Patriots

Patriots vs. Colts rivalry: Looking back at New England's best wins over Indy

Patriots

The rivalry between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts since 2000 has been one of the NFL's greatest.

It has produced some of the best regular season and playoff games of the era, while also featuring many of the sport's all-time players, most notably quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

A new chapter in this rivalry will be written Saturday night when the Colts host the Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in a pivotal Week 15 matchup.

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The Patriots have won eight consecutive games versus the Colts, a streak that started in 2010.

As we get ready for this weekend's showdown, let's look back at the best Patriots wins over the Colts since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000.

Week 3, 2001: Patriots 44, Colts 13

Tom Brady made his first career start against Peyton Manning's 2-0 Colts at the old Foxboro Stadium in September of 2001. Brady didn't play great, completing 16 of 23 pass attempts with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

It was the New England defense that stole the show. Manning was intercepted three times, including pick-6s by Otis Smith and Ty Law.

It was the first of 11 wins for Brady in 18 career matchups against Manning.

Week 6, 2001: Patriots 38, Colts 17

This was the final Patriots-Colts game as divisional opponents, as the league would realign the divisions beginning with the 2002 season when the Houston Texans became the 32nd team. 

The game is best remembered for the brilliance of David Patten. He scored four touchdowns, including a 29-yard run, 91-yard and 6-yard receptions from Brady, and a 60-yard pass to Troy Brown. 

 

Week 13, 2003: Patriots 38, Colts 34

One of the most memorable finishes of the first New England dynasty came at the RCA Dome in 2003 when the 9-2 Colts hosted the 9-2 Patriots with first place in the AFC at stake.

Both offenses put on a show, and after trailing 24-10 at halftime, Manning led a fantastic comeback attempt in the second half. The Colts were poised to take the lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter with a 1st-and-goal opportunity. The Patriots defense shut the door, culminating with a Willie McGinest tackle on running back Edgerrin James to seal the win.

If the Patriots lost this game, the AFC Championship Game (see below) later that season probably would've been played in Indy and not Foxboro.

2003 AFC Championship Game: Patriots 24, Colts 14

The Colts offense looked unstoppable entering this matchup at Gillette Stadium. Manning had a near-perfect passer rating over the first two rounds of the playoffs as the Colts scored a combined 79 points in those games.

He met heavy resistance in New England, as the Patriots defense -- with an assist from Mother Nature -- made life miserable for the Colts. Patriots cornerback Ty Law tallied three interceptions to help lead his team to Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Week 1, 2004: Patriots 27, Colts 24

The Patriots held on for a season-opening victory against Manning's Colts in an AFC title game rematch. Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed a 48-yard field goal on Indy's final possession that would've tied the score and forced overtime.

Brady completed 26 of 38 passes for 335 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

2004 AFC Divisional Round: Patriots 20, Colts 3

Brady was pretty average in this game, but it didn't matter because Patriots running back Corey Dillon dominated the Colts defense. Dillon ran for 144 yards on 23 carries (6.9 per rush), helping the Patriots control the clock, especially in the second half. 

New England's defense gave another excellent performance to hold Manning's high-powered offense to just three points. 

Week 9, 2007: Patriots 24, Colts 20

This matchup was billed as the "Game of the Century" featuring two top Super Bowl contenders at the RCA Dome. The Patriots were 8-0 and on their way to a perfect 16-0 regular season. The defending Super Bowl champion Colts were 7-0 and looking to make a statement.

The Patriots were trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter when Brady saved the day with two touchdown passes in a five-minute span to give his team a 24-20 advantage with 3:15 remaining. 

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Week 11, 2010: Patriots 31, Colts 28

The final Patriots-Colts game featuring Brady and Manning came in 2010. 

The Colts outscored the Patriots 14-3 in the fourth quarter but came up a little short. Manning was intercepted by James Sanders deep inside Patriots territory on the Colts' final drive. New England improved to 8-2 and finished the regular season with a 14-2 record as the top seed.

Manning didn't play in 2011 because of a neck injury and left the Colts, ending the first chapter in a historic rivalry with Brady and the Patriots.

Week 11, 2012: Patriots 59, Colts 24

The first ever Brady vs. Andrew Luck matchup was a one-sided affair. Brady threw for 331 yards with three touchdowns as the Patriots offense exploded for 59 points, tying their single-game scoring record.

 

Week 11, 2014: Patriots 42, Colts 20

This was the "Jonas Gray game". The rookie running back ran for 199 yards and a team record four rushing touchdowns as the Patriots earned another double-digit win over the Colts. Gray's performance landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated the next week.

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2014 AFC Championship Game: Patriots 45, Colts 7

This would end up being remembered as the "Deflategate" game, but it also was one of the most one-sided conference championship games in recent memory. 

It didn't matter how much air pressure was in the footballs. The Colts had no chance of beating the Patriots on this night.

Brady threw for three touchdowns, but it was the powerful running of LeGarrette Blount that sunk the Colts. The veteran running back tallied 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pats to Super Bowl XLIX.

(Click here for video highlights)