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Game Day Links: GAME BALL / GOAT AWARDS
UPDATE 11:45pm: INTERCEPTION AGAIN
Following a night of misplays and bad bounces, One play after Tom Brady drills the ball to a streaking Ben Watson for a first down at the Indianapolis 39 with over a minute and a half left, lightning strikes again. Brady tried to hit Kevin Faulk on a short pass over the middle, but the ball bounced off Faulk's hands into the waiting arms of Cato June for the fifth turnover of the night.
The Patriots were out of time outs, so the Colts kneeled down to run the clock out and seal the win.
FINAL SCORE: Patriots 20 - Colts 27
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UPDATE: 11:24pm: PATRIOTS FG
Laurence Maroney returned a short Adam Vinatieri kick, to the Patriots 39-yard line to begin the Patriots drive. With a solid mix of run and pass, the Patriots chewed up yardage against the Colts porous rush defense. Unfortunately for New England, instead of running the ball with a fist and goal at the Colts 10, they opted to pass again, and came up short.
Key Plays: 17-yard run by Laurence Maroney, and a pass interference on F. Keiaho.
Score: Patriots 20 - Colts 27
UPDATE 11:13pm: COLTS FG
The Patriots interception was another gift to Manning when he barely needed it. The Colts haven't had to drive long late in the game, and if they had to, the Pats defense has been able to get pressure on the Colts QB.
Colts took advantage by running an 8-play 33-yard drive.
Key plays: 16 yard pass on third and 10 at the Patriots 46. 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Rosevelt Colvin when Joseph Addai was held up for no gain. The Penalty put the ball at the New England 15.
Score: Patriots 17 - Colts 27
Time: 10:17 left in the 4th Q.
UPDATE 11:04pm: INTERCEPTION INDY
Moments after Peyton manning threw a bad pass, Tom Brady threw a ball over the middle that was tipped and intercepted. The Patriots look like they've abandoned the run almost completely.
The Colts have the ball at the NE 46.
UPDATE 10:53pm: MISSED FG
In a tit-for-tat, the Patriots recover a fumble on the kick return after their FG. Artrell Hawkins made the play to strip the ball, and then recover it. The Patriots ran the ball then went back to passing it around the field. Why the Patriots are passing as much as they are is a mystery. They seem to be able to run well inside, but they keep trying to get the ball downfield through the air.
Key play: Wide right. Gostkowski missed badly a kick that could have pulled the Patriots within 4. Whether it's the turf or just the way it goes, both kickers have missed kicks
UPDATE 10:45pm: PATRIOTS FG
In a sloppy, rushed drive that managed to move the ball from Patriots from their own 30 to the Colts 31. After some miscues, the Patriots try a 49-yard field goal attempt. The ball goes through the uprights with plenty of distance and fairly well centered.
Key plays on the drive: defensive pass interference on 3rd and three that sustained the drive.
Score: Patriots 17 - Colts 24
UPDATE 10:39pm: COLTS TD
Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison again. In the corner of the end zone Harrison makes an incredible sideline catch in front of Ellis Hobbs to put the Colts up by 10.
Harrison scores on an 8-play 74-yard drive.
Key Play: 35-yard catch and run by Dallas Clark to the New England 5 on 3rd and 5.
Score: Patriots 14 - Colts 24
UPDATE 10:22pm: Pats Dodge a Bullet
Getting the ball on the Patriots 31, the Colts go three and out with a sack by the Patriots that put Indianapolis out of Field Goal range. First punt of the game Fair caught by Troy Brown at the 11.
UPDATE 10:19pm: FUMBLE
The third turnover of the game for the Patriots. Corey Dillon had the ball ripped out as he fell to the ground. The play was challenged, but ruled as a fumble.
UPDATE 10:15pm: WIDE RIGHT
It happened. Adam Vinatieri missed.
After Peyton Manning sliced up the Patriots driving the ball downfield on the first drive after the half. Manning put Vinatieri in prim position to put the Colts up by 6, but Vinatieri missed a 37-yard kick wide right.
The crowd cheered Vinatieri's miss loudly.
UPDATE 10:05pm: At the Half
How they've fared so far:
Brady looks like he's pressing to make plays that aren't there. Both interceptions were throws into coverage when a check down player was open.
Peyton Manning is just slicing up the Patriots defense at will. Although the Patriots have sacked Manning once, more often they're not getting any pressure on him and Manning is making big plays downfield.
The Patriots ground game is making strides, but will become a non-factor if New England isn't able to keep the score close.
Stats at the Half:
Peyton Manning 9 of 13 for 147 and 1 TD
Joseph Addai 7 rushes for 12 yards and 1 TD
Reggie Wayne 4 74 0 33
Marvin Harrison 4 66 1 44
Tom Brady 12 of 17 for 130 yards and 2 INTs
Laurence Maroney 9 attempts for 44 yards
Corey Dillon 9 rushes for 37 yards and 2 TDs
Doug Gabriel 1 catch for 39 yards
Kevin Faulk 4 catches for 28 yards
UPDATE 9:53pm: Drive killer
Brady made his second major mistake of the game by overthrowing a well-covered Ben Watson at the Colts 8 yard line. Watson got one hand on the ball but tipped it to one of three Colts defenders surrounding him, Bob Sanders.
Key plays on the drive: a 4th and 1 that was barely a first down. The Patriots received what appeared to be a generous spot giving them a first. The play was reviewed by officials but stood as called on the field.
The half ended on a kneel down by Manning at the 3-yard line.
Score at the Half: Patriots 14 - Colts 17
UPDATE 9:35pm: COLTS FG
Colts had a huge 70-yard kickoff return that put Peyton Manning in solid position to put the Colts back up at the half. Mike Wright chased down T. Wilkins after kicker Stephen Gostkowski slowed him up deep in Patriots territory.
Manning was able to get the Colts in scoring position inside the 10 on an Asante Samuel pass interference call at the 7. The Colts started the drive at the Patriots 29. The Patriots defense finally got to Manning for the first sack of the game on the Colts QB. Samuel avenged his bad play with a good one by breaking up a pass in the corner intended for Reggie Wayne.
Key Plays: Samuel pass interference at the 7. Sack on Manning on second and 8, illegal contact by Asante Samuel to give the Colts a first down at the 12.
Score: Patriots 14 - Colts 17
UPDATE 9:15pm: PATRIOTS TD
The battle of offenses is on. Tom Brady led the Patriots offense right back down the field to match the Colts last touchdown with a touchdown of their own.
Brady gave the ball to Corey Dillon who scored on a 4-yard run, capping an 11-play 66-yard drive that chewed up another 5:42 of game clock.
The Patriots are playing a 3-4 defense and it's not having the desired effect of slowing down Manning's offense.
Key plays: Brown's reception to become the career leader on a 3rd and 4 from the Indy 20 and a Tom Brady quarterback sneak up the middle on a 3rd and 2 at the Colts 7.
KEY NOTE: TROY BROWN IS THE #1 career reception leader in Patriots history
Score: Patriots 14 - Colts 14
UPDATE 9:09pm: COLTS TD
No Surprise, the game is turning into an offensive showdown, with the Patriots unable to slow down Peyton Manning. If they want to turn the game into a regular matchup that they're used to, then they'll have to get more pressure on the veteran QB.
Manning let the Colts on an 8-play 82-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 2-yard Joseph Addai touchdown plunge right up the middle.
The crowd is booing Adam Vinatieri each time he trots out on the field.
Key plays: 33-yard completion Manning to Reggie Wayne to put the ball 1st and goal on the Patriots 2.
Note: Rodney Harrison is sidelined with a shoulder injury. His return is listed as probable. Corey Mays made his first career NFL tackle when he made the tackle on the Patriots kickoff.
Score: Patriots 7 - Colts 14
UPDATE 8:59pm: PATRIOTS TD
Tom Brady orchestrates a counter score after the Colts got up on the board first. Managing an 11 play 68- yard drive that chewed-up a little over 5 minutes of the game clock. More heavy doses of running, with a lot of hard running by Corey Dillon and a pair of runs from Laurence Maroney.
In a ridiculous call by the refs, a taunting penalty was called on Tory Brown who was trying to throw the ball to the sideline. It was Browns' 534th career catch tying Stanley Morgan for the most career receptions in franchise history.
The TD was scored by Dillon on a one-yard plunge running behind rookie Ryan O'Callaghan and Heath Evans.
Key plays: a 39-yard completion to Doug Gabriel on 3rd and 20. The Patriots also chose to go for it on a 4th and 3 on the Indy 19.
Score: Pats 7 - Colts 7
UPDATE 8:45pm: COLTS TD
It didn't take Peyton Manning long to get the Colts on the board. With a long pass caught by Marvin Harrison that looked like a lob ball more than a throw on a rope typical of Manning. Manning found Marvin Harrison in the back of the end zone under the uprights for the first points of the game.
Key play: 44-yard bomb Manning to Harrison on 3rd and 15 to get the ball to the Pats 29.
UPDATE 8:30pm: After the Patriots managed to march down the field with a solids dose of run plays by both Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney, Tom Brady makes a crucial mistake and launches deep ball to the corner of the end zone miles of the head of his intended target. The ball is picked off by Antoine Bethea who returns it out of the end zone for 38 yards.
Keys to the Game:
Pressure Peyton Manning: If the Patriots try what the Broncos tried last week and wait for Manning to find the open receiver, he's going to have a big day. Manning has the ability to lead his team downfield late in a game for a comeback win, and the reason he was able to do it was lack of pressure.
Get Ben Watson back into the gameplan like he was last week. Watson had a career game last week. If Watson gets some action early, then the Colts will have ot honor him as both a blocker and a pass receiver.
Colts: Protect Manning. If Manning gets time to find his receivers downfield, he's going to have a big game. The Patriots secondary has had trouble covering big play receivers like Javon Walker and Laveranues Coles among others.
Get Pressure on Brady. If the Colts don't find a way get pressure on the Patriots QB, he will be able to find his receivers, his TEs or anyone else on the Patriots roster. The Colts need to pressure Brady to cause forced bad throws, or better yet a turnover.
Find a way to stop the run. If Indianapolis cannot do this, the game will end quickly.