Best and Worst: Patriots 38, Colts 24
FOXBORO -- The rivalry's back on? Not on this night, it wasn't.
Oh, the Colts did make a game of it, sort of, by taking advantage of uncharacteristic New England turnovers to cut New England's lead to seven points early in the fourth qiuarter. But a long touchdown run by Sony Michel and a long, record-setting touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Josh Gordon put the Pats back in charge and in the end, they coasted to an easy win over Indianapolis.
Here's the best and worst of it all . . .
With Julian Edelman coming back from his ACL and four-game suspension, it took no time at all for Tom Brady to get him back in the mix. Edelman sat down at the sticks for a 9-yard gain.
LAST THING THEY NEED
On the second play of the Patriots second drive, Colts middle linebacker Anthony Walker used a little too much head when wrapping up Sony Michel and left the game for a concussion evaluation
Edelman was free on a wheel route that would have been at least a 25-yard gain on the Patriots second drive but the teardrop hit his hands and fell incomplete. It led to a punt.
The Patriots put Edelman back to field the first punt of the game
Old friend and future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri clanged a 38-yard attempt near the end of the first quarter. He atoned soon after by converting from 54.
THAT WAS SO AUGUST
On a second quarter drive, Sony Michel burst through a wide hole and was eventually confronted by Indy’s Clayton Geathers. Both Michel and Geathers lowered their helmets to initiate contact. Michel his Geathers’ chest. Geathers hit Michel’s shoulder. Both guys did what the NFL asked players not to do. No flag flew. Geathers left for concussion protocol.
Tom Brady had a particularly erratic drive in the second quarter as he missed Josh Gordon on first down, overthrew James White down the sideline on second down (ignoring a wide-open Gronk down the middle of the field) then threw low to Gronk in the right flat.
Edelman eluded four Colts during a jitterbugging return in the second quarter then headed to the Colts sideline to jaw some more. The return came back a few because of a block in the back.
James White had a game in the first half, targeted 11 times, catching eight for 78 yards and a touchdown. Brady also had a big half with 203 yards passing, completing 23 of 27 for two touchdowns.
Brady had a terrific third-and-4 conversion to Gronk on the Patriots second drive of the second half, stepping up in the pocket and –despite being wrapped around the thighs – Brady delivered a 15-yard dart to Gronkowski. He followed that with another 15-yard completion as Gronk made a diving grab.
Chris Hogan had a simple throw from Brady elude him in the third quarter. It deflected off his arms and into the arms of safety Matthias Farley.
WRONG TIME, FELLAS
After the interception, the entire Colts secondary ran down the field and gathered on the goal line to pose for an imaginary group picture. The score at the time was 24-10.
Devin McCourty, beaten by Eric Ebron earlier in the second half for a touchdown, had a neat strip of Colts running back Jordan Wilkins in the third quarter.
Rob Gronkowski – who got plenty of third-quarter usage – had a throw down the middle jarred loose from him before he could tuck it away inside the Indy 5. The ball blooped out and was caught on the fly by Najeh Goode.It was ruled an interception.
With both Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady chasing production incentives, the Gronk mishandle took 19 yards of receiving away from Gronk while the interception hurts Brady's passing yards, completion percentage and quarterback rating.