Key Moments in Patriots 27-24 victory

<p>The New England Patriots played the Indianapolis Colts in the first NFL regular season game of the year. The Patriots were able to hold off a late Colts rally and preserve their victory 27 to 24, sending the Colts record in Foxboro to 0-6.</p> <p>Here are a few key moments of the game, along with links to the box score and other stats.</p>

As part of our enhanced game coverage, Patriots Insider will be bringing you "Fan Commentary", "Key Moments of the Game", "Against the Spread" and "Ken's Corner" Comments. The first week's game against the Indianapolis Colts is here with enhanced game reviews, our take on the key moments, links to some key stats, including the box score and drive charts.

Key Moments of the Game:

1st Quarter:
On 3rd and 1 from the Indy 37 Edgerrin James runs one up the middle and is stopped short of the 1st down by Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel
BUT, the refs call illegal contact on the DB (Rodney Harrison), in the first of a number of ticky take away from the play calls, demonstrating their determiniation to enforce the controversial rule that led to all the off season hoopla.

Same drive, 2nd and 6 on the New England 6, Manning tries to pass to Dallas Clark and it was intercepted by Tedy Bruschi at 1. Ty Warren forced Manning into a hurried throw, causing this critical turnover.

SCORE: 3 - 0 Patriots end of the 1st

2nd Quarter:
9 play 66 yard drive by the Colts in the no huddle offense, all runing plays, capped by a 3 yard Dominic Rhodes TD

On 1st and 10 from the New England 25 Corey Dillon busts a run off the right side 38 yards, setting the stage for Indy's 8 focus on stopping the run.
Drive Capped by 16 yard fade pass from Brady to David Patten, Score 10-10 with less than 3 mins left.

Next drive Peyton hits Marvin Harrison, for a TD on 3rd and goal from the 3. Replay shows it's likely Harrison's knee was on the line out of bounds when he caught the TD. Under two minutes, all replay's are reviewed by NFL officials, call not challenged.
Key play on that drive was 64 yard strike from Manning to Dallas Clark to put them in scoring position.

Patriots ball with less than 45 seconds in the half, Bethel Johnson gets an excellent return (34 yards) to the 41 yard line giving the Pats a chance with under 40 seconds. Key play on drive, 21 yard Brady pass to Daniel Graham to the Indy 25 setting up Vinatieri FG...

SCORE: 17 -13 Colts at halftime

3rd Quarter:

Patriots score first in the second half taking the lead on a 25 yard pass from Brady to Patten putting the Pats up 20 - 17. Key play on the drive was on 3rd and 10 from the New England 31 Brady passed to Deion Branch for 12 yards. This set the tone that Brady could convert long 3rd downs, seemingly at will against the Indy secondary. Replay shows how Brady was able to thread the ball into the receive with decent coverage.

Critical moment of the 3rd quarter came when Indianapolis was driving down the field with 1st and 10 at the New England 22. Edgerrin James fumbles, and the Patriots recover. Play was challenged by Indy coach Tony Dungy and Upheld, costing Indy their 2nd timeout of the second half.

Patriots score TD on 8 yard pass to Dan Graham, when Graham was well covered. Graham was able to turn the LB covering him to the inside and Brady put the ball right on the money on the outside. Key to the drive was on 3rd and 9 from the New England 31 Brady passed to Patten for 29 yards. Again reinforcing the fact that Brady was able to conver key 3rd and longs.

SCORE: 27 -17 Patriots a the end of the third

4th Quarter:

The Colts climbed back into the game on a Peyton Manning to Brandon Stokley 7 yard TD strike midway through the forth quarter. The drive was aided by 2 illegal contact rules on the Patriots secondary, further driving home the point that the NFL is determined to show that holding or bumping receivers downfield will draw a flag.

The next three possessions determined the outcome of the game, with each one going in an unexpected direction.

After the Colts score, Brady drove the Patriots down the field into Indy territory only to thrown one down the middle and have it intercepted on the Indy 18 yard line. It appeared that the receiver ran the wrong route, or that Brady threw a perfect spiral to noone down the middle, gift wrapping the ball for Nicholas Harper who hadn't been able to stop the Patriots receivers all day.

The Colts then took that ball and drove all the way to the Patriots goal line only to watch Edgerrin James cough up another fumble on the goal line, recovered by rookie Vince Wilfork, caused from a great hit by Eugene Wilson.

The last and like biggest play was a Willie McGinest sack on Peyton Manning on the Colts final drive. Manning had just completed a 45 yard strike down the center of the field to Brandon Stokley again, getting the Colts into FG range, with the second best kicker in the NFL, (Mike Vanderjagt). On 3rd and 8 from teh New England 17 Manning dropped back to pass looking left, Dallas Clark the TE on the right side, flew out into a route, not slowing down to block or bump McGinest who was coming off the corner. Manning never had a chance and took the 12 yard sack.

Vanderjagt came in to try a 48 yard FG into the wind, instead of a 36 yard chip shot. He missed, wide right... game over

SCORE: 27 - 24 Patriots win

Here are some stats and reviews on last nights matchup, along with some photos of the action.

We've updated today's NEWSWIRE, and are working on bringing you additional updates throughout the day. Check the Forums for more details.

Be sure to watch the Patriots Insider front page and the Football forums for game commentary, information on the key matchups as well as some additional details on the game.

Additional STATS online:
YAHOO: Box Score :: Play by Play :: Drive Recap
Team Stats
Colts
Patriots
1st Downs
28
22
Rushing
13
3
Passing
11
8
Penalty
4
1
3rd-Down Conversions
8-13
6-11
4th-Down Conversions
1-1
0-0
Punts-Average
2-41.0
3-47.3
Return Yards
121
118
Punts-Returns
2-20
2-6
Kickoffs-Returns
4-89
5-107
Int.-Returns
1-12
1-5
Penalties-Yards
3-20
8-55
Fumbles-Lost
2-2
2-1
Time Of Pos.
31:41
28:19

Team Stats
Colts
Patriots
Total Net Yards
446
402
Total Plays
72
57
Average Gain
6.2
7.1
Net Yards Rushing
202
82
Rushes
42
17
Avg. Per Rush
4.8
4.8
Net Yards Passing
244
320
Comp.-Att.
16-29
26-38
Yards Per Pass
8.1
8.0
Sacked-Yards Lost
1-12
2-15
Had Intercepted
1
1
Touchdowns
3
3
Rushing
1
0
Passing
2
3
Other
0
0
Extra Points
3-3
3-3
Field Goals
1-2
2-2
Red Zone Efficiency
0-0 =0%
0-0 =0%
Goal To Go Efficiency
0-0= 0%
0-0 = 0%
stats: compilation of online services and NFL.com

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