Ryan L. Fox
You would think that after a much needed win, there would be time to celebrate. However in Foxboro, the only time for celebration is after the season and when there is a Super Bowl banner to be hung. After their big win on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots had a short week before hosting the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football.
Luckily, the Patriots were getting reinforcements as WR Julian Edelman’s 4-game suspension for PEDs was finally over. With a full arsenal of weapons on offense, the Patriots were ready to take on the Colts.
The Patriots began the game, receiving the opening kickoff. They began their first possession of the game at their own 25. It didn’t take long for QB Tom Brady to find Edelman as the two hooked up for their first connection of the season, a 9 yard pass over the middle to the New England 34. The hooked up again 5 plays later on the same drive. However it was a 13 yard pass to the Indianapolis 37 on 2nd and 6 from midfield. The crowd cheered loudly as the home team drove all the way down to the Indianapolis 1. There, on 3rd and goal, Brady found WR Cordarrelle Patterson for a quick 1 yard touchdown pass. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted the PAT as the Patriots got the early 7-0 lead.
The two teams then proceeded to exchange punts with one another as then the Colts got the ball on their own 6. Quarterback Andrew Luck was able to gash the Patriots defense, driving his team all the way down to the Patriots 20. However after a 1 yard carry by RB Nyheim Hines, Luck missed his receivers on two consecutive passes. On 4th and 9 at the 20, former Patriots and current Colts K Adam Vinatieri came on to kick a 38 yard field goal. However the ball clanked off the left upright as the Patriots got the ball at their 28.
Brady got the offense up to the Indianapolis 49 in two plays as the 1st quarter came to a close.
When the 2nd quarter opened up, the Patriots continued to march down the field. They got all the way down to the Indianapolis 2. Two carries by RB Sony Michel on got the ball down to the 1 yard line. From there on 3rd and goal, QB Tom Brady decided leap over the goal line for his rushing touchdown of the 2018 campaign. Gostkowski booted the PAT as the Patriots went up 14-0.
The Colts could only respond back with a 54-yard field goal by Vinatieri to cut into the Patriots’ lead, 14-3 as the two teams then exchanged punts with each other.
The Patriots ended up getting the ball back with less than 5:30 left in the quarter on their own 32. From there, Brady lead the offense down the field while RB Sony Michel carried the rock all the way down to the Indianapolis 6. A holding call backed the Patriots up to the Indianapolis 13 but Brady went to RB James White for the next two passing plays, including a 6 yard touchdown. The PAT by Gostkowski helped extend the Patriots lead to 21-3.
With time running down in the first half, the Colts tried for one more score before halftime. But Luck’s pass to Hines was intercepted by Patriots S Patrick Chung at the New England 49 and was returned to the Indianapolis 49. The Patriots were able to drive down to the Indianapolis 27 where Gostkowski booted a 45 yard field goal to make the score 24-3 before going into halftime.
Both teams opened up the second half with an exchange of punts with one another.
On their second possession of the half, the Colts were able to start deep within Patriots territory thanks to a 33 yard punt return by WR Chester Rogers. From the Patriots 35, Luck drove the offense down to the Patriots 14. From there, he found TE Eric Ebron for the 14 yard touchdown. Vinatieri booted the PAT as the Colts then made it 24-10.
After Michel brought back the ensuing kickoff to the New England 32, Brady and the offense took over to try and answer the Colts touchdown. There were able to get as far down as the Indianapolis 30. However on 2nd and 8, Brady found WR Chris Hogan for what would have been a 7 yard pass to the Indianapolis 23. However Hogan bobbled the ball up and it was picked off by Colts S Matthias Farley and returned to the Indianapolis 30.
But then 4 plays later, with 1st and 10 at the Indianapolis 44, Luck found RB Jordan Wilkins in the flat. However Patriots S Devin McCourty tackled Wilkins before punching the ball out and recovering it at midfield.
But then 5 plays later, with 2nd and 20 from the Indianapolis, Brady found TE Rob Gronkowski at the Indianapolis 4. However Gronkowski had the ball knocked up and out from his hands as Colts LB Najee Goode came up with it, bringing the ball to the Indianapolis 20. From there, Luck took drove the ball down to the New England 39 to end the 3rd quarter.
The Colts continued their drive in the 4th quarter, getting all the way down to the New England 16. From there, Luck found TE Erik Swoope for the 16 yard touchdown pass. The Vinatieri PAT then made it 24-17 as things were getting a little too close for comfort in Foxboro.
After getting the ball back at their own 25, Brady led the offense down the field all the way to the Indianapolis 34. From there, Brady found WR Josh Gordon in the end zone and was able to thread the needle between two Colts defenders for a 34 yard touchdown pass. The Gostkowski PAT then pushed the Patriots lead to 31-17.
Sensing the game starting to get away, the Colts decided to abandon the run and rely strictly on the pass. However that proved to be fatal as on 1st and 10 from the New England 49, Luck’s pass to WR Zach Pascal was intercepted by Patriots CB Johnathan Jones at the New England 38 and returned to the Indianapolis 34.
From there, it took just one play for the Patriots to get into the end zone as Michel broke off a 34 yard into the end zone almost untouched. Gostkowski’s PAT afterwards made it 38-17.
With a little over 7 minutes left in the game, the Colts got the ball back and began the drive at their own 25. Going no huddle for a majority of the drive, Luck got the Colts offense all the way down to the Patriots 15. The Patriots defense held tight as the Colts decided to go for it on 4th down. However Luck’s pass to Ebron fell short as the Patriots took over on downs at their 15.
The Colts defense forced the Patriots to punt as they got the ball back at their own 40 with a little over 3 minutes left in the game. The Colts got down to the New England 27 where on 1st and 10, Luck found Swoope for what appeared to be a 27 yard touchdown pass. But on further review, the call was reversed as the ref saw that Swoope was down at the 1 yard line before the ball broke the plane.
So instead of a touchdown, it ended up being a 26 yard pass down to the New England 1. But on the ensuing play, Luck found Ebron near the left corner of the end zone for ‘garbage time’ touchdown. Vinatieri booted the PAT through as the score was 38-24.
The Patriots got the ball back as Brady simply knelt the ball 2 times in victory formation to run out the clock. When the clock finally hit 00:00, the Patriots came away victorious by the final score of 38-24 and rose to 3-2 after 5 weeks of play.
Notable Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 34-for-44 for 341 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT for a QB Rating of 102.6, 3 carries for -1 yard and 1 TD
RB Sony Michel: 18 carries for 98yards and 1 TD, 1 kick return for 26 yards
RB James White: 2 carries for 0 yard, 10 catches (on 14 targets) for 77 yards and 1 TD
TE Rob Gronkowski: 6 catches (of 7 targets) for 75 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 7 catches (on 9 targets) for 57 yards, 2 punt returns for 20 yards
S Patrick Chun: 11 tackles (3 solo, 8 assist), 0.5 sacks, 1 INT for 2 yards, 1 pass defended
S Devin McCourty: 14 tackles (11 solo, 3 assist), 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
CB Jonathan Jones: 5 tackles (5 solo, 0 assist), 1 INT for 28 yards, 2 passes Defended
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
8 – The number of consecutive wins the Patriots have over the Colts since 2010
71– The number of touchdown targets Brady has in his career, which now gives him the record (Brady tied the record last week against the Dolphins)
500– Number of career touchdowns Brady has thrown, placing him third all-time behind Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Farve (508).
7,412 – Career total receiving yards for Gronk, putting him 2nd all-time in franchise history in receiving yards behind former Patriots WR Stanley Morgan (10,352)
31 – Number of wins that the Patriots have accumulated at home since 2003 (31-3)
355 – Total net passing yards the Patriots defense gave up, including 169 yards to tight ends
83 – Number of 300 yard passing games Brady has had over his career, including tonight’s contest
606 – The number of days since Edelman last played in a regular game (Super Bowl LI)
Welcome Back Jules!!!
One of the bigger stories going into this game was the return of Patriots wide out Julian Edelman.
As you may know, earlier in the offseason Edelman was suspended for 4 games for taking a performance enhancing drug. This was coming off a 2017 season where Edelman tore his ACL and missed the entire season because of it.
After getting by the first 4 games, Edelman made his 2018 debut against the Colts. Though there were some doubt whether or not Edelman would play like the Edelman of old, he put all that to rest.
On the first play in the first quarter, he hauled in a 9 yard pass from Brady and then a 13 yard pass on that same drive. Edelman actually finished the game with 7 catches (on 13 targets) for 57 yards. Not to mention that Edelman made a splash on special teams with 2 punt returns for 20 total net return yards.
If there was only one flaw in Edelman’s game is that on the second Patriots drive, he dropped a Brady pass. But that’s just being picky at best.
More importantly, the right knee held up throughout his playing time (50 snaps out of 71 snaps) and he showed little to no signs of slowing down. With a potential offensive shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs looming in 9 days, Brady needs all hands on deck and none more important than the hands of JE11.
Fox Fist Bump
It’s RB Sonny Michel again this week. Another strong outing this week, pounding the rock for 98 tough yards including a 34 yard touchdown late in the 4th quarter that put the game away. The rook is making doubters into believers and believers into ‘BLEEEEEHHHH! SEE, SEE! SONY MICHEL WAS A GREAT DRAFT PICK! BLEEEEEHHHH!’
The Meatball this week goes to S Devin McCourty. Even though he posted some solid numbers (14 total tackles and a fumble recovery), he got absolutely torched by Colts tight ends, especially in the red zone. All 3 Colts touchdowns were scored by the tight end position and the Patriot that was covering them was…yup…McCourty.
Honorable Meatball is split between WR Chris Hogan and TE Rob Gronkowski for not holding onto the ball, which lead to Patriots turnovers. Gotta hold onto the ball you guys.
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