The New England Patriots produced an incredible display of football on Sunday night, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, beating the Indianapolis Colts 59 – 24. There was a lot of expectation riding on this game, as many looked forward to the match-up between the Colts rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, against the Patriots future hall of famer, Tom Brady. Both teams came into the game 6–3. Luck and the Colts were looking to improve on a 4 game winning streak. The Patriots however had received a lot of criticism from previous games on not being able to close out their games. The Patriots, who recently played in London, and last years super bowl runners up, went into the game as favourites.
The first quarter was evenly matched. The Colts drew first blood with a 1 yard rushing touchdown from runningback Delone Carter. The extra point was successfully converted by former Patriot Adam Vinatieri. The Patriots replied with Brady, orchestrating an eight play drive that resulted in a Rob Gronkowski Touchdown. Gronkowski, the Patriots tight end, is one of Bradys favourite weapons to throw to, standing at 6 foot 6 and weighing 265 pounds, makes him impossible to stop. Andrew Luck showed why he was the number one pick in the draft, by moving the chains, late in the first quarter, with a ten play drive. Luck finished the drive with a fourteen yard pass to T.Y Hilton, with the extra point converted by Vinatieri. The first quarter ended 14-7 to the Colts.
The first score of the second quarter came from Julien Edlemen with a 68 yard punt return for a touchdown. From here on out the Patriots began to dismantle the Colts and showed why they are one of the favourite super bowl contenders this year. Luck began to get frustrated throwing an interception to Patriots newcomer Aqib Talib who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. Luck put the Colts in a position for a 47 yard field goal which was the Colts only score of the quarter. A Gostkowski field goal just before half time put the Patriots 24-17 ahead.
The first score of the third quarter, saw Julien Edelman at the end of a 2 yard pass from Brady. This put the patriots 31-17 ahead. Lucks frustration continued, as he received little protection from his offensive line that saw him get sacked, fumble the ball, and throw interceptions. It did not look good for the rookie as the Patriots grew stronger. The Brady-Gronkowski connection came into play again, with Gronkowski catching a 24 yard pass and power over a Colts defender, to score his second touchdown of the night. The Colts both defensively and offensively couldn’t keep up with the Patriots.
The fourth quarter saw the Patriots answer their critics, by closing the game out with 3 touchdowns. The first came when Luck threw yet another interception, with Alfonzo Dennard returning it 87 yards for a touchdown. However Luck showed some incredible arm strength with a 43 yard pass to T.Y Hilton who went in for his second touchdown of the night. The Patriots had the last say with two rushing touchdowns from Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen.
The game ended 59-24 to the Patriots. It was an embarrassing night for Luck and the Colts. For Andrew Luck it will be a lesson learned as he watched a passing master class from Tom Brady. For the rest of the Colts team it’s back to the drawing board. Bill Belicheck (Patriots headcoach) will be happy with his team tonight, with the offense, defence and special teams all getting on the scoreboard. It was bad news for Gronkowski that saw him suffer a broken forearm, that will keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. The Patriots will want to build on this performance with the playoffs just around the corner and will want to secure that ever important home playoff game.
By Cian Twomey