The New England Patriots have put fans’ concerns to bed after a 38-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts to improve to 3-2 on the season and to 13-6 on Thursday night games.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman came out and played as if he never missed a game, catching three passes including the first from quarterback Tom Brady. Contrary to the previous contests, the team marched down the field with ease like the Patriots of old, ending the drive with a screen pass to Cordarrelle Patterson at the two-yard line.
The Colts struggled to get anything going with a quarter of the Patriots defense raining down on Andrew Luck for a brutal sack, followed by a terrible Eric Ebron dropped pass giving the ball back to the Patriots.
The Patriots couldn’t do anything on their next drive giving it back to the Colts who marched it down the field with relative ease. However the drive was stalled by excellent coverage by cornerback Jason McCourty.
What followed was the equivalent of seeing a shooting star go by as one of the greatest and most clutch kickers in the history of the game in Adam Vinatieri missed a 38-yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 7-0.
The Patriots took advantage of the mishap with Brady tearing the Indianapolis defense apart, albeit with a few questionable penalties thrown in there. Rookie running back Sony Michel, who had the most rushing yards by a rookie back last week, tried to get into the end zone twice, but couldn’t manage to cross the plane. Brady sneaked the ball in for his 18th career rushing touchdown and first of the 2018 season.
The Colts on their next drive fought for every yard but would end up with a 54-yard chip shot opportunity for Vinatieri that made the score 14-3.
The Patriots were unable to get anything going on their next drive with Brady overthrowing James White and underthrowing Josh Gordon on consecutive plays before safely dumping it off to Rob Gronkowski for a three-and-out.
The Colts didn’t do anything with the drive and differed back to the Patriots where Michel took the ball down the field single handily on straight carries. White made his sixth catch on the game to get the team within one, which would was followed by yet another Michel carry off of a pitch ending with him being tattooed at the end of the play.
The Patriots had more work to be done after a Marcus Cannon holding penalty but with Brady wanting more White, he would get more of White with two straight completions with one for a score to make it 21-3.
The first half wouldn’t be done yet as Adrian Clayborn showed why the Patriots signed him to rush the passer when he got in the face of quarterback Andrew Luck causing an interception by safety Patrick Chung.
Brady’s group marched down the field and turn the interception into points going into halftime 24-3.
After a series of punts, the Colts finally showed signs of life with a huge Chester Rogers punt return that ended in an Eric Ebron touchdown to make the score 24-10.
The Patriots looked as though they were driving the field with Brady throwing a huge pass to Gronkowski while getting hit to get the ball across midfield. But Hogan continued his struggles with the ball slipping out of his hands right into Matthias Farley’s breadbasket for the Patriots’ first turnover of the game.
The Colts were looking to pull within seven with the life given to them by the interception, but Devin McCourty used the opportunity to rebound from surrendering the Ebron touchdown by ripping the ball out of running back Jordan Wilkin’s hands, causing a trade of turnovers.
The Patriots gave it right back to the Colts with yet another dropped pass by Gronkowski while he was turning up field that went into the hands of linebacker Najee Goode, giving Brady two interceptions in two straight weeks.
The Colts were able to drive down the field torching Devin McCourty ending the drive with a touchdown to tight end Eric Swoope to bring the Colts back within a score.
Just when you thought the Colts had all the momentum on their side, Brady wouldn’t look to trusted targets, but his new locker mate in Josh Gordon, who caught one pass over the middle to start the drive and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in double coverage. The score gave Brady his 500th career touchdown pass to his 71st different receiver.
The Colts got a taste of their own medicine as Jason McCourty caused a deflection right into Jonathan Jones’ hands.
Michel drove home the dagger as the Patriots had a 34-yard touchdown score for the second straight drive with the rookie scoring a rushing touchdown for the second straight week.
The Colts scored a garbage time touchdown that went to Ebron for his second of the game. The Patriots recovered the onside kick and then proceeded to run out the clock.
The Patriots look like how they should look at this point. The Colts are not a good team and the team has a big measuring stick matchup coming up against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on October 14 at 8:20 p.m.
Top Performers: Offense – 6 Defense – 4
Tom Brady: The 41-year-old quarterback was up to his same old tricks taking care of the ball and spreading the pigskin around to many different targets. Brady had two more interceptions this game but the fault goes to Hogan and Gronkowski on those. Grabbing his 500th touchdown and passing Vinny Testaverde on the all-time list, he showed he’s still Brady, somehow defeating time as only the third quarterback to ever do so.
James White: The Wisconsin alum dominated the game catching 10 passes for 77 yards and a score. With great ball security and Brady’s trust, White has established himself as one of the elite receiving backs and dual threats.
Sony Michel: Michel continued his roll with another great rushing performance of 18 rushes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Though he had trouble punching it into the end zone, the Georgia alum is improving week-to-week.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Patterson kept himself involved catching two screen passes on the first drive, which included a touchdown reception, his second in two weeks. Patterson shouldn’t make this list that much longer as Gordon gets more involved in the offense and Edelman gets his bearings.
Julian Edelman: After not playing a meaningful game since Super Bowl LI, Edelman came out the offense’s first snap like he didn’t miss a beat. The slot receiver caught seven passes for 57 yards. While he did seem rusty at times, that was to be expected as he works back into the swing of things.
Josh Gordon: The Brady/Gordon connection seems to be progressing as Brady entrusted the former Brown on two passes in one drive along with a 34-yard score that broke the game open. Gordon is getting a feel for the offense and it should scare upcoming opponents on the Patriots schedule. The Patriots are 36-0 now when Brady and Edelman play together against AFC opponents and they look to continue that roll at home against the Chiefs.
Adrian Clayborn: It’s not showing up on the stat sheet, but Clayborn is continuously getting pressure on the quarterback and he did that with consistency against the Colts including a rush that caused the Chung interception.
Stephon Gilmore: While Malcolm Butler is struggling in Tennessee, Gilmore is showing the reason the Patriots paid the big bucks for the former Buffalo Bill with punched out passes and excellent coverage throughout the game.
Jason McCourty: The second cornerback spot is Jason’s to lose as he dominated the entire night with six total tackles, blanketing coverage and was the cause of the deflected pass that resulted in a Jonathan Jones interception.
Jonathan Jones: Starting as a decent special teams player, Jones has took over in the slot and has used his speed to have a few very good outings. He capitalizes on his speed during blitzes and has been able to keep up with anyone he’s matched up with.