll take the "we were disrespected" angle. Also, how about that crowd bailing on the Pats in the fourth quarter? Everybody left. It's easy to stick around when you're 14-2 and beating everyone. Much harder to stick with your team when you're 4-3 and taking a beating from a team you've owned.