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NFL: Patriots crush Colts 59-24
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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

First Quarter

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.

Second Quarter

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.

Third Quarter

NE • Edelman 2 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 11:07.

NE • Gronkowski 24 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 3:22.

Fourth Quarter

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.

Ind NE

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

Individual Statistics

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).

Rude welcome • New England picks off Colts rookie QB three times.
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