BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots improved to 8-2 with a convincing 42-20 road win over the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday night.
With the Denver Broncos losing to fall to 7-3, the Patriots are now a full game up on them for the top seed in the AFC. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what went right, and a few things that went wrong, for the Patriots in their big win over the Colts.
The former practice-squader stole the show on Sunday night, rushing for 199 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries. His four touchdowns are a Patriots regular season record for the most rushing touchdowns in a game.
Gray, who went undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2012, averaged 5.2 yards per carry and was unstoppable out of the backfield. He had 10 runs that went for seven or more yards.
The Patriots will need a power back going forward into the later weeks of the season, and it looks like Gray will be able to fill that hole.
The Patriots dressed eight offensive lineman for this game and often had an extra blocker on the line, and those moves paid off in a big way.
The offensive line opened up plenty of lanes for Gray and Shane Vereen, leading to 244 rushing yards for the Patriots. Fullback James Develin also had a great blocking night, as did Rob Gronkowski.
The one downside is that Cameron Fleming, who missed the last five games with a finger injury, went down with a leg injury late in the game.
Third Down Efficiency
Minus Tom Brady’s horrible pick towards the end of the first half, the Patriots offense was pretty solid on third down. They converting on nine of their 12 chances, and had numerous big plays to move the chains.
Opening Drive Scores
The Patriots opened both halves with a touchdown drive.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Patriots opened the game with an 11 play, 89-yard drive capped off with Gray’s first touchdown. The second half started with an eight play, 80-yard drive that ended with Brady’s two-yard touchdown pass to Tim Wright, putting New England up 21-10.
Bonus Up: Gronk’s Touchdown
We’ll skip out on a fourth “Down” to give you a bonus “Up.”
We know Gronk loves to bounce off defenders and we know he likes his touchdowns to be dramatic, but his fourth quarter score was just silly. He spun off of one would-be tackler, shed a few others with a stiff arm, and capped it all off by soaring into the end zone. All of this came a few minutes after Gronk was whistled for throwing Sergio Brown out of bounds, who had been jawing with the tight end for most of Sunday’s game. All that did was fire Gronk up.
It was his 51st career touchdown, and Gronk now has sole possession of second place on the Patriots all time touchdown list.
Bad Tom Brady
His first interception was on a bad overthrow into triple coverage to Brian Tyms. His second pick was even worse, another forced pass that set the Colts up for their first touchdown of the game. Brady called it a “dumb” interception after the game.
Brady was back to being Brady in the second half, but his second pick could have easily given the Colts some much-needed momentum heading into halftime. It was a bad decision by Brady, who appeared to check out of a run play on third-and-one, and an even worse throw.
No Answer For Fleener
The Andrew Luck-Coby Fleener combo picked the Patriots apart for stretches throughout the game. Brandon Browner had no luck on the tight end, who finished with a game-high 144 receiving yards on seven receptions.
The receiver left the field twice during the game. He missed three plays in the first half after falling hard to the ground, and was seen stretching his right leg one the sidelines at times during the game.
MORE PATRIOTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON
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