The Indianapolis Colts came into Foxboro on Sunday to face the New England Patriots sporting a 6-3 record and looking very far removed from the disaster of 2011.
After one quarter they even had a 14-7 lead. That lead though evaporated in the late New England afternoon air quicker than you could say “Julian Edelman”.
In a blink of an eye, or 1:01 on the game clock, Edelman returned a punt 68-yards for a TD. Then on the ensuing Indianapolis drive newly acquired CB Aqib Talib picked rookie QB Andrew Luck and returned it 59-yards for a TD and like that it was 21-14 New England and they were on their way to a convincing 59-24 win.
Up 24-17 to start the third quarter New England exploded in the second half putting up 35 points in the final 30 minutes. Edelman got his second score of the day on a 2-yard pass from QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski got his second TD of the day off a 24-yard pass. He had scored the Patriots first TD in the first quarter off a 4 yard catch.
In the fourth quarter the Patriots put up 21 more points on an 87-yard INT returned for a TD by rookie CB Alfonzo Dennard and rushing TD’s of 3-yards by RB Stevan Ridley and 4-yards by RB Shane Vereen.
In the second half the only points the New England defense gave up came long after the outcome was decided when Colts rookie WR T.Y. Hilton went 43-yards to the house on a Luck TD pass. It was Hilton’s second TD catch of the afternoon.
The 59-points tied a franchise record for most points in a game, they put up 59 against Tennessee in 2009 at Foxboro.
It was a remarkable game as the Colts had the ball nearly 6 minutes longer, had more first downs, more total yards, ran more plays and more rushing yards. It was the Patriots special teams and defense that had four more takeaways that made the difference in the game.
The Patriots had more return yards, more yards off turnovers, more turnovers and more touchdowns. And when you have more touchdowns you usually win the game.
Now it’s off to the Thanksgiving Night matchup with AFC East Rival New York Jets, let’s hope New England has another performance like this stuffed into the Thanksgiving turkey.
Comcast Sports Net New England’s Tom E. Curran is reporting post game that TE Rob Gronkowski has suffered a broken forearm. The team hasn’t confirmed the injury. The NFL Network is reporting Gronkowski will be out a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks which is the remainder of the regular season.
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Turning Point of the Game
In the matter of 1:01 in the 2nd quarter the Patriots scored 14 points on special teams and defense and took over the game.
Offensive Player of the Game
Patriots WR/PR Julian Edelman had 1 carry for 47 yards, 5 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD and 2 punt returns for 117 yards and a TD.
Defensive Player of the Game
Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich had 8 tackles (4 solo); 1 sack; 2 tackles for loss; 2 QB hits; 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
Starters for the Patriots were:
Inactives for the Game:
1. TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
2. G Dan Connolly (back)
3. S Patrick Chung (shoulder)
4. DE Jake Bequette
5. DL Justin Francis
6. TE Daniel Fells
7. G Logan Mankins (ankle/calf)
1. CB Vontae Davis (shoulder)
2. LB Mario Harvey
3. T Bradley Sowell
4. DL Josh Chapman
5. NT Martin Tevaseu
6. T Tony Hills
7. TE Colby Fleener (knee)
The spread (Patriots MINUS 10) WAS covered. The over/under (53) WAS COVERED. I TOOK the points (COLTS) and took the OVER. I am now 2-8 vs. the spread and 7 of 10 calling the under/over.
Since 1999 the Patriots have the best record in the NFL at 154-64.
In the last ten seasons the Patriots are 37-8 in games played November 1 or later.
New England has its first 4-game winning streak of the season.
The Patriots lead the overall series 47-29, which includes a 2-1 post season advantage.
New England is 27-12 vs. the Colts at home, 6-2 at Gillette Stadium.
Since the Colts won 5 of the 6 meetings the Patriots have won the last three games.
The Patriots are now a combined 18-0 in the second half of the season since 2010. Their last loss in the second half was in 2009 in the season finale at Houston.
Bill Belichick is now 199-107 including playoffs in his career.
Belichick’s 199 wins are good for 8th all-time. Former Broncos, Giants and Falcons head coach Dan Reeves is 7th with 201 wins.
Bill Belichick is 13-8 vs. the Colts in his career. He is 11-6 against them as the head coach in New England and that includes a 2-1 post season record.
Tom Brady is 10-4 against Indianapolis in his career including the playoffs. Overall including playoffs he is 147-44.
Brady has 321 TD passes in his career he is now 5th all-time. Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 4th with 342.
Brady has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 42 consecutive games.
The Patriots are 87-16 when Brady throws at least 2 TD passes in a game.
WR Wes Welker now has catches in 111 consecutive games including playoffs, 94 as a Patriot. The last time Welker did not have a catch in a game was 12/24/05 as a Dolphin.
DE Rob Ninkovich had a strip sack and a fumble recovery on Sunday it was his 5th forced fumble of the season tying a team record held by former LB Mike Vrabel.
There were 6 QB hits by the Patriots 2 each by Ninkovich and DE Jermaine Cunningham and 1 a piece by LB Brandon Spikes and LB Dont’a Hightower.
CB Aqib Talib, CB Alfonzo Dennard and S Tavon Wilson all had an INT on Sunday. Talib and Dennard returned their INTs for a TD. Wilson’s was a team leading 4th on the year.
S Nate Ebner had two special teams tackles on Sunday to lead the team.
LB Jerod Mayo led the team with 10 tackles (1 solo).
Roster moves Saturday:
- CB Aqib Talib was activated and placed on the 53-mam roster.
- WR Deion Branch was released
- CB Malcolm Williams was released
- WR Greg Salas was signed from the practice squad
- WR Jarred Fayson was released from the practice squad
The Patriots sacked Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck 1 time, while Brady was not sacked.
New England is PLUS 20 in turnover differential. The offense has given up 3 INT and 4 fumbles, while the defense has 13 INTs and 14 fumble recoveries.
The Patriots were 4 for 6 (66.7%) in the red zone. They had 4 TDs, 1 FG and 1 missed FG.
New England was 8 for 12 (66.7%) on third down conversions and 0 for 0 on 4th down attempts.
Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is the interim head coach in head coach Chuck Pagano’s absence. Since taking over Arians is 5-2 is his NFL career.
Arians is 0-1 vs. New England as a head coach.
Luck is 6-4 in his NFL career.
He is 0-1 vs. the Patriots.
Indianapolis is 2-11 as the road team in the series since 1998.
The Colts are 7-18 in the last 24 games vs. the Patriots dating back to 1996.
Indianapolis was 8 for 14 (57%) on 3rd down conversions and 0 for 0 on 4th down attempts.
The Colts were 2 for 2 (100%) in the red zone. They had 2 TD’s.
Indianapolis is MINUS 13 in turnover differential. The offense has given up 12 INT and 7 fumbles, while the defense has 4 INTs and 2 fumble recoveries.
John Parry was the game referee. The temp at kickoff was 42 and clear.
Attendance – 68,756 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA.
Post Game Interviews
This Week in the AFC East
Jets whipped the Rams, 27-13
Bills beat the Dolphins, 19-14 on Thursday night
AFC East Standings
The Patriots visit the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford NJ. Kick off is at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.
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photo credit: getty images