Final

Patriots 34

(6-3, 1-3 away)

Colts 35

(9-0, 5-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:20 PM ET, November 15, 2009

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 17 0 1034
IND 7 7 0 2135

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 375 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Faulk (NE) - 12 CAR, 79 YDS

Receiving: R. Moss (NE) - 9 REC, 179 YDS, 2 TD

Belichick's 4th-down gamble fails; Manning leads Colts back from 17 points down

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick risked everything on one play Sunday night.

It cost him a victory, and it may wind up costing him a trip back to Indianapolis for a rematch with Peyton Manning later this season.

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After the New England coach failed on a stunning gamble deep in his own territory, Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 13 seconds left that rallied the unbeaten Colts to a 35-34 win over the Patriots.

"It's a bummer," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said.

Needing a first down to seal the game, Belichick decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28 with 2:08 to go. The Patriots called their second timeout of the drive, leaving them with none, to set up the play: A short pass from Brady to Kevin Faulk, something the 2007 NFL MVP had repeatedly used to burn Indy's young, depleted pass defense all night.

Not this time.

Faulk made a juggling catch but safety Melvin Bullitt, who replaced Bob Sanders in the lineup, came straight up the field and drove the Patriots running back into the ground a half-yard short of the marker.

"We tried to win the game on that play," Belichick explained. "I thought we could make the yard. We had a good play, we completed it. I don't know how we couldn't get a yard."

Comeback Clashes

Sunday night's comeback by the Colts wasn't that rare in their meetings with the Patriots. The last four games between the two have involved rallies.

Date Winner Largest Deficit
Sunday Colts, 35-34 17
Nov. 2, 2008 Colts, 18-15 5
Nov. 4, 2007 Patriots, 24-20 10
Jan. 21, 2007 Colts, 38-34 18

It was the most improbable victory for the Colts (9-0) in their 18-game regular-season winning streak, which is now tied for the second-longest in league history with, of all teams, New England.

The Colts trailed by 17 points early in the fourth quarter. This marked the first time Belichick's Patriots had lost when leading by at least 13 in the final period.

"When you see them going for it on fourth down, you get a little nervous, but our defense blitzed them, pressured them and got the stop," Manning said. "It certainly changed our philosophy. In practice, we're going 60 or 70 yards. So we figure we're going to have to go five, six, seven plays. In the huddle, I said, 'Obviously, we need a touchdown, but let's not be in a hurry.'"

The Patriots didn't dare second-guess their coach, though everybody else did.

"That fourth-down play, that's one of your best plays, and you go to one of your best guys," Brady said. "We've got our offense on the field. We have over 450 yards of offense at the time. We've got a lot of great players on our offense. They stopped us."

The miss gave Manning 1 minute, 57 seconds and all three timeouts -- an eternity for the three-time MVP -- and he went right to work.

Manning hooked up with Wayne for 14 yards. He let Joseph Addai carry the ball for 13 yards, down to the Patriots 1. He sent Addai inside again on first-and-goal, the same play Addai scored on to win the 2006 AFC Championship Game, but he got nothing. So Manning went back to Wayne in the end for the win.

Manning's deft play-calling left New England with only one option: A 9-yard pass to Wes Welker that ran out the clock.

It wasn't the first time Belichick tried it this season. At Atlanta, he went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 24. But that was in the third quarter -- not with a seemingly secure victory in serious jeopardy.

Fast Facts

• The Colts won their 18th straight regular season game, coming back from a 17-point deficit to win for the fifth time in their last six games vs. the Patriots (including playoffs).

• Peyton Manning finished 28 for 44 for 327 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. It's his eighth 300-yard passing game in nine games this season.

• Randy Moss finished with nine catches for 179 yards and 2 TDs in the loss. He caught a 63-yard TD from Tom Brady, his 27th career receiving TD of 50 or more yards. That ties him with Lance Alworth for second most in NFL history.

• Brady, who won his first six games vs. the Colts but has now lost four of his last five in the series, was 29 for 42 for 375 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Indy is now 9-0 for the third time in five years and only plays one team with a record better than 5-4 the rest of the way, Denver at 6-3.

New coach Jim Caldwell still has not lost, and Manning, who was 28 of 44 for 327 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, now has eight 300-yard games this season. The NFL's single-season record is 10 and he passed Fran Tarkenton for fourth on the career victories list with one that he will always remember.

New England (6-3) has lost five of the last six in this series, one that has often had long-term implications. Since 2003, the regular-season winner has claimed the AFC title four times and become the Super Bowl champion three times.

And the Pats now trail Indy by three full games, and a tiebreak, with seven games remaining, meaning they'll likely have to return to Indy if there is a rematch.

"Give the Colts credit," Belichick said. "That's why the Colts are the Colts. They're a good football team. That's about as close as it gets."

Brady was 29 of 42 for 375 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Randy Moss finished with nine catches for a season-high 179 yards and two TDs, while Welker had nine receptions for 94 yards.

Manning made sure that wasn't quite enough.

Wayne caught 10 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

The difference in this classic was that Brady dominated early, Manning when it mattered most.

After trading jabs in the first quarter, Brady took control in the second. He led the Pats to a tiebreaking field goal, hooked up with Moss on a 63-yard TD pass that floated perfectly over the hands of safety Antoine Bethea and then threw a 9-yard TD pass to Julian Edelman to give New England a 24-7 lead with 7:19 left in the half.

That was more points than Indy had allowed in any game this season.

"That man [Brady] will make you pay dearly if you don't get to him," Colts defensive end Robert Mathis said. "Even when we're behind, we know the game is not over."

Manning proved the theory still holds.

He answered with a 20-yard TD pass to Wayne, making it 24-14 at the half and after Brady connected with Moss for a 5-yard TD early in the fourth, Manning worked his magic again.

He took the Colts 79 yards in five plays, finding Pierre Garcon for a 29-yard score to get within 10. After Stephen Gostkowski booted a 36-yard field goal, Manning gave the ball to Addai for a 4-yard TD run with 2:23 to go. That made it 34-28.

Indy then elected to kick the ball deep instead of trying an onside kick, prompting Belichick to make his unusual decision -- and Manning made him pay.

"Reggie called the last play," Manning said. "I threw a fade to him earlier in the game. He wanted the slant. He just kept fighting through and made an extended catch. Maybe not his best catch ever, but it sure was timely."

Game notes


Colts DE Dwight Freeney did not record a sack, breaking his streak at nine straight games. ... The game was delayed briefly in the first quarter when fireworks hit the field. ... Indy punted six times in the first half, matching their season high for an entire game this season. ... The Patriots lost Tully Banta-Cain with a rib injury in the first half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
IND
1st Downs2425
Passing 1st downs
1718
Rushing 1st downs
75
1st downs from Penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
7-145-12
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays7263
Total Yards477407
Yards per play6.66.5
Total Drives1514
Passing364316
Comp - Att
29-4228-44
Yards per pass
8.77.2
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-111-11
Rushing11391
Rushing Attempts
2818
Yards per rush
4.05.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-63-3
Penalties4-723-20
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession35:0224:58

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady29/423758.9312-11
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning28/443277.4421-11

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk12796.6029
Maroney13312.416
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Addai10414.1113
Simpson4369.0016

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Moss917919.926316
Welker99410.401511
INDRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wayne1012612.622512
Clark46516.30255

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEIND
indTD08:19Joseph Addai 15 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick) 07
neTD04:47Laurence Maroney 1 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERNEIND
neFG13:15Stephen Gostkowski 31 Yd 107
neTD11:18Randy Moss 63 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 177
neTD07:19Julian Edelman 9 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 247
indTD04:17Reggie Wayne 20 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick) 2414
FOURTH QUARTERNEIND
neTD14:18Randy Moss 5 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 3114
indTD12:14Pierre Garcon 29 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick) 3121
neFG04:12Stephen Gostkowski 36 Yd 3421
indTD02:23Joseph Addai 4 Yd Run (Matt Stover Kick) 3428
indTD00:13Reggie Wayne 1 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick) 3435