Patriots

Colts acknowledge 'embarrassing defeat' in AFC Championship

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Colts acknowledge 'embarrassing defeat' in AFC Championship

INDIANAPOLIS - While a good number of NFL fans remember the AFC Championship as the night Tom Brady and the Patriots were allegedly altering air pressure of game balls, the Indianapolis Colts have an entirely different memory of that 45-7 loss at Gillette Stadium as they head into this Sunday’s rematch, this time at Lucas Oil Stadium

“It certainly was an embarrassing defeat,” said quarterback Andrew Luck. “You don’t want to be associated with those types of losses. As far as motivation, I think if you need motivation from a past game to go out and play a football game, I don’t know, that’s probably wrong in my mind. We go out to win every time, at least personally. Every game is a challenge no matter if you play the team before or not or what happened before. We all have our own motivation, but in my mind, sure you don’t want to be associated with a loss like that in the past but I don’t know if it has that much bearing on this week.”

Matt Hasselbeck, who’s both started and won the last two games as Luck recovers from a shoulder injury, believes the Colts don’t think about Deflategate, rather the beatdown they absorbed in a decidedly one-sided game from start to finish

“It was a reminder of us getting embarrassed on national TV in the AFC Championship game,” he said. “They took it to us in that game and played great, and we played terrible and so every time - I  would say in this locker room - every time that game gets brought up, it’s not something we want to think about or talk about.”

“They just flat out outplayed us the whole stretch of the way,” said linebacker D’qwell Jackson. “We were in that game for a blink of an eye.”

Now maybe that loss has no impact on what happens Sunday night in Indy. These two teams have had the usual offseason personnel turnover. But maybe the anger that exists in Foxborough will be unleashed on the Colts and their fans in a game that the entire country will be tuning in to see.

“We know it’s going to be a dogfight,” said Jackson. “Right now we’re trending in the right direction. We’ve been playing well as of late. We’re finally getting some guys back from injury. So to address the elephant in the room, this is the game where we’re going to see each other later down the road. It has implications on the playoffs, whether home or away. So guys are aware of it but if you start to do things differently than what you’ve done in weeks past it’s going to throw you off. So the main thing for all the players, coaches, everyone involved – stay the course, do what you’ve been doing and let’s go out and play on Sunday.”

“I don’t know how they operate,” Hasselbeck said. “They are one of the great enigmas of our league. They always find a way to win. I have a tremendous amount of respect for their success and how they get it done year after year. They always get it done. This is a team, they are the toughest game on your schedule.”

They have been, for well over a decade now. And they have been a massive thorn in the Colts side, winning 4 straight over Andrew Luck’s Colts, but way before that, tormenting Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy and the almost-great Indy teams of the past decade. If you know how the powers that be feel at Patriot Place, you know they’d love nothing more than to keep this run going, with Sunday night the logical continuation of this latest chapter.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE