After a 45-7 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots are moving onto Super Bowl XLIX to face the Seattle Seahawks.
For the second straight year, the Patriots completely dominated the Colts in a playoff match-up. For the sixth time in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are moving onto the Super Bowl.
Where to start in the analysis of this one?
On offense, the two biggest playmakers were Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount. Edelman converted five third down conversions as well as a fourth down. LeGarrette Blount set the pace for the offense, picking up 148 yards and three touchdowns. He broke tackles, drove piles, used his agility to pick up big gains, and was excellent in short yardage situations. The entire offensive line also held up very well, with Josh Kline stepping in for the injured Bryan Stork.
The play of the game? Probably Nate Solder's third quarter touchdown. On a third and one in the red zone, Solder lined up as a tackle-eligible. The Patriots were running it down the throat of the Colts' defense, and a play action found Solder wide open for the catch, run, and touchdown. The play extended the Patriots lead to 24-7, and they ran away with it from there.
Defensively, the Patriots were overwhelming. Darrelle Revis was absolutely dominant, shutting out Reggie Wayne and intercepting a pass. Rob Ninkovich had just three tackles, but deflected two passes and was in top form. Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower helped control the running game, and the secondary held Andrew Luck to an abysmal 12/33, two interception line.
We'll have a lot more analysis shortly. For now, the punchline we've all been waiting for this season: "we're onto Super Bowl XLIX."