Colts Had Inside Info Before The Game

The Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots in a close game Sunday night 18-15. But did they have a little help from a former Patriot? That's what Patriots insider learned after the game.

When the Patriots opted not to retain veteran linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, the decision was one based upon simple economics. Colvin's $7.6 million cap number was too high for the team, and his $5.5 million base was more than the team wanted to pay. Colvin was coming off of an Achilles heel injury, which would require extensive recovery time, and he hadn't been the same force in the pass rush that he was in his younger years.

Colvin departed New England after a successful five seasons with the Patriots. He pocketed a hefty free agent contract his first year, and collected a pair of Super Bowl rings with his fellow defenders.

After finding himself on the open market, Colvin heard from the Browns and Jets. He paid visits to Indianapolis and Houston. He eventually signed with the Texans, but was released by the Houston prior to the start of the 2008 regular season.

After the Patriots lost 18-15 to the Colts Sunday night, Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy shared a snippet of Colvin related news.

"We knew they were going to be concerned about the pass rush," said Dungy of the Patriots offensive strategy. "Matter of fact, (LB) Roosevelt Colvin told us that when he was in here about their game plan for last year, throwing the ball quick and concerned about the artificial surface and the noise, so we kind of expected that."

Colvin shared the Patriots game plan?

That's what Dungy said. The news that Colvin shared Patriots secrets isn't surprising considering how valuable insider information can be when two teams face each other. Plenty of teams have picked up former Patriots for a short period of time, in an attempt to learn their secrets. The New York Jets are another team willing to sign former Patriots to mine them for information. Mike Elgin, Clint Oldenberg, Matt Chatham, Hank Poteat, and the recently released Kareem Brown were all former Patriots signed by former Patriot coordinator Eric Mangini.

The Colts have also signed former Patriots in DB Dexter Reid, DL Dan Klecko and most notably Adam Vinatieri, the same former Patriot who kicked the winning field goal Sunday night.

"I hit it pretty well. It left my foot, and I hit it pretty well," said Vinatieri of the 52-yard kick for the win. "I looked and saw the flag on the ground and I was like, 'please be on them.' It was one of those where until you know, you don't know, but yeah, when it left my foot it felt pretty good."

Dungy's willingness to admit to Colvin's information sharing was surprising considering free agent visits are supposed to be for assessing a player's physical and mental capacity to assimilate to the new team, not for spying. But speculation that Colts GM Bill Polian is willing to wade into the gray area of the rules isn't new. He's been accused of doing so in the past.

Colvin's information might be a bit dated, but it certainly confirmed what Dungy had scouted of the New England offense previously.

"We don't play a lot of man-to-man coverage to give them shots to take deep, and they did a good job possessing the ball," the coach said. "They had been sacked a lot coming into this game and didn't get sacked at all, so I think they had a good plan."

It was a good game plan, but not good enough.

The Colts move on to 4-4 keeping their hopes alive for a playoff spot, and New England just opened the door to a potential competitor for a wild card spot if they fail to win the AFC East. At 5-4, New England holds a 1 game lead over the Colts for the tiebreaker, and there are still 8 games left to determine who gets to the postseason.

Next up for the Patriots is the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

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