Rapid Reaction: Patriots 31, Colts 28


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few thoughts from the Colts' 31-28 loss to the Patriots.

What it means: The Colts are 6-4, tied with Jacksonville atop the AFC South. But the Jaguars hold a head-to-head tiebreaker right now.

What I didn’t like: For a good stretch, the Colts didn’t have the firepower or precision to compete with the peaking Patriots despite turning it into quite a game at the end. Peyton Manning threw four touchdowns but also three interceptions. After featuring Austin Collie early, Manning lost him to a concussion and saw some of his targets, like Pierre Garcon and Jacob Tamme, play less than their best at times. Aside from a 31-yard carry by Donald Brown, the Colts could hardly run it and they struggled to stop the run while the Patriots built a lead.

What I liked: The comeback. The Colts were down 31-14 in the fourth quarter and rallied to get within a field goal. They were driving for overtime at the end. The pass protection was effective and Manning did what he needed to in order to avoid a sack. It took a while for Manning to go his way, but Blair White scored two touchdowns in short order to get the Colts to within 31-28 with about five minutes left in the game.

What I want to know: Did Garcon do what Manning was expecting on the final play of the Colts last possession when the Patriots' James Sanders leaped and pulled in the interception?

Postseason certainty: If these teams come across each other in the postseason, this result all but assures the game will be played in the chill of Gillette Stadium not under the closed roof of Lucas Oil Stadium.

What’s next: The Colts host "Sunday Night Football" and the San Diego Chargers, a team that’s given them problems in the recent past.