BOSTON (CBS) — Follow along for all the updates during the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium!
Final — Patriots 45, Colts 7: The Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl, and have a date with the defending champs in two weeks.
This will be the sixth Super Bowl for the Brady-Belichick led Patriots, and the eighth for the franchise.
The New England D didn’t sack Andrew Luck in the game, but they applied steady pressure throughout and never let the Colts QB get in any rhythm. That let the offense do their thing on the ground, with LeGarrette Blount running wild for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots once again threw out some unusual formations and eligible receivers on offense, with Brady hitting left tackle Nate Solder for a 16-yard touchdown to start the second half. Rob Gronkowski was held in check for the first half, but finished strong with three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Julian Edelman was Mr. Everything again, hauling in nine receptions for 98 yards. He picked up a first down five times on third down, and another on a fourth down play.
After the game, owner Robert Kraft thanked Patriots fans, calling them “the greatest fans in the NFL.”
“You did your job. Now we must go to Arizona and do our job,” said Kraft. “We are all Patriots!”
Bill Belichick didn’t say much to the fans, but had the fans going with just a few simple words.
“I only have one thing to say: We’re on to Seattle!”
Stay tuned to 98.5 The Sports Hub for three hours of postgame coverage, and on the TV side, tune in to myTV38 for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s postgame press conferences on Patriots 5th Quarter!
4th Quarter, 3:20: And after one play, in goes Jimmy Garoppolo.
Brady left to huge cheers from the crowd. He’s pretty good, that Tom Brady kid.
4th Quarter, 3:42: The Patriots offense is back on the field, and so is Tom Brady.
Hand-offs please. Lots and lots of hand-offs.
4th Quarter, 5:19: Brady made an appearance on the big screen, pumping his fist and waiving a towel, which got a soggy Gillette Stadium rocking once again.
4th Quarter, 5:51: Hopefully we’ve seen the last of Tom Brady in this one.
Brady went deep to LaFell for some reason on a 3rd-and-9 play, and took a shot down low as he was brought to the ground.
It’s raining, you’re up by 38 points, and Jonas Gray is your running back. Bill, let Brady sit the rest of this one out please.
4th Quarter, 7:20: We have a Jonas Gray sighting!
The man who torched Indy for 201 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season ran for two yards on his first carry of the day.
4th Quarter, 7:24: Andrew Luck went looking for Zurlon Tipton, but instead found the unbelievable reach of Jamie Collins.
Collins picked Luck off for New England’s second interception of the evening, returning it 25 yards to the Indy 40-yard line.
We’d say that’s the final nail in the coffin, but that nail was driven down long ago.
4th Quarter, 10:05 — Patriots 45, Colts 7: The Colts cannot stop LeGarrette Blount.
He’s now up to 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and the Patriots are absolutely dominating the Colts once again.
There is some concern, as Julian Edelman limped to the sidelines after making another first down grab on third down. It was his fifth third down conversion of the game.
Hopefully Edelman watches the rest of this one from the sidelines.
Also, it’s “Josie Time” at Gillette. Scott Zolak is pumped.
4th Quarter, 14:52: If Tom Brady needs four yards, it’s pretty obvious who he is going to.
But the Colts couldn’t contain Julian Edelman, and the Patriots move the chains after Brady and Edelman picked up seven yards on a 4th-and-4.
The Patriots are driving, now at the Indianapolis 21, looking to add to their big lead.
End 3rd Quarter — Patriots 38, Colts 7: The Patriots are just 15 minutes away from a spot in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks.
A lot can happen in 15 minutes, but it’s looking good for New England. Blount has 136 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, and Colts tacklers are probably getting pretty sick of having to wrap up the big back.
Brady was a perfect 9-for-9 in the quarter, throwing two of his three touchdown passes.
3rd Quarter, 1:15: Another Colts punt, and the Patriots will take over on deep in Indy territory following a 45-yard return by Wes Welker (sprung by a great block by Brandon Bolden) and a five-yard penalty on the Colts.
The Pats will take over at the Indy 40. We’re guessing it’s a steady dose of LeGarrette Blount.
3rd Quarter, 2:08 — Patriots 38, Colts 7: This one is turning into a laugher.
Luck went looking for Hilton, but instead found Revis, who came streaking across the field to make a great interception. One player later, Blount broke free for a 13-yard touchdown to give New England a commanding 38-7 lead.
Blount took a pose with the militia in the end zone after the score, which will make for a nice postcard for those fine gentlemen. That’s his sixth rushing TD in the playoffs as a member of the Patriots, giving him the new franchise record.
This is just a continuation of New England’s dominance of the Colts.
3rd Quarter, 3:19 — Patriots 31, Colts 7: Those five yards didn’t matter, as Brady hit Gronkowski two plays later for a five-yard touchdown.
After being held without a catch in the first half, Gronkowski now has three catches for 28 yards and a score.
Gronk had a big seven-yard grab earlier in the drive to move the chains, but no catch was bigger than a 22-yard reception made by Julian Edelman. Brady threw a wobbly duck Edelman’s way on first down, and Edelman changed directions and made a great catch while on the ground. He also took a shot from Landry after the play, but bounced right back up.
The Patriots have now had the ball for over 28 minutes in this one. The Colts have had possession for just 13:38.
The rain is really starting to come down at Gillette too. That should make life a lot harder on Luck and company.
3rd Quarter, 4:14: Those wacky substitutions/formations cost the Patriots five yards, with Nate Solder being flagged after not declaring himself eligible.
I’m sure in the fan’s eyes, he’s been forgiven already.
3rd Quarter, 8:28: We’ve got a Gronk sighting.
The tight end just came down with his first catch of the game, a 16-yard reception to the Indy 46-yard line.
You knew he wouldn’t let Solder’s head get too big after the lineman’s touchdown catch.
3rd Quarter, 8:55: The Patriots are swarming Andrew Luck, and they’re shutting down his targets downfield.
Ninkovich hit Luck as he threw on first down, with his pass falling incomplete, Herron was stuffed after just two yards on second down, and Chandler Jones was in Luck’s face as he couldn’t connect with TY Hilton on third down (thanks to some good coverage by Kyle Arrington).
New England forced another three-and-out and will get the ball back at their own their own 38-yard line.
3rd Quarter, 10:03 — Patriots 24, Colts 7: A little more trickeration leads to seven more points for the New England Patriots.
Brady hit Nate Solder, who declared himself an eligible receiver, for a 16-yard touchdown. It’s the left tackle’s first career reception in the NFL, and gives the Patriots a 24-7 lead.
Despite the lead official announcing that Solder was an eligible receiver, the Colts still decided to leave him uncovered. They were focused on Cam Fleming, who has been eligible for most of the night.
The TV announcers will probably tell you a few times between now and the end of the game, but Solder played some tight end in college. Julian Edelman was also a QB in college, in case you forgot.
Meanwhile, LeGarrette Blount went over the 100-yard mark on the 9-play touchdown drive, giving him his second career 100-yard day in the postseason. That other 100-yard game came last year in the Divisional Round against Indianapolis.
So that’s Patriots touchdowns from James Develin and Nate Solder. Just like they drew it up, right?
3rd Quarter, 14:54: The Patriots will start at their own 13-yard line after a 14-yard return by Danny Amendola.
3rd Quarter, 15:00 — The players are returning to the field to some pouring rain at Gillette Stadium.
Let’s hope LeGarrette Blount’s legs got some rest during halftime.
Halftime — Patriots 17, Colts 7: The Patriots have to feel like they should have a much bigger lead than just 10 points, but that’s the situation they’re in after 30 minutes of football.
The ground attack led the way for the Patriots, who rushed for 93 yards in the first half. LeGarrette Blount led the way 68 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while Tom Brady ran for 13 yards of his own on three carries.
Brady was 11-for-21 for 95 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the first half. His favorite target was, no surprise, Julian Edelman, who hauled in five receptions for 39 yards. Rob Gronkowski was held without a catch on four targets.
Andrew Luck was just 7-for-19 for 89 yards for the Colts. The Patriots defense has held Indy wide receivers to just one reception (a beautiful 37-yard catch by TY Hilton along the sidelines), with tight end Coby Fleener leading the way with three receptions for 30 yards.
A Brady interception and some bad New England penalties led to Indianapolis’ only score of the day, so the Pats have to feel pretty good heading into the locker room. But the game is closer than it has to be because of those miscues, so they better clean that up in the second half.
But overall, the Patriots are clearly outplaying the Colts. If they can keep running the ball with authority, and keep the mistakes out of it, they should be 30 minutes away from a trip to Arizona.
2nd Quarter, 00:09 — Patriots 17, Colts 7: The Patriots took seven snaps inside the Indy 15-yard line, but couldn’t find the end zone.
Instead they settle for a 21-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to take a 17-7 lead.
It’s a lost opportunity for the Patriots, as it feels like they left four points on the field just ahead of halftime.
2nd Quarter, 00:16: After Vontea Davis broke up Brady’s end zone bid for Gronk, forcing a 3rd-and-goal for New England, the Colts have now used their third and final timeout.
2nd Quarter, 00:23: The Pats went for it on, you guessed it, a Brady keeper. And they only converted thanks to a second-effort push by Develin. What a big game for the fullback so far.
The Pats used their third and final timeout after the play, and will have it at the Indy 3-yard line.
2nd Quarter, 00:48: Facing a 3rd-and-10, Tom Brady called his own number when his options were all tied up downfield. Brady scrambled, and made a nice move to force a miss, but only got nine yards.
The Pats were facing 4th-and-inches at the Indy 5-yard line, and sent their offense out on the field, but called a timeout before running a play.
We’ll see what they do after this timeout.
2nd Quarter, 1:29: Brady just got destroyed by Jerrell Freeman, but the linebacker was flagged for roughing the passer on the play.
The Pats will now have a fresh set of down at the Indianapolis 13-yard line.
2nd Quarter, 2:00: We hit the 2-minute warning with LeGarrette Blount doing what he does best: Hitting the hole and picking up big yards.
He’s rushed for 22 yards on his last three carries, and New England has the ball on the Indianapolis 29-yard line. In all, Blount has 68 yards on 15 carries.
The Colts have 41 rushing yards as a team.
2nd Quarter, 4:54 — Patriots 14, Colts 7: The Colts have finally found the end zone, and got some help thanks to some bad New England penalties.
The first came when Vince Wilfork was flagged for Unnecessary Roughness after tight end Jack Doyle was already stopped for a loss deep in New England territory. Wilfork came in late on the play and delivered an elbow to Doyle’s dome, so instead of a 3rd-and-6 at the New England 11, the Colts had a first down and an extra 15 yards.
After the Colts continued their drive with a beautiful 37-yard catch by Hilton along the sidelines, they got another first down when Jamie Collins was flagged for illegal contact on a 3rd-and-7 stop. After Luck and Fleener moved the Colts down to the New England one-yard line, Zurlon Tiptop ran it in from a yard out to make it a 14-7 game.
The 93-yard touchdown drive was the longest allowed by New England this season. There’s little doubt Wilfork is second-guessing that hit on the sidelines.
2nd Quarter, 9:21: There is the first mistake by the Patriots in this one.
Tom Brady went looking for Rob Gronkowski in stride to the end zone, but instead found D’Qwell Jackson for the interception. It’s Indy’s first interception in the last four games.
The Colts will take over at their own seven-yard line.
2nd Quarter, 9:29: LeGarrette Blount is doing his thing against the Colts, even if he needs an extra shove once and awhile.
Blount appeared to be short of moving the chains on a 3rd-and-1 rush, but Dan Connolly gave him an extra shove from behind to assure he got enough for the first down.
That’s doing your job, and then some, for the Pats offensive lineman.
2nd Quarter, 14:44: The ball is back in New England’s hands after they put the pressure on Luck once again.
Chandler Jones was all over Luck as he threw incomplete to T.Y. Hilton, a pass that was nearly picked by Devin McCourty. That sets up another punt for the Colts.
End 1st Quarter — Patriots 14, Colts 0: This one has been all Patriots thanks to some Indianapolis miscues.
Tom Brady went 6-for-9 for 61 yards and a touchdown, with LeGarrette Blount rushing for 19 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Andrew Luck has gone just 3-for-11 for 22 yards so far, and Indy has just 35 rushing yards. A Josh Cribbs fumble on a punt return was costly, giving the Patriots good field position and led to Blount’s rushing score. A missed Vinatieri 51-yard field goal also set the Patriots up in good field position, and led to Brady’s touchdown pass to fullback James Develin.
And, Darrelle Revis looks to be OK after an early injury scare. Things are looking good for the Patriots after 15 minutes, but there’s still 45 minutes of football left in this one.
1st Quarter, 1:20 — Patriots 14, Colts 0: Some more deception from the Patriots, but this time it’s just a lot of movement at the line.
With Tim Wright moving before the play, Brady hit fullback James Develin from a yard out for his first career receiving touchdown to put the Pats on top 14-0.
Develin has had a great season at the fullback position, and it’s nice to see him get rewarded with a postseason touchdown. He had to fight for it, and got an extra push from Gronk, but “The Meathead” (as Scott Zolak likes to refer to him) broke the plain and found the end zone.
After going down 14-0 last weekend, it’s great to see the Patriots get off to such a great start this time around. It’s still very, very early, but the pressure is now on the Colts to answer.
1st Quarter, 4:24: Here come those wacky formations that bugged Baltimore so much last Saturday. Michael Hoomanawanui lined up along the line, but was ineligible.
Chuck Pagano isn’t freaking out about it though. At least not yet.
1st Quarter, 4:50 — Patriots 7, Colts 0: The Patriots should be thanking the Colts for all their miscues early on.
Running back “Boom” Herron had a couple of key drops, including one on a 2nd-and-10 that would have set Indy up inside the New England 10. The Patriots forced Indy into a 51-yard field goal attempt off the foot of Adam Vinatieri, and that kick (into the wind) went very wide right.
So the Colts remain off the scoreboard, and New England will take over at their own 41-yard line.
1st Quarter, 5:30: The Colts picked up a first down on a Luck-to-Fleener connection on a 3rd-and-5, but the good news is that Darrelle Revis is back on the field for the Patriots.
Breathe a sign of relief, New England fans. It’s OK to exhale now.
1st Quarter, 8:28: Oh no! Darrelle Revis just limped off the field for the Patriots after a bad plant on an Andrew Luck scramble.
He was met with four New England trainers before gingerly walking off the field. Malcolm Butler will take his place, for now, on T.Y. Hilton.
On the sidelines, Revis is surrounded by five trainers, who appear to be working on his neck.
1st Quarter, 10:15 — Patriots 7, Colts 0: The Patriots went right back to Blount on the very next play, and he made sure there were no knees down as he barreled into the end zone to put the Patriots up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
You can thank Josh Cribbs for this one, as his fumble on a New England punt set the Pats up with great field position. It only took them six plays to march the 26 yards into the end zone.
Blount has 15 yards on five carries, so expect much more out of him and the other running backs in New England’s stable as this one continues. Blount has five career postseason rushing touchdowns with the Patriots, tying him for New England’s team record (Brady and Curtis Martin also have five career postseason rushing TDs for the Patriots).
Now Luck will have to answer after his special teams basically gave New England some free points.
1st Quarter, 10:28: The scoreboard has the Patriots up 6-0 at the moment, but that will change after the officials review LeGarrette Blount’s four-yard touchdown run.
Blount got plenty to pick up a first down on a 3rd-and-1, but his knee hit the ground a yard shy of the end zone. So when the review is over, the Pats will have a first-and-goal at the Indy one-foot line.
When they do get back out there, give it right back to Blount.
1st Quarter, 12:42: Just like the Colts on their first possession, the Patriots went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
But unlike the Patriots, Cribbs took the ensuing punt off the facemask and turned it over to New England. The lose ball was recovered by Darius Fleming.
The Patriots now take over at the Indy 26-yard line. It’s important to take advantage of that early Indy miscue and put points on the board.
1st Quarter, 14:16: The Patriots sent the pressure on Andrew Luck, and forced the Colts into a three-and-out.
Rob Ninkovich applied the pressure on 3rd-and-9, with the Patriots also blitzing a pair of linebackers on 2nd-and-9.
1st Quarter, 15:00: And we’re underway here at Gillette. Stephen Gostkowski gave the opening kick a big boot, with Josh Cribbs bringing it out deep in the end zone to the Indy 21.
Pregame 6:45 p.m.: No shocker here. The Patriots have won the toss and deferred to the second half.
It is raining at the stadium, so we’re likely in for a wet one from start to finish. But that just adds to the fun, right?
Pregame — 6:40 pm: What an incredible finish to the NFC Championship game, and it just goes to show that it takes a full 60 minutes (and sometimes a little extra) to win a game.
Just a few minutes remain until the AFC title game gets underway. These guys will be on the field tonight to try and help the Pats:
Pregame — 6:17 p.m.: It’s pretty clear who Patriots fans want to win the NFC Championship game.
Fans in the stands erupted when Green Bay’s Mason Crosby booted a 48-yard field goal to tie things up against the Seattle Seahawks, 22-22, with 14 seconds left. That game is now heading into overtime.
That means kickoff for the Patriots and Colts shifts to 6:50 p.m., so you get an extra 10 minutes to take that bathroom trip or grab some extra snacks and beverages.
Fans at Gillette, meanwhile, weren’t too pleased with that update.
Pregame — 6:12 p.m.: Here is how the New England offensive line lined up in warmups: Solder-Connolly-Wendell-Kline-Vollmer
Please keep Tom upright tonight, fellas. This is kind of a big one.
Pregame — 5:50 p.m.: We’re less than an hour from kickoff, and players have started to take the field for pregame warmups.
It should come as no surprise that the decibel level in the stadium hit its loudest point when Tom Brady took the field:
It’s not currently raining at Gillette, but we know that’s going to change at some point tonight.
P.S.: Bill Belichick has his game face on already:
Pregame — 5:10 p.m.: We knew Bryan Stork was inactive for this one, but the Patriots just released the rest of their inactive list for the AFC Championship game.
OL Bryan Stork
DL Zach Moore
WR Brian Tyms
RB James White
OL Jordan Devey
DL Chris Jones
WR Josh Boyce
Defensive lineman Joe Vellano was signed from the practice squad earlier this morning, and will take over for Chris Jones. But the biggest new is who isn’t on the inactive list: Running back Jonas Gray.
Gray torched the Colts for 201 rushing yards and four touchdowns back in Week 11, but fell into Bill Belichick’s doghouse after showing up late to practice later that week. With Gray active, he’ll likely get at least a couple of carries in hopes he can recreate his performances against the Colts from two months ago. With four running backs active, it’s likely the Patriots will focus on a ground attack, especially with the nasty rain moving in later in the evening.
Here are the inactives for Indy:
WR Griff Whalen
RB Trent Richardson
DC Sheldon Price
OT Xavier Nixon
OC Jonotthan Harrison
LB Bjoern Werner
DT Zach Kerr
Pregame — 4:45 p.m.: We’re just two hours away from kickoff of the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots and Colts will battle for a spot in Super Bowl XLIX.
The tarp came off the field just after 4pm, and this one is expected to get soggy as the game goes. Heavy rain will be making its way to Foxboro around 8pm, so weather could certainly play a factor.
For quarterback Tom Brady, tonight will mark the ninth conference championship game of his career. He can make some NFL history with a win, which will make Brady the first quarterback to get to 20 postseason victories. A victory will send him off to his sixth Super Bowl, also an NFL record.
Of course Brady and Bill Belichick will go down in NFL history together, so Bill will also rewrite the record books with a win. He’ll pass Tom Landry with 21 playoff victories as a head coach, the most of all time.
While New England’s recent string of dominance against the Colts is very well documented (they’ve outscored Indy 144-66 in Andrew Luck’s three starts against the Patriots), this one probably won’t be as easy. The Colts are 7-1 since New England went to Lucas Oil and embarrassed them 42-20 back in Week 11, and they’ve surrendered just 33 points in their last three games (including just 10 points to the Bengals and 13 points to the Broncos in their playoff wins).
The Patriots are also missing a big piece to their offensive line in center Bryan Stork. The rookie played a huge role in the offensive lines turnaround after the first four weeks of the regular season, but will miss this one with a knee injury he suffered last Saturday against the Ravens. That forces Ryan Wendell into the center position, with Josh Kline likely taking over for Wendell at right guard. All of that places a big strain on New England’s offensive line depth, and to make matters worse, Arthur Jones will be back on the Colts defensive line.
But New England’s saying all season has been “Do your job,” and no matter who is on the offensive line they’ll be expected to give Brady and company the time and protection they need to do their job. Given Indy’s struggles against the run, there’s a good chance this is a LeGarrette Blount-Brandon Bolden-Jonas Gray type game, where they pound the run over and over again. A big key for the Patriots will be to jump on top early and then pound the run, keeping Andrew Luck on the sidelines.
Stick with CBSBostonsports.com throughout the game for all the updates from Gillette, and all the postgame reaction and analysis following the game!
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Colts AFC Championship on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Following the game, tune in to three full hours of postgame coverage on the Sports Hub, and switch over to myTV38 for Patriots 5th Quarter!