As the lead whittled down and their grasp on the sport began to slide, the unthinkable grew to become the unavoidable. It was by no means going to be straightforward, not towards this crew, and definitely not towards this coach.

But right here it was: their probability, their second — eight straight losses to the Patriots and a decade-plus of distress hanging within the air, the perfect protection in soccer sizing up essentially the most explosive operating again within the league, a win there for the taking that these Indianapolis Colts wished and wanted in so some ways.

A stadium held its breath.

Could they shut?

A 20-point lead had shrunk to 3. Seven straight runs had netted three yards. Head coach Frank Reich was pondering move, however an intuition urged him to stick with the run, to present Jonathan Taylor yet another shot. “It just takes one guy on the defense to get in the wrong gap,” Reich would say later.

So with 2:11 left Saturday night time at Lucas Oil Stadium, a lot of his crew’s season hanging within the steadiness, Reich fought the urge. One extra handoff, he advised himself, only one extra. The Patriots’ top-ranked protection crowded the road of scrimmage, using the identical single-high security look they’d a lot of the night time.

They knew the Colts wished to run it; the Colts didn’t care.

“Keep pounding,” heart Danny Pinter would say, “and break their will.”

It was second-and-8. Before the snap, left guard Quenton Nelson sniffed out a run blitz. He motioned to Pinter. This is what’s coming.

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