If ever a moment called for Jack Buck, it was this:
Two minutes and eight seconds to play. The Patriots leading by six. They have the ball at their own 28 yard line. It is fourth and 2.
At that moment, the sporting world must assume, Patriot coach Bill Belichick's mind whirred into furious motion.
(And this is where only Belichick dares to roam – an area of such supreme confidence that it does not border on arrogance but rather overflows it in flood-tide, a realm where common sense is the requiem of those too cowardly to trust brilliance in all its frightening forms.)
Patriots gain one yard. Colts' ball.
Fifty-five seconds later Wayne's languid form – never hurried, ever graceful – falls to the turf with bedlam cradled in his taut fingertips.
Yes, Mr. Buck: "I don't believe what I just saw."
The team of mathematicians that broke the Enigma code would need a month simply to divine from the game film exactly how the Colts won. How the Patriots lost. Both. Heaven help the analysts at ESPN's "NFL Gameday."
Sebastian Junger authored "The Perfect Storm." Sunday, Manning and Belichick co-authored "The Perfect Comeback."