The latest trailer for the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens,” premiered during the telecast of “Monday Night Football.”

Here in New England, we know they got it wrong.

The Force was awakened when the NFL’s foolhardy witch hunt known as Deflategate was launched last winter.

After an offseason of discontent, the empire known as the New England Patriots has been striking back.

The latest stop on the 2015 Revenge Tour was Sunday night in Indianapolis. Many expected the Pats to dominate a Colts team that had launched the offseason circus back when it questioned the inflation of certain footballs used in New England’s 45-7 rout of Indy in last season’s AFC championship game.

This one wasn’t so easy.


The Colts led at the half, and gave the Patriots all they could handle. Yet the force was with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, again. How else can you explain the laughable formation Colts Coach Chuck Pagano put on the field late in the third quarter?

You could watch a lot of football, and never see anything like that play. The Colts were trailing by six, and the Lucas Oil Stadium was rocking. They faced fourth down and 3 at their 37-yard line.

Then nine Colts shifted up to the far right – yards away from the ball – while a wide receiver snapped the football to a safety. The Pats smothered the ball carrier, took over on downs and six plays later had extended their lead. Colts fans – and a nationwide audience – were left wondering what they had just seen.

You won’t beat the Patriots with trick plays.

This team is too well-coached to be caught by surprise on a strange formation.

The Patriots pride themselves in being ready for anything. And, so far, they’ve been ready for everything the NFL has thrown at them since they started lining up for real last month.


The Pats are simply playing at a higher level than just about any other team in the league right now.

Let’s just plan on a New England-Green Bay matchup in Super Bowl 50. And after watching the Packers survive a late San Diego rally on Sunday, I’m not so sure Green Bay is a given to win the NFC.

Is there any doubt the Pats will win the AFC? They’ll win the division running away. They’ll have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Who is going to give them a challenge?

The Denver Broncos? Peyton Manning has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season.

The Cincinnati Bengals? That defense doesn’t look like it can stop a legitimate offense.


Watching out-of-town games this season, it’s easy to look down at the rest of the league.

Maybe the Patriots are spoiling football for us. Other teams simply look undisciplined, unskilled and unable to perform at the level of Brady and Co.

And New England, even when faced with a struggle like Sunday night, manages to make the right plays at the right time.

Back in February, the Pats won their fourth Super Bowl thanks to a brutal play call by Seattle Coach Pete Carroll. On Sunday night, Pagano cost himself any hopes of an upset with some ill-conceived trickery.

Meantime, the force remains with Belichick and his team.

We’re only five games into the regular season, but these autumn games are looking more and more like a mere formality in getting the Patriots back to bigger things this winter.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.