Julian Edelman wasn't surprised that the Colts tried to run a strange-looking trick play late in the third quarter of New England's 34-21 victory. He may have been the only one.
"You know, you're not surprised with anything, how they play," Edelman told reporters after the game. "They tried the onside kick. They did that. You know. Colts."
Typical, Edelman suggested snidely.
"I'm glad they did it," he said. "We got the ball back with great field position. We were alert. Our guys went to where we had to go. And, um, shame on them, trying that again."
On a fourth-and-three play at their own 37-yard line, the Colts lined up to punt to the Patriots facing a 27-21 deficit. Then almost the entire Colts punt team shifted in unison to line up near the right sideline.
The only two players who did not head that way were safety Colt Anderson and receiver Griff Whalen. They opted to line up as a center and quarterback, with Anderson lined up to take the snap.
Anderson made a hard snap count, and whether he was supposed to or not, Whalen actually snapped it. Anderson was tackled immediately by Patriots special teamer Brandon Bolden for a one-yard loss.
When Whalen walked off the field Colts coach Chuck Pagano could be seen clearly mouthing the words, "Why'd you snap that?" Six plays later, Tom Brady found LeGarrette Blount for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score 34-21.
"We prepared for a lot of stuff this week, but that's not usual," said Patriots safety Devin McCourty. "It was a good job by the guys on the field, though, being aware."
McCourty admitted he was shocked to see Whalen snap the ball.
"I was," he said. "But sometimes you see plays like that where it's a different kind of punt formation and guys just don't know where to line up and then you do see a snap sometimes, and the guy takes off. But our punt return unit was ready for it."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the odd Colts formation -- and how his team stopped it -- after the game.
"That special teams group works really hard," Belichick said. "We expected this to be a gadget game in the kicking game, the onside kick, some kind of fake kick -- fake kick, fake punt, fake field goal. The punter ran a sweep against Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. It's something they've done in the past.
"We didn't know what the play was going to be obviously, but they went to a swinging-gate type play, went into the over-shift, and we wanted to make sure we covered the inside part. Reacted well to it. That was a good heads-up play by our punt return unit."