Final

Colts 24

(6-4, 2-3 away)

Patriots 59

(7-3, 4-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:25 PM ET, November 18, 2012

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
IND 14 3 0 724
NE 7 17 14 2159

Top Performers

Passing: A. Luck (IND) - 334 YDS, 2 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: V. Ballard (IND) - 16 CAR, 72 YDS

Receiving: R. Gronkowski (NE) - 7 REC, 137 YDS, 2 TD

Tom Brady outshines Andrew Luck as Pats score 59 on Colts

ESPN.com news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Alfonzo Dennard watched himself on the videoboard as he raced 87 yards with an interception for a touchdown. He wanted to see if the star rookie who threw the pass might catch him.

The way the New England Patriots were playing -- with their usual strong offense, big plays on defense and a touchdown on a punt return -- there was no way Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts could overtake them.

The Patriots, the NFL's highest-scoring team, equaled their single-game scoring record for points with a 59-24 win on Sunday.

"The coaches want us to play aggressive," said Dennard, whose touchdown made it 45-17. "So that's what I was doing out there."

The first matchup between three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and star rookie Luck was no match. Brady threw three touchdown passes. Luck threw three interceptions.

"They're good enough," Luck said. "They don't need those gifts, but to their credit, they created those and we didn't."

They may need them more after tight end Rob Gronkowski left the field with a broken forearm, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The source told Schefter that Gronkowski was injured on the Patriots' final extra point with 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. X-rays after the game revealed the broken forearm.

An exact timetable for Gronkowski's return is unknown, but NFL.com reported Sunday night that the player has told people he will miss four to six weeks.

Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes Sunday, giving him seven touchdown receptions in his last four games and 10 for the season. He finished the game with seven catches for 137 yards, The Patriots' other valuable tight end Aaron Hernandez missed his third straight game and sixth overall after spraining his right ankle.

The Patriots' much-maligned pass defense finally made major contributions as newcomer Aqib Talib returned another interception for a touchdown, covering 59 yards. And Rob Ninkovich's fifth forced fumble of the season -- knocking the ball out of Luck's hand -- set up Gronkowski's second scoring grab on the next play.

"We knew we couldn't come here and turn the football over and have a chance to win," Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. "We've got a lot of rookies out there so every week is a learning experience. It was a bad learning experience."

The Patriots (7-3) won their fourth straight game and extended their lead in the AFC East to three games over the other three teams. The Colts (6-4) had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL's best offense and one of its worst defenses.

New England now must hurry to prepare for its Thanksgiving night meeting with the Jets (4-6). New York ended a three-game slide with a 27-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

"I don't think we're anywhere (near) where we need to be at this point," Brady said.

For the Patriots, Sunday's win was their most complete in a season in which they've averaged 35.8 points per game and lost their three games by a combined margin of four points.

The 59 points equal the team mark set in a 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 18, 2009.

The Patriots also scored on a 68-yard punt return by Julian Edelman three plays before Talib gave the Patriots the lead for good, 21-14.

"I don't think guys panicked" after that one-two punch," Luck said. "Playing hard is not enough, as evidenced tonight."

Brady completed 24-of-35 passes for 331 yards and no interceptions. Luck was 27 for 50 for two touchdowns and 334 yards and set an NFL record as the first rookie with five 300-yard games.

The Colts were competitive for one half. The Patriots led 24-17 heading into the third quarter.

Then the Patriots scored on passes of 2 yards to Edelman and 24 yards to Gronkowski and Dennard's interception return.

Luck followed with a 43-yard scoring pass to T.Y. Hilton, the second of the game to the fellow rookie. But the Patriots responded with touchdown runs of 3 yards by Stevan Ridley and 4 yards by Shane Vereen.

The game began with touchdowns on the first three series: a 1-yard run by Delone Carter of the Colts, a 4-yard pass from Brady to Gronkowski, and a 14-yard pass from Luck to Hilton.

Stephen Gostkowski then missed a 36-yard field goal attempt for the Patriots.

But their fortunes changed four plays later. Edelman brought a punt back for a touchdown for the third time in his career after the defense forced Luck into a three-and-out. And just three plays and 61 seconds after that, the Patriots scored on Talib's touchdown to take the lead.

The catch was an easy one -- Luck threw the ball high over Reggie Wayne's head -- but the run was exceptional as Talib cut from the right side of the field to the left, eluding numerous Colts.

The Patriots obtained Talib from Tampa Bay before last Sunday's 37-31 win over Buffalo. But he sat that one out to complete a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

"A lot of plays motivated the defense," Talib said. "About that third or fourth (Colts) series, we kind of got into it. It was kind of quiet out there early (then) we started talking."

Former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, booed often in a stadium where he once was adored, cut the lead to 21-17 on a 47-yard field goal 5:46 before intermission.

Game notes


The Patriots are 18-0 in the second half of the season starting in 2010. ... Luck broke Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record with his fifth game of at least 300 yards passing. ... Wes Welker stretched his streak to 104 games with at least one reception. ... Reggie Wayne tied Cris Carter's NFL mark with 58 consecutive games with at least three catches. ... Colts WR Donnie Avery left the game with a concussion. Arians had no update after the game.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
IND
NE
1st Downs2825
Passing 1st downs
1620
Rushing 1st downs
95
1st downs from Penalties
30
3rd down efficiency
8-148-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays7560
Total Yards448446
Yards per play6.07.4
Total Drives1310
Passing329331
Comp - Att
27-5024-35
Yards per pass
6.69.5
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-50-0
Rushing119115
Rushing Attempts
2425
Yards per rush
5.04.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-24-6
Penalties1-54-70
Turnovers40
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
30
Defensive / Special Teams TDs03
Possession32:5527:05

Passing Leaders

INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Luck27/503346.7231-5
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady24/353319.5300-0

Rushing Leaders

INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ballard16724.5020
Carter22110.5120
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Edelman14747.0047
Vereen11403.6113

Receiving Leaders

INDRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Hilton610016.72439
Wayne77210.302118
NERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Gronkowski713719.62367
Welker78011.401811

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERINDNE
indTD10:49Delone Carter 1 Yd Run (Adam Vinatieri Kick) 70
neTD07:07Rob Gronkowski 4 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 77
indTD01:44T.Y. Hilton 14 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick) 147
SECOND QUARTERINDNE
neTD12:00Julian Edelman 68 Yd Punt Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1414
neTD10:59Aqib Talib 59 Yd Interception Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1421
indFG05:46Adam Vinatieri 47 Yd 1721
neFG01:54Stephen Gostkowski 31 Yd 1724
THIRD QUARTERINDNE
neTD11:07Julian Edelman 2 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1731
neTD03:22Rob Gronkowski 24 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1738
FOURTH QUARTERINDNE
neTD14:47Alfonzo Dennard 87 Yd Interception Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1745
indTD12:32T.Y. Hilton 43 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick) 2445
neTD09:05Stevan Ridley 3 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 2452
neTD03:55Shane Vereen 4 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 2459

Research Notes

Reggie Wayne entered Week 11 as the league leader in targets (105) and receptions (69), and Wayne was targeted 15 times Sunday against the Patriots. New England's defense held Luck to a sub-50.0 completion percentage when targeting Wayne for the first time this season. On the road this season, Luck now has zero touchdowns and six interceptions targeting Wayne.
  [+]
Rob Gronkowski caught all seven targets for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Gronkowski caught his only end-zone target Sunday, his fourth straight game with a touchdown on an end-zone target. Brady is 5-for-7 targeting Gronkowski in the end zone in his last four games after starting the season 2-for-6 on those throws in New England's first six games.
In Aqib Talib's first game as a Patriot, the New England defense sent added pressure after Andrew Luck on 15 dropbacks, their highest total in a game this season (previous high was nine). Talib's pick-six came from a five-man pass rush, the first interception the Patriots recorded this season with added pressure. Extra pressure has been common from the Colts' defense this season, who entered Week 11 as the third-most aggressive defense in the league (5+ rushers on 41.6 percent of dropbacks). Indianapolis sent extra rushers after Brady on 12 dropbacks, but Brady handled it much better than Luck.
  [+]
The 59 points allowed by the Colts is the 2nd-most allowed in team history. The most is 62, against the Saints in Week 7 of 2011.
This is 2nd time in Patriots history they have had an interception return TD and a punt return TD in the same game. It also happened in Week 17 2002 vs Panthers.
Punt Return TD, Rec TD Same Game Patriots History OPPONENT 2012 Julian Edelman Colts < 1985 Irving Fryar Colts < 1979 Stanley Morgan Colts < > Home game in November

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