The Indianapolis Colts will be facing the New England Patriots for the second time this season. The Colts struggled to contain someone named Jonas Gray that evening as the Pats pulled away late.
While the final score was lopsided 42-20, the Colts were within one score early in the four quarter. A gut check drive by Indy was capped off with a touchdown pass to Anthony Castonzo. That led to one of the best touchdown celebrations of the season.
Unfortunately, the Colts defense couldn’t get a stop in the second half. Four of the Patriots drives ended in the endzone and the fifth ended the game.
Gray punished the Colts to the tune of 201 yards and four touchdowns. It was basically the perfect storm of awful run defense. Colts defenders were out of position, tackled poorly, and on some plays literally ran away from the ball carrier.
Since that game, Gray has had just 20 carries for 80 yards and a touchdown. That was over the course of five games and no, he hasn’t been injured. Gray didn’t even play against the Ravens last week.
The Patriots seem to be finding a running back off the street every week, although LeGarrette Blount has led the team in rushing in four of their last six regular season games.
In the first half, Tom Brady played poorly and the Colts came away with two interceptions. He was a bit gunshy in the pocket and rushed too many passes. Once he realized that the pass rush wasn’t going to land, he settled down and started to pick the secondary apart.
Vontae Davis had his second worst game of the season and gave up four passes for 48 yards. The entire secondary struggled in coverage that day, and even with two interceptions Mike Adams had a rough night.
And then Rob Gronkowski finished the Colts off with a brutal catch and run to extinguish all hopes of a comeback.
The Patriots did two things really well in this game: shut down the run and take away T.Y. Hilton.
The Colts had just 19 yards rushing on 16 carries. That includes three Luck scrambles for 15 yards. Yeah, it was a bad day running the ball.
The Colts still had Ahmad Bradshaw for most of this game, but he suffered an ankle fracture late in the game, ending his season. Coach Bill Belichick schemed to take Bradshaw out of the game and he wasn’t even a factor in the passing attack.
Coby Fleener lit up the Pats and caught all seven passes thrown his way for 144 yards. It was his most efficient game of the season. Dwayne Allen only saw 14 snaps as he injured his ankle early in the game.
This time around, the Colts have a much healthier roster and a bolstered run defense. The coaches and players took it as a point of pride to improve the run defense and for the most part it has worked.
On paper, this loss looks much worse that it really is. Rushing all over the Colts defense for a third straight game is highly unlikely and a healthier, more cohesive offense will be able to keep pace with the Patriots.
Expect more of a shootout this time around with the Patriots. The perfect end to this game is of course a 50-yard field goal from former Patriot Adam Vinatieri as time expires to deny New England a trip to the Super Bowl.