We're down to the final five now. In a season filled with absolute madness, it's these five that stand out the most. The Top 5 anything is always a solid list, and the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2014 is no exception.
We also close out Colts month with this moment; the past few weeks have highlighted the various times that New England has absolutely steamrolled Indy in their two matchups this season. And while it's been fun to relive said steamrolling, I think it's fitting that we finish our journey down the Colts memory lane with the steamrollingest steamroll that ever steamrolled.
But first, the list so far:
20. Jimmy Garoppolo wins a job - and our hearts - with a spectacular preseason.
19. Brandon LaFell officially arrives in a Week 6 contest against the Buffalo Bills.
18. The Patriots get embarrassed on national television with a 41-14 beatdown at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.
17. The Patriots sign Darrelle Revis.
16. Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins help the Patriots lock up a 1st round bye against the New York Jets.
15. Chandler Jones blocks a Blair Walsh field goal attempt against the Minnesota Vikings to keep the momentum with the Patriots.
14. Rob Gronkowski officially returns to form as the Patriots destroy the Chicago Bears.
13. Darrelle Revis shuts down Calvin Johnson as the Patriots stomp the Lions.
12. Chris Jones finds redemption in the form of a last second blocked field goal against the New York Jets.
11. The Patriots avenge a Week 1 loss by obliterating the Dolphins to secure the AFC East.
10. Julian Edelman's catch and run helps lift the Patriots over the San Diego Chargers.
9. Danny Amendola hauls in a 19 yard touchdown catch on 3rd and goal against the Jets to secure a lead.
8. Jonas Gray rushes for 200+ yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.
7. LeGarrette Blount goes off - again - against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
6. Nate Solder rumbles into the end zone off a playaction pass against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
At number 5, we have everyone's favorite tight end doing what he does best.
5. Rob Gronkowski bowls over the entire Colts defense on his way to the end zone and a 42-20 rout.
During New England's Week 11 matchup against the Colts, it seemed that Gronk was best utilized as a blocker. Jonas Gray was having a career game, the Colts couldn't stop the run to save their lives, and Tommy B's most explosive weapon was more or less a nice added bonus as the Pats scored at will. Of course, Gronk being Gronk, he decided that even if we was going to be relegated to a blocking role, he wasn't going to be denied a spot on the highlight reel. And unfortunately for Sergio Brown, the highlight reel he made. However, with just three catches for 45 yards, this game wasn't going to go down as one of the big man's best.
That is, of course, until the 4th quarter.
With New England sitting comfortably at 35-20 with less than 10 minutes to play in the game, the Colts had no choice but to enter four down territory. Shortly after Gray ran in for his fourth TD of the day, Indy received a short kickoff at the 11 and returned it 21 yards to the 32. Four incomplete passes and 30 seconds later, it was suddenly New England's ball on the 32.
A Jonas Gray run for three yards followed by another Jonas Gray run for three yards set up third and four at the Colts 26 with the clock still running. All signs pointed to another Gray run, some more seconds gone, and a field goal attempt to go up 18 points. So the Colts were a bit unprepared when Tommy B lined the offense up in shotgun with two receivers stacked to his right, Tim Wright in the slot on his left, and Vereen in the backfield as a pass blocker. Gronk was lined up off the line on the right stack before Brady sent him in motion over to the left side. While Gronk was still making his move, Brady called for the snap and Gronk cut to run upfield. Wright ran a simple inside post route, drawing two defenders with him and preventing linebacker D'Qwell Jackson from getting a direct line to coverage as he followed him across the line. Gronk broke to the sideline just past the first down marker and Brady hit him in stride as Jackson ran over to try and make the tackle. Gronk spun back inside with a forearm shiver, sending Jackson plummeting to the ground, and ran back towards the middle of the sideline. Safety Mike Adams and cornerback Greg Toler converged on Gronk to try and bring him down. Gronk stiffaremed Adams, then stiffarmed Toler; to add insult to injury, Julian Edelman ran over and absolutely lit Adams up with a monster block, giving Gronk a good lane to the end zone. As he bounded towards the goal line, DE Kendall Langford tried desperately to bring him down from behind, but couldn't catch him. Still, two Colts - Darius Butler and Vontae Davis - stood between Gronk and the end zone, and both tried to lower the shoulder and stop him in any way that he could. Tried, of course, is the operative word, because Gronk leaped up and over both of them, landing on his back for the score. A silent, stunned Indianapolis crowd tried desperately to comprehend what they just saw as his teammates came over to celebrate. Patriots 42, Colts 20.
Back on the sidelines after the score, Gronk was his usual calm, reflective self, positing the ever-poignant "I don't even know how I did that," and "I juked like five guys" before launching into his patented Gronk shuffle. The game, already well in hand by that point, was now officially over, and it was time to run out the clock.
This play makes the top five for so many reasons. One, it put an exclamation point on an already dominant New England performance. Two, it was just an unbelievable play, power, talent, and athleticism on full display. Three, it was probably one of the best plays of the entire year, across the entire league, and has made every single 2014 highlight reel I have seen so far. And four, it was about as vintage Gronk as you can possibly get: pure destruction on the field, pure goofy joy off it. It was the sheer definition of imposing your will, and in that moment, Patriots Nation felt invincible.
Check out the play here. To hear Gronk's TD called by the Indy radio commentator, click here.
Four to go.