Frank Reich Subtly Clowns the New England Patriots, Reminds Bill Belichick’s Squad of Its Past Super Bowl Defeat

Frank Reich got the best of Bill Belichick yet again.

The Indianapolis Colts took on the New England Patriots on Saturday in a game that had major playoff implications, and Indy left with the 27-17 win. However, after the contest, Reich, the Colts head coach, revealed that his team’s first touchdown was actually something the Pats had seen before, but in their Super Bowl 52 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reich and the Colts did a version of his famous (or infamous if you’re a Patriots fan) Philly Special.

Frank Reich’s Eagles offense pulled off the Philly Special against the Patriots in Super Bowl 52

Bill Belichick’s Patriots have played in numerous Super Bowls over the years, specifically when Belichick and Tom Brady were dominating in New England throughout two decades. And during the 2017 season, they were looking for their second consecutive championship and third in four years.

But the Philadelphia Eagles had something to say about it.

Philly ended up upsetting New England, and Frank Reich played a major role in the win. He was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator at the time, and toward the end of the first half, their offense ran the play now known as the Philly Special.

On fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with 38 seconds left in the second quarter and the Eagles up 15-12, running back Corey Clement took the direct snap. While running to his left, he then pitched the ball to tight end Trey Burton, who, while running toward the center of the field, threw the ball to quarterback Nick Foles in the end zone for the touchdown. It gave the Eagles a 22-12 halftime lead and helped them win, 41-33.

On Saturday, Reich’s Colts brought the play back.

The Colts ran the Philly Special in the win over Bill Belichick and the Patriots

During the Colts’ win over the Patriots on Saturday, they had the ball at about the nine-yard line with four minutes left in the first quarter when running back Jonathan Taylor took a direct snap. He then handed it off to quarterback Carson Wentz, who quickly pitched it forward to running back Nyheim Hines. The latter then took it all the way into the end zone to give Indy the 7-0 lead.

It wasn’t exactly like the Philly Special, but, according to Frank Reich, it was a version of it.

Colts reporter Bob Kravitz tweeted earlier in the week that he would give Reich $20 if he ran the Philly Special against the Patriots. Reich then told him during his press conference that he owed him some money.

“When we put that in, I thought about you,” the coach said, per Colts.com. “… This is a version of the Philly Special. That’s a version of it. … But it was appropriate given the opponent.”

The Athletic reporter Stephen Holder then tweeted that Reich also said the touchdown play can now be called the “Patriot Special.”

So, not only did Reich’s Colts beat the Patriots, but they were also brave enough to essentially bring back the play his Eagles used to defeat them in the Super Bowl. That takes a lot of guts, and it all worked out. It also significantly helped Indy’s playoff chances.

The win meant more for Frank Reich and the Colts than it would have for the Patriots

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich after a preseason game in 2021.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich after a preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 27, 2021. | Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Bill Belichick’s Patriots were the No. 1 seed in the AFC heading into this week, and the Colts were the No. 6, also known as the second wild-card team.

However, while the loss certainly hurt the Patriots’ chances of clinching the top spot and the first-round bye, it didn’t hurt their playoff chances too much.

According to The New York Times, the Patriots had a 99% chance of making the playoffs at 9-4 before losing the Colts. Now, as they sit at 9-5, their chances have only dropped slightly to 98%. The likelihood of them getting the bye, though, is now at 22%, while the chances of them hosting a wild-card game is at 51%. In its final three games, Belichick’s squad has to play the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Miami Dolphins.

The Colts, on the other hand, had a 64% chance of making the postseason before beating the Patriots (per the Times), as they sat at 7-6. But now, after improving to 8-6, their chances increased to 84%. Indy’s likelihood of hosting a wild-card game is only at 5%, but it has a 79% chance of playing in a wild-card game on the road. Frank Reich’s team has the Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders, and Jacksonville Jaguars still on its schedule.

All in all, the Philly Special has done some great things for Reich. It helped him and the Eagles win Super Bowl 52 over the Pats, and it has now increased his Colts’ chances of making the postseason after a 1-4 start.

So, maybe just maybe, the play should actually be called the Reich Special.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference