The (2-2) New England Patriots hosted the (1-3) Indianapolis Colts for Thursday Night Football. The Patriots got both Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski on the field for the first time since late 2016, while the Colts were battling injuries to multiple starters on both sides of the ball.
Can the Patriots build off their week 4 success against the Miami Dolphins? Or will they be upset by the hapless Colts?
The Patriots beat the Colts 38-24. Check out our live updates from the game.
Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Jacob Hollister are expected to play!
Inactives reported here. Patriots are close to full strength, while the Colts are missing their top three cornerbacks, top linebacker, top wide receiver, top tight end, and top running back. Yikes.
The Indianapolis Colts won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half.
That was easy. Tom Brady completed all 9 passes for 78 yards before finding Cordarrelle Patterson for a 1-yard score and a 7-0 lead. Sony Michel and James White gained 2 yards on 3 carries, while Brady completed passes to five different targets. This looks like it will be a passing game for New England against a depleted Colts secondary. Oh, and Julian Edelman had 3 catches for 28 yards. He looks as good as ever. Brady now has 498 career touchdown passes in the regular season.
And the Patriots defense picked up where they left Miami last week and forced a three-and-out, thanks to a monster 9-yard sack by Patrick Chung and Trey Flowers. Julian Edelman returned the punt past midfield, too. The Patriots are cooking.
how to not heal your shoulder pic.twitter.com/rw9WrHNwKA— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) October 5, 2018
The Patriots were unable to capitalize on the good field position, but the Colts suffered another serious injury as starting linebacker Anthony Walker had to come off the field. Edelman dropped a wide-open pass that could have gone for 25 yards on third-and-five for Brady’s first incompletion of the day. Ryan Allen pinned the Colts on their 6-yard line.
The Colts responded with a big 24-yard gain from Andrew Luck to Chester Rogers and then converted a third-and-five with an 8-yard pass to Eric Ebron. Indianapolis moved with the no-huddle and chipped their way down the field with short gains to the 20-yard line, but good run defense by Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy, and solid coverage by Duron Harmon and Jason McCourty forced the Colts to kick. Adam Vinatieri missed the 38-yarder (!!) and the Patriots take over from their 28-yard line.
James White picked up 18 yards and the Patriots are back on the Colts 49-yard line to start the second quarter.
Sony Michel caught a pass for 12 yards to open up the second quarter (he had 6 receiving yards on the year!). Brady found Gronkowski for 6 yards and a roughing the passer penalty moved the Patriots to the 16 yard line. Michel followed that with a powerful 14-yard gain up the gut to the 2-yard line, with the final hit he laid on strong safety Clayton Geathers forcing the safety out of the game. Michel couldn’t punch it in from the 1-yard line on the next two plays (although the second attempt could have been challenged), so Brady just jumped over the pile to record the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The Colts responded with a second-straight drive to get into field goal range, but great coverage by Jonathan Jones forced Indianapolis to settle for a 54-yard attempt, which Vinatieri hit to cut the score to 14-3. John Simon suffered a shoulder injury and is questionable to return.
The Patriots went three-and-out as Brady couldn’t connect with White, underthrew Josh Gordon, and had to settle for a dump-off to Gronkowski for 1-yard because no one got open down the field.
The Colts started their drive from the 22-yard line and a false start negated a first down run of four yards. On second-and-11, Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown had his left knee buckle in the trenches and his teammates immediately called for medical attention. Hopefully Brown doesn’t have a serious injury as he walked off the field under his own power and went to the locker room. An offensive holding call set up a third-and-17 from the Colts 15-yard line and Adam Butler tackled Nyheim Hines for a 3-yard loss to set up a fourth-and-20.
The Patriots started their next drive from their 32-yard line. Brady found White for 12 yards and Chris Hogan for 21 yards to get into Colts territory. Michel gained 20 yards on the next two carries to get into the red zone. With a little more than 2 minutes on the clock, the Patriots slowed down the tempo to prevent the Colts from having an opportunity for what is technically called a “double-whammy”. Brady found White for a 6-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead with 94 seconds left in the half.
Brady now has 499 career touchdown passes in the regular season.
Luck and the Colts tried to put some points on the board before the half, but Adrian Clayborn generates good pressure on the quarterback and Luck throws a bad interception to Patrick Chung to set the Patriots up on the Colts 49-yard line with 38 seconds and 3 time outs.
Chung LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/7hfefWX225— New Account (@ftbeard_17) October 5, 2018
The Patriots moved down the field and finished the half with a 45-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to take a 24-3 lead.
Josh McDaniels has called an incredible first half as the Patriots have done a great job spreading around the football. Michel has 56 yards from scrimmage, while White has 74 and a score. Edelman (28), Hogan (27), Gronkowski (26), and Dorsett (25) all have more than 20 yards on the day, while Patterson has multiple catches and a touchdown. Josh Gordon is the only player not to get involved on offense (unless you count Jacob Hollister, Dwayne Allen, and James Develin).
Brady completed 23 of his 27 pass attempts (85.2%) for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of those incompletions was a wide open drop by Edelman. This offense is incredible balanced and Brady is back in 2017 MVP form.
On defense, the Patriots have done a pretty good job of containing the Colts offense. Luck has 116 passing yards on 21 attempts, with Chester Rodgers (7 catches, 63 yards) the only reliable target in the offense. The Colts running game is completely stifled, too, with a mere 26 yards on 9 carries (2.9 yards per carry).
The Colts get the ball after the half.
The Colts and Patriots swapped punts to start the second half, but a 33-yard punt return by Chester Rogers set the Colts up on the Patriots 35-yard line and Andrew Luck finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron over Devin McCourty, who has seemingly consistently been a step behind in coverage on out-routes this year. The Patriots lead 24-10.
Tom Brady and the Patriots were driving and getting Rob Gronkowski involved, but Chris Hogan flipped the ball up to a Colts defender for an interception. This game isn’t over yet and Bill Belichick will have plenty to be upset about.
Well, that’s one way to swing the momentum back in the Patriots direction. Devin McCourty stripped running back Jordan Wilkins of the football to get the ball back to the Patriots at midfield. AAAND Rob Gronkowski had the ball popped up out of his hands by the goal line and the Colts intercepted another pass off a ricochet. Brady has to be furious.
EDIT: They’re calling it a Gronkowski fumble and not a Brady interception. Still. The Patriots receivers have removed a likely 6 points and a possible 14 points off the board.
Patriots have 9 giveaways this season. They had 12 all of last season— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 5, 2018
EDIT: They’re now calling it an interception again.
The Colts are driving to start the fourth quarter. The Patriots are 104-0 when leading by 14 at the start of the fourth quarter under Bill Belichick.
Eric Ebron decided to have a career game, apparently, and he now has 92 yards and a touchdown on the day. Luck found Erik Swoope for a 13-yard touchdown over Devin McCourty to cut the Patriots lead to 24-17. McCourty is having a tough game.
And, my, how the tables turn. Tom Brady rebounded by getting Josh Gordon involved in the game and connected for a 34-yard touchdown deep down the field. Tom Brady now has 500 career regular season touchdown passes and has completed a regular season touchdown pass to an NFL-record 71 different players. The Patriots now lead 31-17.
Jeez, the Patriots just aren’t getting any interception luck tonight. Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore had interceptions swatted out of their hands. Devin McCourty made a good tackle in the open field to force a fourth-and-5, but Luck found the rookie running back Hines in between Van Noy and McCourty for a first down. BUT BALL DON’T LIE as Jonathan Jones came down with an interception after Jason McCourty deflected the ball out of the hands of the Colts receiver.
Patriots CBs so far:— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 5, 2018
Gilmore: one catch on five targets, 12 yards, three PBUs
J McCourty: two catches on six targets, 22 yards
And Sony Michel delivers the dagger with a 34-yard touchdown run on the very first play of the next drive. Michel now has back-to-back games with 100+ yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. The Patriots lead 38-17.
The Colts drove down the field, but turned the ball over on downs as they tried to put points on the board. James White dropped a Tom Brady pass on third down that would have iced the game for New England. Luck found Swoope over McCourty (this one for 26 yards) to get to the goal line. Luck found Eric Ebron for a touchdown to bring the score to 38-24.
Nate Ebner recovered the onside kick. This game is over.
Date: Thursday, October 4, 2018
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
SB Nation affiliate: Stampede Blue
TV: NFL Network and FOX, with Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color commentary), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) and Kristina Pink (sideline reporter)