NFL: Patriots crush Colts 59-24
Foxborough, Mass. • Alfonzo Dennard watched himself on the video board as he raced 87 yards with an interception for a touchdown. He wanted to see if the star rookie who threw the pass might catch him.
The way the New England Patriots were playing with their usual strong offense, big plays on defense and a touchdown on a punt return there was no way Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts could overtake them.
The Patriots, the NFL's highest-scoring team, equaled their single-game scoring record for points with a 59-24 win on Sunday.
"The coaches want us to play aggressive," said Dennard, whose touchdown made it 45-17. "So that's what I was doing out there."
The first matchup between three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and star rookie Luck was no match. Brady threw three touchdown passes. Luck threw three interceptions.
"They're good enough," Luck said. "They don't need those gifts, but to their credit, they created those and we didn't."
They may need them more after tight end Rob Gronkowski left the field with what the Patriots said was an arm injury with about four minutes left in the game. Comcast SportsNet New England reported X-rays showed Gronkowski had a broken arm. Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes Sunday, giving him seven touchdown receptions in his last four games and 10 for the season. He finished the game with seven catches for 137 yards,
The Patriots' much-maligned pass defense finally made major contributions as newcomer Aqib Talib returned another interception for a TD, covering 59 yards. And Rob Ninkovich's fifth forced fumble of the season knocking the ball out of Luck's hand set up Gronkowski's second scoring grab on the next play.
The Patriots won their fourth straight game and extended their AFC East lead to three games. The Colts had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL's best offense and one of its worst defenses. Pats 59, Colts 24
Indianapolis 14 3 0 7 24
New England 7 17 14 21 59
Ind • Carter 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 10:49.
NE • Gronkowski 4 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 7:07.
Ind • Hilton 14 pass from Luck (Vinatieri kick), 1:44.
NE • Edelman 68 punt return (Gostkowski kick), 12:00.
NE • Talib 59 interception return (Gostkowski kick), 10:59.
Ind • FG Vinatieri 47, 5:46.
NE • FG Gostkowski 31, 1:54.
NE • Edelman 2 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 11:07.
NE • Gronkowski 24 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 3:22.
NE • Dennard 87 interception return (Gostkowski kick), 14:47.
Ind • Hilton 43 pass from Luck (Vinatieri kick), 12:32.
NE • Ridley 3 run (Gostkowski kick), 9:05.
NE • Vereen 4 run (Gostkowski kick), 3:55.
First downs 28 25
Total Net Yards 448 446
Rushes-yards 24-119 25-115
Passing 329 331
Punt Returns 1-7 2-117
Kickoff Returns 7-104 4-94
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 3-166
Comp-Att-Int 27-50-3 24-35-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-5 0-0
Punts 3-46.3 2-57.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 4-70
Time of Possession 32:55 27:05
Rushing • Indianapolis, Ballard 16-72, Carter 2-21, D.Brown 4-17, R.Hughes 1-5, Luck 1-4. New England, Edelman 1-47, Vereen 11-40, Ridley 13-28.
Passing • Indianapolis, Luck 27-50-3-334. New England, Brady 24-35-0-331.
Receiving • Indianapolis, Wayne 7-72, Hilton 6-100, Allen 6-69, Avery 3-34, Brazill 2-46, D.Brown 2-6, Ballard 1-7. New England, Gronkowski 7-137, Welker 7-80, Edelman 5-58, Lloyd 4-45, Vereen 1-11.
Missed Field Goals • Indianapolis, Vinatieri 58 (WL). New England, Gostkowski 36 (WR).
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