This matchup was tough to judge leading up to the game. The Patriots are without Brady, but we've seen how they've shown steady improvement in the absence of their marquee player. Peyton Manning is still hobbled from an infection in his knee (or at least that's the speculation), but he's still Peyton Manning, and our secondary is still decimated. In the past, watching these teams play was like watching two heavyweights go toe-to-toe; this time around it was more like those heavyweights each had an arm tied behind their back.
In the aftermath, there's the sense--as there often is after Colts-Patriots showdown, however banged up the personnel involved--of just-missed opportunity. Maybe there's an irony to this razor-thin margin of error given the demolition derby these teams have been through leading up to it, but it turned out to be the same as it ever was: a tense contest, and full of turning points it was all too easy to imagine having gone the other way.