After an emotional, crazy win a week ago against Kansas City, the Colts were now facing a familiar foe in a hostile environment. The New England Patriots entered the game as the #2 seed in the AFC.
Playing against them in Foxboro is always tough and in order to succeed, the Colts needed to, among other things, stop the run and win the turnover battle. They didn’t do either of them. They were far from it.
Join us for our final report card of the 2013 where we grade the performance of the Colts’ offense, defense and special teams while choosing our best players of the game of this season-ending loss.
On the third play of the game, Andrew Luck telegraphed a pass to LaVon Brazill that was intercepted by Alfonzo Dennard.
Down by 14 and after a three-and-out, the offense finally woke up. Luck hit Brazill on a gorgeous 38-yard TD pass to make it 7-14.
Facing a 14-point deficit again, the Colts’ offense put up a decent drive (11 plays for 62 yards) but had to settle with a FG. 10-21
After a safety, the offense got to New England’s 39, but Luck was intercepted again trying to pass to Havili. 12-21
The Colts’ first drive of the second half produced one of the greatest catches of the season. T.Y. Hilton beat Talib and dived to make an insane 46-yard catch. The Colts got to the three-yard line but settled for a FG. 15-21
With the score 15-29, Luck threw a gorgeous pass to Hilton for a 46-yard gain. On the next play, Luck threw another beautiful ball to Brazill in the end zone to make it 22-29.
Unfortunately, that was the closest they’d be to tying this game. They had two more series to try and tie it though. The result was more than disappointing. The first one ended in a three-and-out. The second also ended in a punt after Joe Vellano tripped Luck in the previous play. Obviously, the refs didn’t call it.
The Colts’ next three drives ended in: INT, punt, INT. Both interceptions were poor throws/choices. Down by three TDs and with ten minutes left, Pagano decided to punt on fourth-and-one. Next time they had the ball again, there were less than three minutes left.
Luck wasn’t brilliant tonight. Even after his first two interceptions, he played pretty well and managed to put the Colts within seven. He collapsed, as well as the rest of the team, after Blount’s big run. He can’t do it all.
Brown finished with just 63 yards on 17 carries. Richardson finished with three carries for just one yard. Worst part is, that surprises no one.
Hilton was contained to just four catches but still got 103 yards. Brazill was actually impressive. Two catches for 73 yards and two scores. Whalen also made some good plays on third down, including a 22-yard gain. Why was Havili involved in the passing game?
Settling for FGs didn’t help especially after wasting second and third-and-goal opportunities inside the three.
The refs didn’t help either. Still can’t believe how they missed that trip by Vellano and the late hit on Luck. You know what play followed that no-call? Blount’s 73-yard run.
As unlikely as a win was at that point, punting on fourth-and-ONE down by three scores and with ten minutes left, is inexcusable for any head coach.
Offensive player of the game: LaVon Brazill
He finished with just two catches for 73 yards and two TDs. Maybe should’ve tried to go with him a few more times instead of involving Havili in the passing game.
The Colts’ defense couldn’t do much on New England’s first drive. The Patriots started at the Colts’ two-yard line and Blount got the TD on their first offensive play of the game. 0-7
Although it wasn’t as easy, New England’s second series also ended in a TD by Blount. 0-14
After forcing a three-and-out, the defense allowed a 14-play drive that lasted more than six minutes. Edelman, covered by Vontae Davis, caught a pass for 27 yards and also got a key first down on third-and-ten. Blount finished the drive with his third TD. 21-7
While the Colts’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the third quarter, New England’s next series started with a 53-yard bomb to Amendola. On third-and-five, the refs called a ridiculous PI penalty against Gordy. Ridley scored the TD and converted the two-point conversion. 15-29
Down 29-22, the defense needed to make another stop to keep it a one-possession game. Instead, Blount scored his fourth TD on a 73-yard run. 22-35
After an interception, the Patriots started inside the Colts 20-yard line. Bethea missed an interception in the end zone and New England scored their final TD of the game a couple of plays later. 22-43.
Mathis finally appeared in the game with his classic strip-sack. Colts couldn’t recover. Nice play but it was already too late.
Overall, it was a miserable game by the defense. They weren’t ready for this game. We all knew the Colts had to stop the run. They allowed 235 yards on the ground and six TDs. That’s just painful. They were supposed to be ready to play against the run too.
A lot of people like Landry. Not sure if they’ll like him after watching this game. He’s slow, takes forever to get to his spot, can’t cover and isn’t even a great tackler.
Mathis was well controlled by New England. You take him out of the game and you pretty much have figured out how to easily beat this defense. No one else was close to pressuring Brady.
Bend but don’t break? It looked like it was break, break, break and break again against New England.
Good thing Brady didn’t have to throw more. Edelman abused Vontae Davis more than once.
Defensive player of the game: Robert Mathis
It’s really hard to pick a player here. Mathis contributed with his signature strip-sack when it was too late. Still, he almost sacked Brady a couple of times in the third quarter. He was the only one putting a bit of pressure on Brady but, just as Luck, he can’t do it all.
Down 14-7, the STs were very close to blocking a punt. Brazill and Brown were just a couple feet away from getting the big play.
Right before the two-minute warning, New England wanted to punt but on a bad snap that went way above the punter, the ball got all the way back to New England’s two-yard line. The punter recovered and fumbled. The fumble was declared dead in the end zone for a safety.
Edelman was able to return a punt for 15 yards and averaged seven yards per return.
Whalen and Brazill had just three punt returns combined. Not one of those was even decent.
Vinatieri was perfect, with 2/2.