FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski caught a pair of touchdowns, Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard returned interceptions for TDs, and Tom Brady threw for 300 yards for the 51st time in his career as the Patriots mauled Andrew Luck and the Colts, 59-24, at Gillette Stadium. It marked the second time this season that the Patriots reached the 50-point mark in a game, as the Pats improved upon their NFL-best scoring average. Brady finished 24-of-35 for 331 yards and three touchdowns and a rating of 126.7. Luck was not sharp, with several tipped passes over the middle, finishing 27-of-49 for 334 yards with three interceptions. It was the fifth time Luck went over 300 yards this season, the most by any rookie in NFL history.
The 59 points matched the franchise record 59-point game in a shutout win over the Titans on Oct. 18, 2009. Julian Edelman was also huge, returning a punt 68 yards for a game-tying touchdown, breaking a 47-yard run and recording five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski finished with seven catches on seven targets for 137 yards.
The Colts went up 7-0 when they took the game-opening drive and marched down the field 80 yards in seven plays. The key play was a pass interference call on Kyle Arrington on a deep post route by Donnie Avery. Arrington was benched in the second quarter as Alfonzo Dennard and Marquice Cole picked up the slack. The 40-yard penalty set the Colts up at the Patriots' 6. Two plays later, Delon Carter took it in from one yard for the game's first score.
Brady responded immediately, hooking up with Gronkowski three times for 56 yards, including a 36-yarder to the Colts' 23 and a 4-yard touchdown pass that tied the game, 7-7. It was Brady's 42nd consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass, third-most in NFL history. It was also Gronkowski's 36th TD, matching John Jefferson for the most in NFL history through his first three seasons. He would pass Jefferson in the third quarter.
The Colts came back to take the lead on a Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton connection in the back of the end zone, as Hilton slid while making the grab, with Talib trailing the play. The momentum then appeared to be going against the Patriots when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 34-yard field goal wide right.
But things changed drastically thanks to two big returns in the second quarter. Edelman took a low punt from Pat McAfee at the New England 32 and raced up the right sideline to take it in for the score. With the game tied, 14-14, Luck overthrew a wide open Reggie Wayne on the next series and Talib, playing behind Wayne, picked it off and ran toward the Patriots sideline before cutting back and following a pair of blocks to get into the end zone, giving the Patriots the lead, 21-14.
With the crowd booing Adam Vinatieri, he connected on a 47-yard field goal to bring the Colts within four, 21-17. Gostkowski connected on a 31-yard field goal to make it a seven-point game again. Vinatieri missed wide left on a 58-yard field goal attempt at the halftime gun as the Patriots took a 24-17 lead to the locker room for the second straight week.
The Patriots took the opening drive of the second half and marched 76 yards as Brady hit Gronkowski for a 31-yard completion to the Colts' 23. The drive was capped when Brady hit Edelman in the end zone for a 4-yard TD. Brady made it a 38-17 game when he found Gronkowski from 23 yards out, one play after Rob Ninkovich strip-sacked Luck and recovered the fumble. Alfonzo Dennard jumped in front of a pass intended for Wayne and ran it back 87 yards for the second pick-six of the day, the first time since 2002 the Patriots have accomplished the feat.
The Patriots now are a combined 18-0 in the second half of the season dating back to the season finale in 2009, when they lost at Houston. The Patriots improve to 7-3 on the season and have a very short week before taking on the 4-6 Jets on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium.
The win was tempered by a report that Gronkowski, who left in the fourth quarter, has a broken forearm. Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones injured his right ankle and did not return after leaving in the first half.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots OTAs and the rookies' first taste of the NFL.
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Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
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Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Adrian Peterson's twitter rant leaves us wondering which troubled running back we would rather have on our team.
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
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The three hosts give their best efforts to spell the toughest names in sports.
Christian gives us five topics ranging from the NBA Finals to the FIFA Scandal
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Bill Belichick said exactly what you think he'd say about deflategate and the penalties levied on the Patriots: nothing. Michael Holley, Steve Buckley and Greg Dickerson discuss it.
Michael and crew discuss the latest revelations about public funding in the bid for Boston to get the 2024 Olympics.
Michael Holley, Steve Buckley and Greg Dickerson discuss the Red Sox including the benching of David Ortiz, and the debut of rookie pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Planet Mikey Show with Mikey Adams and Chris Villani reacts to the MLB debut of Eduardo Rodriguez and the impact he might have on the Red Sox.
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Mikey Adams and Chris Villani discuss the disappointing 21-26 start of the Boston Red Sox and who is most to blame. Also, caller Steve from Fall River sets Villani off with his DeflateGate take.
"Jerry is joined by his friend comedian Nick "Fitzy" Stevens to talk about awesomely cheesy 80s movies, the "Point Break" reboot, why in a world of limitless raunch everyone is so uptight, and a million other topics before they finally get to why everyone hates the Patriots and their fans."
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