In sports, everybody is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like Peyton Manning, who won the weekend when it was gift-wrapped with a pretty bow and handed to him by Bill Belichick.
In the past week, all the stories leading up to the Big Game were about Manning vs. Brady, Manning vs. Belichick, how the undefeated Colts would finally get their reality check against the dynastic Patriots. Despite all his deadly offensive success, the Patriots were the one team that could still give Manning fits (despite four Colts wins in the last five meetings) as they had ruined many a magical season during his career. And all the focus would still be on Manning today, if it weren't for The Call.
Pretty much everyone is in agreement that Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 from his own 28 is the most arrogantly boneheaded (see?) coaching decision since Julius Caesar woke up on March 15 and said, "I think I'll go into work today." When your only two intellectual defenders are Merrill Hoge and Deion Sanders—noted fan of "swagger"—that's got to lead to some soul searching. (But hey, they covered! That's what's really important.)
As for Manning, his fourth quarter interception appeared to doom him to yet another big defeat against New England, but two more touchdowns in the final four minutes completed a 17-point comeback and his season remains perfect. So what if he needed Football's Einstein to momentarily turn into Andy Reid for one drive? Everyone keeps expecting Manning and his Colts to fold—no Bob Sanders, weaker home field, do they even have a coach?—and they just keep winning. (For now.)
Just as long as he stays away from the Lucas Oil hotdogs.
Belichick gaffe unrivaled [Shaughnessy]
Colts make Pats pay for Bill's unusually dumb decision [CBS]
Bill Belichick And The Art Of Second Guessing [Sussman]
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Jimmie Johnson: Johnson all but locked up an unprecedented fourth straight Winston NASCAR Sprint Solo Cup Chase championship victory. And the man has never once used his turn signal. [LA Times]
The Bengals: They are officially "for real." So when do the knee injuries start again? [AP]
Jim Harbaugh: Two wins in three tries against not-so-mighty USC, both at the Coliseum (complete with a nice FU to Pete Carroll) and a big fat contract extension coming his way. Also, you wouldn't believe the luck this guy has getting good parking spots in Palo Alto. [Ray Ratto]
Brandon Jennings: I think we could all benefit from a summer in Europe. [Yahoo! Sports]
And the Weekend Loser?: Umm ... duh.