During the middle quarters, the Patriots were outstanding, often operating out of the no-huddle while scoring on four consecutive possessions. But the offense sputtered late and didn't give their defense much help. Brady finished 29-of-38 for 293 yards with two touchdowns, both to Rob Gronkowski (5 catches, 64 yards). Wes Welker tore up the Colts' zone to the tune of 11 catches for 114 yards.
Going up against a Colts' run defense that ranked 31st in the league, the Patriots mustered only 73 yards on 24 carries (3.0-yard average). Stevan Ridley produced a team-high 33 yards on eight trots, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis (6 carries, 14 yards) and Danny Woodhead (4 carries, 12 yards) were stuck in the mud. The team's longest gain was a mere 8 yards. The only thing that saved a failing mark: Green-Ellis and Rob Gronkowski each had rushing TDs.
Sure, he's got some nice weapons to throw to, but Dan Orlovsky shouldn't be putting up numbers like 30-of-37 for 353 yards and two touchdowns. Pierre Garcon (9 catches, 150 yards) reeled in a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes to make the score far closer than it should have been. The Patriots generated little pressure late in the game and the Colts took advantage. Orlovsky was just 7-of-11 for 73 yards in the first half.
For a team forced to play from behind for much of the game, the Colts still put up decent numbers on the ground. Donald Brown (14 carries, 41 yards, TD) and Joseph Addai (13 carries, 39 yards) combined to aid a rushing attack that generated 99 yards on 31 carries. Brown's 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter ignited the Colts' late-game scoring.
Nothing spectacular here -- perhaps the most noteworthy accomplishment was the Patriots' ability to recover a couple of onside kicks late to prevent a real disaster. Julian Edelman muffed a punt but recovered it, and the return game was unspectacular for both sides. Stephen Gostkowski made his only field goal attempt (39 yards).
On one hand, you have to give Bill Belichick credit for talking up the Colts and seemingly having his team ready over the first three quarters -- all while experimenting a bit with personnel on defense. But things fell apart late and the Colts showed what the coach had preached all week about playing hard to the final whistle, making things slightly uncomfortable for New England. For a team that preaches playing for 60 minutes, the Pats still are not putting in a full day of work.