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Sunday, November 21, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Patriots 31, Colts 28

By Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots held off a late Indianapolis Colts charge Sunday to win 31-28 in Gillette Stadium.

What it means: The Patriots kept up with the seemingly unbeatable New York Jets in the AFC East standings. Both are 8-2 and both will play four days later on Thanksgiving. The Jets still hold the tiebreaker because they won the first head-to-head meeting.

Brady versus Manning: Tom Brady won this battle, but not with any gaudy stats. Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes, but also had three interceptions, including one to James Sanders with 31 seconds to play and the Colts in field goal range.

Running backs the difference: The Colts played without injured linebackers Gary Brackett and Clint Session, helping the Patriots outrush them 168-71. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 21 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Danny Woodhead had seven carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. Through three quarters, the Patriots averaged 5.2 yards per carry, while the Colts averaged 1.3 yards.

Patriots discipline: Aside from Tully Banta-Cain's silly 15-yarder late in the fourth quarter to help the Colts score a touchdown, the Patriots didn't commit any penalties.

What's next: Quick turnaround for the Patriots. They will visit the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.