AFC East: 2014 Divisional Round IND-NE

Ups and downs for the Patriots

January, 11, 2014
Jan 11
11:45
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at who is "up" and who is at the opposite end of the spectrum in the New England Patriots' divisional-round playoff win against the Colts:

Williams
Blount
Up
LeGarrette Blount -- Running back totals four touchdowns, including a 73-yard scoring jaunt in the fourth quarter. The four rushing touchdowns sets a franchise record as the offensive line, tight ends and fullback James Develin also get a tip of the cap for opening the holes.

Jamie Collins -- Rookie linebacker rises up to the challenge with extended opportunity after Brandon Spikes is placed on season-ending injured reserve, as Collins is all over the field.

Alfonzo Dennard/Aqib Talib -- Starting cornerbacks don't win every one-on-one challenge, but are generally up to the task as Talib lines up across from T.Y. Hilton consistently and Dennard opens the game with a big interception and ends the game with one as well.

Stephen Gostkowski -- Kicker does an admirable job filling in for injured punter Ryan Allen.

Down
Danny Aiken -- Snapper fires a delivery over the head of punter Ryan Allen in the second quarter that results in a safety.

Kyle Arrington -- Nickel cornerback is replaced by rookie Logan Ryan near the end of the second quarter after having some struggles in the slot.

Devin McCourty -- As the last line of defense, second-team All-Pro safety lets LaVon Brazill get behind him for a 35-yard touchdown.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After 15 minutes of play, the New England Patriots lead the Colts 14-7. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter.

1. Dennard picks off Luck early, Blount cashes in. From the idyllic start playbook: Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard intercepted Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on Indianapolis' first third down of the game, returning it to the Colts' 2 yard line. The Patriots needed just one offensive play to make Luck pay, as LeGarrette Blount dove in for a score, giving the team a 7-0 lead.

2. Blount dashes into end zone, again. On the Patriots' second offensive drive, Blount once again found the end zone. Following a methodical, 10-play, 74-yard drive down the field, which including a key 25-yard completion to Julian Edelman, Blount sprinted in from two yards away, his second two-yard score of the game.

3. Colts respond. As the Colts showed last week, there is no such thing as knocking them out early. Luck hooked up with wide receiver LaVon Brazill on a 38-yard touchdown to cut the Patriots' lead in half. Brazill beat Dennard in man coverage down the sideline.

4. Talib shadowing Hilton. We talked this week about how the Patriots would plan to cover Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. As it turns out, it's been a steady dose of cornerback Aqib Talib, who has shadowed Hilton as he has bounced around the formation. It's a sign of the Patriots' continued confidence in Talib as a lockdown cornerback.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the first quarter: linebacker Ja'Gared Davis (illegal block in the back) and wide receiver Matthew Slater (illegal block in the back).

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