Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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January 14, 2014

Downer finale doesn’t change Colts’ positives

A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.

In actuality, I’d put it as the third-worst playoff loss for the Colts in Foxboro, trailing the eggs laid by the juggernaut 2003 and ‘04 squads that put up 17 total points in two trips there. And on a list low-lighted by the ‘05 team’s home flop against Pittsburgh, followed closely by two San Diego embarrassments in ‘07 and ‘08, I’d put it no worse than the eighth-crappiest postseason loss since 1999.

Fans can throw dirt on the 2013 Colts season knowing that the team maxed out. With the most injury-depleted roster in the NFL, they beat some of the league’s best teams, ruined Peyton Manning’s homecoming, won the AFC South, made the playoffs and notched the second-biggest comeback in the near century-long history of the NFL.

Sure, a trip to Denver to face Manning with the AFC crown on the line would’ve been nice, but that possibility was greatly reduced when Andrew Luck threw a pick-6 Saturday on the game’s third play. It was erased completely when the Colts couldn’t get more than two points out of the Patriots’ botched punt in the second quarter.

Even if you hate them, you should appreciate the Pats for what they are — the best organization in football. Tom Brady is the only active player from their last Super Bowl win nine years ago, but they’ll play in their third straight AFC title game on Sunday, and eighth since he took over for Drew Bledsoe in 2001. They have a chance to reach their sixth Super Bowl in 13 years, with one of their least talented teams and one plagued by injuries and a murder case.

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