Things that WILL be different when the Patriots and Colts play again in the playoffs:
1) Penalties: let's assume the refs were 100% dead on right with every single call. Do you honestly think the Patriots will make that many mistakes against the Colts again? No way. Alter this aspect early in a game and we have a blowout on our hands.
2) Addai: do you think the Patriots will completely forget how to tackle again this season? No way. Again, change this = blow out
3) Harrison: yes this had an impact, but the Pats have won all three super bowls by over coming injuries. Much was made about the changing of roles between the teams. How each had developed the other's style of play. The Colts forgot a key aspect of the Patriot Way: how to handle injuries. Brady, Bruschi, Samuel, and Watson all got their jobs by playing well when someone else got injured. Colvin missed the entire 2003 season. Seymour and Harrison were gone for most of last year, the list goes on and on.
4) Foxborough: yes the style the Colts play will put them in a better position to win in bad weather, but Foxborough is not their home. The crowd noise will be against them and weather is always an issue for a team that plays in a dome. There is a reason the Patriots always volunteer to play that Saturday night game in the post-season.
5) Manning face: he had that look on his face again. That look of defeat, dismay and a total lack of understanding of how this happened AGAIN. The psychological edge for the Patriots has been re-established. The air of invincibility has been restored. Honestly, I saw it on his face on the sidelines during the first quarter of the game. He may have forgotten he's passed this challenge previously. This makes me sad, because I want a championship level rivalry, but instead we have the old beaten-down Manning back.
So the Pats had all these dis-advantages yesterday, even if you call them poor play (tackling and penalties), heck ESPECIALLY if you call them poor play, it goes to show the Colts are not in the same league as the Pats. The only thing they have to hope for is being less injured, and this is the NFL, learn to deal with injuries or learn to lose.
They never did meet again that season.....