Patriots: 7-7-14-14: 42
Colts: 3-7-3-7: 20
In a game advertised as a battle between two great quarterbacks, it was a rookie running back that was the star. The New England Patriots handily defeated the Indianapolis Colts 43-22, in large part thanks to a breakout game from RB Jonas Gray. The box score is available here.
Here’s how it happened:
Jonas Gray Scored Four Touchdowns in His Fourth Game
Jonas Gray had played in just three games this season and performed well enough. But tonight he was inarguably the star of the game. He had an incredible 38 carries for 199 yards, and scored a touchdown in every quarter of the game. Gray’s four yard touchdown capped off an 80 yard drive in the first quarter for the first score of the game. Towards the end of the second quarter he had a two yard TD to give the Pats a 14-3 lead, and followed that with short touchdown runs in the third and fourth quarter. Not bad for a player in his fourth game, having gone undrafted two years ago.
The Colts Had Just 19 Rushing Yards All Game
Jonas Gray had a great game. Trent Richardson, not so much. Richardson ran the ball seven times for a total of zero yards. Andrew Luck ended up being the Colts leading rusher, running for a mere 15 yards. It was a fairly embarrassing showing for the Colts running backs.
Mike Adams Intercepted Two Brady Passes
The Colts were able to keep the game close in the first half, and the reason why is their safety Mike Adams. Adams picked Brady off twice in the first half, once in the first quarter and once in the second when Brady greatly underthrew a pass and Adams was able to get the ball to the Patriots 23 yard line. This gave the Colts a huge scoring opportunity at the end of the first half.
Hakeem Nicks Scored a Touchdown to Capitalize on the Interception
The Colts needed a touchdown after the interception gave them such good field position. What better time for Hakeem Nicks to make his first catch of the game? Nicks caught a 10 yard pass to cut the Patriots lead, making it 14-10 Patriots at the half.
Pats Opened the Third Quarter With a TD Pass
With the help of a phenomenal run game, Brady’s play improved in the second half. The third quarter opened with an 80 yard drive from the Patriots, capped off by Brady’s two yard touchdown pass to Tim Wright. This was the beginning of a trend throughout the rest of the game: the Patriots scoring before the Colts could have the chance to start a comeback.
A Colts Tackle Caught a Touchdown in the Fourth Quarter
Not a lot went right for the Colts in the second half, as they were never quite able to mount a comeback. But one particular drive in the fourth quarter had a crazy ending when Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo, who announced himself as an eligible receiver, caught a one yard touchdown pass and did a ridiculous celebration dance that you can see above. The Patriots, however, went on to score two touchdowns after that in the quarter to seal a blowout win.
Preview: First Place Patriots and Colts Battle for AFC Dominance
The 7-3 New England Patriots, leading the AFC East, travel to Indanapolis to take on the 6-3 Colts, who are first in the AFC South. They’re two talented teams, but the focus tonight will be on the quarterbacks, as the elite veteran Tom Brady squares off against MVP candidate Andrew Luck.
Talks of Tom Brady declining were premature; in his last five games, he’s thrown 18 touchdowns against just one interception, propelling the Patriots to win in all five games as they try to keep their dominant reign of the AFC alive. Andrew Luck, former number one overall pick, has had a breakout year, hinting at being the elite quarterback many predicted he would become. He’s 2nd in the NFL in yards and touchdowns (trailing only Peyton Manning) and has a quarterback rating of over 100. These teams faced off in the playoffs last year and the Patriots won handily, 43-22 thanks to four interceptions from Luck. But Luck just keeps improving, promising an intense QB battle tonight.
We’ll be updating with score changes and highlights as the game progresses. Kickoff is at 8:30 pm EST tonight. The game will be broadcast on NBC, with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth annoouncing, and Michelle Tafoya announcing. Look below to find out how to watch online.