— John Lennon, “Instant Karma”
Sometimes you just know.
You see the University of Louisville basketball team dancing on the sideline during a Sweet Sixteen win over Arizona and you think, “That’s going to come back to bite them.”
The New England Patriots get accused of cheating with video cameras during the regular season, pile on a couple of “up yours” blowout wins on their way to an unbeaten regular season, then are stunned by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
And now the Indianapolis Colts take a bite of the karma apple.
The thing is, there’s no direct link you can make between the Colts taking a couple of losses to finish what could have been an unbeaten regular season and what happened to them against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Or maybe it’s the ultimate link. The Colts were rolling, then in the playoffs they get by an offensively limited Baltimore Ravens team, and get an unexpected break by getting the Cinderella New York Jets and their rookie quarterback in the AFC championship game. They rested for this?
There are lots of game related reasons the Colts lost to New Orleans. We don’t have to turn to Eastern religion. It’s not like it was close. After grabbing a 10-0 lead, Indianapolis was outscored 31-7. The Colts were too conservative. The game hinged on their refusal to stay aggressive with the lead and just under two minutes to play in the first half. Instead of turning Manning loose in the 2-minute offense, the Colts ran it a couple of times and gave the ball back in time for a New Orleans field goal.
Had the Saints been down 17-3 or even 13-3 to open the second half, an onside kick would have smelled of desperation.
Instead, down 10-6, the Saints dialed it up and got the recovery and it smelled of — karma.
Garcon’s drop. The onside kick. Manning’s shocking Pick 6.
All plays that look reasonable enough as the kinds of plays games hinge on.
And all right out of the karmic playbook.
Say what you want, until somebody beats karma, it’s still the champion. The Colts messed with a streak. And on Sunday, the game messed with them.