PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus
It may have taken a little while to get things cranked up, but QB Peyton Manning completed 28-of-44 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked once. WR Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Manning connected with seven different receivers.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus
The numbers aren't great, 18 rushes for 91 yards. But the Colts did average 5.1 yards per carry against the Patriots. RB Joseph Addai saw limited work in the first half after suffering an injured finger. Addai, though, had 41 yards in 10 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run that brought Indianapolis to within 34-28 with 2:23 remaining in the game.
PASS DEFENSE: C-plus
Indianapolis didn't really stop the Patriots passing offense until it mattered most and that was late in the fourth quarter. Early on, though, QB Tom Brady and WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker were having a field day against the Colts. Brady completed 29-of-42 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Moss hauled in nine passes for 179 yards and two TDs. Welker had nine catches for 94 yards. Indianapolis managed to intercept Brady once, sack him twice and have five quarterback hurries. Big plays by rookie CB Jerraud Powers and SS Melvin Bullitt late in the fourth quarter on the Patriots' next-to-last offensive possession helped to key the Colts' comeback effort.
RUSH DEFENSE: B
The New England rushing attack was paced by RB Kevin Faulk, who had 79 yards in 12 carries. RB Laurence Maroney added 31 yards in 13 rushes and scored one touchdown. The Colts limited the Patriots to 113 yards in 28 carries. While New England was able to keep some offensive drives alive with the run, the Colts were able to prevent big plays on the ground.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus
Lapses in punt-return coverage, an area where the Colts had shown a lot of improvement this season, came very close to hurting Indianapolis in a big way Sunday night. WR Wes Welker had five punt returns for 117 yards, averaging 23.4 yards per return. That included a 69-yarder. The Patriots also averaged 27.3 yards on three kickoff returns. Indianapolis PR T.J. Rushing had three fair catches while KR Chad Simpson averaged 22.5 yards on four kickoff returns. P Pat McAfee averaged 48.4 yards overall but 31.7 yards net in seven punts.
The Colts didn't panic on the sideline despite getting off to slow starts offensively and defensively. Indianapolis' coaching staff, led by first-year head coach Jim Caldwell, retained focus on the sideline and made just the right amount of adjustments late in the game to help key the come-from-behind victory. Caldwell's quiet demeanor was just what the Colts needed on the sidelines. Indianapolis continues to find ways to win despite not playing well over the past three weeks.
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