The game didn’t have the luster it usually has with Peyton Manning on the sidelines, but that doesn’t make the win any less meaningful. The Patriots improve to 9-3, keeping pace with the Steelers and the Texans in the battle for the #1 seed in the playoffs, and the Colts remain winless on the season. The score indicates a closer game than what was seen on the field for the majority of the time played, as the score was 31-3 at the end of the third quarter. The Colts then came back to score 21 points in the fourth quarter and hold the Patriot offense scoreless.
The defensive woes continued against the pass, allowing third-string QB Dan Orlovsky to go 30/37 for 353 yards, 2 touchdowns and a pick. In total, the winless Colts had 437 total net yards of offense and converted 66% of their third-down tries. WR/special teams captain Matthew Slater spent some time time playing safety and was often caught out of position. Devin McCourty, making his return to th efield after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder injury, was picked on by Orlovsky in the 4th quarter and gave up some big completions.
Offensively, as the score would indicate, the Patriots remained hot. Tom Brady went 29/38 for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns. TE Rob Gronkowski scored three touchdowns, which should have garnered him the record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season by a tight in NFL history. However, on Gronk’s third TD, it was ruled a lateral and thus recorded officially as a rushing touchdown. Therefore, as it stands now, Gronkowski is tied for the most receiving touchdowns in a single season by a tight end (13) with Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates. Gronk had 5 total catches for 64 yards. The Pats’ leading rusher on the day was Stevan Ridley, who rushed 8 times for 33 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis also had a rushing touchdown. The Pats’ leading receiver in the game was Wes Welker, who caught 11 passes for 114 yards.
Next up are the Washington Redskins on the road, who gave the Jets a run for their money today.