Score: Indianapolis 22, New England 43
|Position Unit||First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
vs. Patriots Divisional Round
Game Analysis for Indianapolis
Pass Offense: Though he made a few early mistakes—including a pair of first-half interceptions—quarterback Andrew Luck managed to find room to make some plays against the New England defense.
Unfortunately, Luck couldn’t shake a propensity for mistakes. He missed a couple of easy second-half throws and tossed a fourth-quarter interception that was a killer.
Luck finished the game 20-of-41 for 331 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Run Offense: While Indianapolis continued to turn back to its running game, the Colts never really found a way to take advantage of New England’s relatively weak (ranked 30th, allowing 134.1 yards per game during the regular season) run defense.
Pass Defense: Indianapolis had some difficulty against short and intermediate passes, especially on play action. While Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not exactly dominate the field, he was able to find success at some key moments.
Brady finished the game 13-of-25 for 198 yards with no touchdowns and no turnovers.
Run Defense: The Patriots hammered the Colts with a run-oriented offense throughout the game. Indianapolis was able to hold firm at times, but overall, New England emerged successful with its game plan.
Patriots back LeGarrette Blount set the tone early with three first-half touchdowns. After three-plus quarters of wearing down the defense with predominately short runs, he finally hit a home run with a 73-yard fourth-quarter score.
Blount led the Patriots with 166 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries, while Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 69 yards and two scores on 19 rushing attempts.
Special Teams: The Colts benefitted from a bad snap on a first-half Patriots punt that resulted in a safety. Otherwise, it was a fairly average night for the special teams unit of both teams.
Punter Pat McAfee averaged a solid 45 yards per attempt, while kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on both of his field-goal attempts.
Coaching: The Colts stuck with a balanced offensive game plan, even though the rushing game was mostly ineffective in the first half.
While this strategy may have helped keep the Patriots defense off-balance, it might have been a mistake as the passing game was the only part of the Colts offense that seemed to work.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky dialed up enough pressure to cause some problems for New England’s passing attack. Unfortunately, his unit also struggled to contain the Patriots run game.
First-Half Analysis for Indianapolis
Pass Offense: Quarterback Andrew Luck put his team into an early hole with an interception on the game’s opening possession. However, he responded with an efficient touchdown drive later in the first quarter.
A second interception put an end to a potential scoring drive and ruined a half that was otherwise relatively efficient.
Luck finished the half 11-of-21 for 155 yards with a touchdown and the two picks.
Run Offense: The Colts were not especially efficient running the ball early in the first half, but it did not stop the team from returning to the ground game.
Donald Browns led the team in the half with 28 yards on 10 carries, while Trent Richardson added two yards on his only rushing attempt.
Pass Defense: New England did not test the Indianapolis pass defense with frequency, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was mostly efficient when the team did.
The Colts appeared to specifically have trouble against play action, which is a clear indication of just how much the defense respects New England’s ability to run the football.
Brady finished the half 7-of-11 for 101 yards with no touchdowns and no turnovers.
Run Defense: While the Colts were able to limit the Patriots to minimal gains on the ground early in the contest, they could not stop New England back LeGarrette Blount from reaching the end zone twice in the first quarter and three times in the first half.
Blount led the Patriots with 43 yards on 10 carries, while Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 37 yards on an another 10 rushes.
Special Teams: There was not a lot of special teams action from either team in the first half, but the Colts did benefit from a bad snap on a late New England punt that resulted in a safety.
Punter Pat McAfee averaged 39 yards per attempt, while kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on his lone field-goal attempt against his former team.
Coaching: Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton called a nice mix of run and pass plays during the first two quarters, even though production from the ground game was less than desirable early.
While the Patriots (ranked 30th in the regular season, allowing 134.1 rushing yards per game) responded relatively well, Hamilton’s strategy did help keep New England from selling out against Luck and the passing game.
Defensively, the Colts were able to have some success with pass pressure. However, the unit was unable to stall New England’s balanced attack.