The Patriots didn't play a perfect game tonight, and the game's outcome wasn't really decided until a final Stevan Ridley touchdown run that put them up 21 midway through the final quarter. There were sloppy moments, such as Danny Aiken's terrible snap that led to a safety in the second quarter.
But overall, this was a heck of a total team victory and it has the Patriots moving one win away from another Super Bowl appearance.
The offensive MVP of this game is obvious. Running back LeGarrette Blount was in beast mode again on Sunday. He scored four total rushing touchdowns on Sunday, and was once again a pile driving force. His 73 yard touchdown on the first play of the Patriots first fourth quarter drive changed the complexion of the game.
The emergence of this running game has been nothing short of transformative for the Patriots. It may have been out of necessity, but the Patriots have become a true power running football team. The Patriots had a 44-27 run:pass ratio in this game.
Defensively, the MVP is just as obvious: rookie linebacker Jamie Collins. The rookie had a coming out party at the most critical time of the season. He was all over the field as a run defender, pass rusher, and in pass coverage. He finished with six tackles, two for a loss, a sack, and a game-changing 4th quarter interception.
There were a few examples of bad secondary play, but overall, the back-end held up very well. Alfonzo Dennard had two interceptions of his own: an interception on the opening drive that set up a touchdown as well as an interception on the Colts' final drive to cement the victory.
There's just something about this team that is hard to put into words. From Stephen Gostkowski stepping in for an injured Ryan Allen at punter, to a team that has completely reinvented itself after December. The Patriots are going to the AFC Championship. And while we can continue to doubt them based on their perceived talent level, this team's will to win may ultimately prevail.