One quarter into this game, the New England Patriots were trailing the Indianapolis Colts 14-7, and it looked like it would be a very long game for the defense. From that point on, however, the team flipped the script, and turned the game into a rout, winning 59-24.
Through the course of the game, the Patriots piled up seven total touchdowns, but did it in a variety of ways. Lets list out the eight touchdowns, since there's no other possible way to recap them all:
- Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski 4 yard touchdown pass in first quarter
- Julian Edelman 68 yard punt return touchdown in second quarter
- Aqib Talib 59 yard interception return touchdown in second quarter
- Tom Brady to Julian Edelman 2 yard touchdown pass in third quarter
- Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski 24 yard touchdown pass in third quarter
- Alfonzo Dennard 87 yard interception return touchdown in fourth quarter
- Stevan Ridley 3 yard touchdown run in fourth quarter
- Shane Vereen 4 yard touchdown run in fourth quarter
Needless to say, the Patriots piled it on.
I was encouraged by how the Patriots' turned it around on defense, but was also still concerned about that first half performance - against both the run and the pass. However, once Alfonzo Dennard replaced Kyle Arrington in the base defense, it seemed like the secondary really settled down.
The Patriots were able to apply consistent pressure throughout the game. The only sacked Luck once, but forced multiple bad throws that led to interception and stalled drives. On a side-note, Andrew Luck is one tough SOB. He really hung in there, took a lot of hits, and was able to make throws down the field with defenders draped all over him, and with pressure in his face.
Offensively, the Patriots had a very strong day through the air. Tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer held up well against the duo of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, and when Brady was pressured, he found a way to escape the sacks. Brady was terrific, but of course, I have to mention the performances of Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Gronkowski's was Brady's go-to target all day with seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdown. Meanwhile Edelman contributed with two big punt returns (one for a TD), a 40 yard reverse, and five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
On the downside, would have liked to see more from the running game.
Overall, another solid win for the Patriots, although there's still a lot to be improved on. The win moves them to 7-3, and gives them a comfortable three game lead in the AFC East. They'll have a quick turnaround, as they play the Jets on Thursday night in New York for a Thanksgiving match-up.