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Angry Brady, Patriots Punch Colts in the Face…and Other Places

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterNovember 17, 2014

AJ Mast/AP Images

The game was initially horrible, almost unwatchable. Then it became something else. It became a statement, almost a referendum.

Andrew Luck has beaten Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Eli Manning. Now, here was Tom Brady. And after Brady threw two first-half picks, it looked like Luck was going to kick his ass, too.

Then something happened. Brady and the New England Patriots got mad. Really mad.

I've seen that look on Brady's face before. For all the jokes Brady gets about his hair and his looks and his model boo, he has always been a nasty competitor. That look. You could see Brady, as he walked off the field at halftime barely ahead 14-10, looking like he wanted to punch himself in the face. Other Patriots looked disgusted as well.

Mad Tom means bad Tom—as in badass Tom. No, Brady didn't win the game single-handedly, but his anger was one of the triggers for an entire Patriots team that was infuriated with itself in the first half. In that opening half, Brady was 10-of-19 for 84 yards and two interceptions. In the second, he was 9-of-11 for 173 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Nov 16, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray (35) celebrates a first half score against the Indianapolis Colts  at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The anger and disgust with that first half ran thick throughout the Patriots' bloodstream and translated into a blowout 42-20 Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts in Indy.

There was anger in the trenches as the Patriots would shut down the Colts' run game (19 yards off 17 carries), especially in the second half. There was also anger in the New England running game itself. Running back Jonas Gray had four touchdowns and he actually punched a Colts defender in the 'nads as he crossed the goal line on one of them.

Then there was Rob Gronkowski. Angry over the yammering done by Colts safety Sergio Brown all game—cameras actually caught Gronkowski complaining about it—the Gronk man blocked Brown from the field, to the sideline, beyond the sideline and into a stand holding a camera. It was brutal. It was beautiful. It was emblematic of the Patriots' second-half mood.

NBC Sports Boston @NBCSBoston

Gronk on Sergio Brown: 'I took him and threw him out of the club' #PatriotsTalk @PhilAPerry http://t.co/tPf4ylZcLK http://t.co/3qle5YUsXA

What Gray did to the Colts defense is the kind of thing that causes defensive players and coaches to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. He embarrassed that unit with 38 carries for 199 yards and four scores. He ran through dudes and around dudes and punched dudes in their private parts.

Remember, it was only Oct. 16 when Gray was called up from the practice squad. Until Sunday night, he had 131 career rushing yards and zero touchdowns. This is what the Patriots do. Body in, body out.

When the Patriots get like this—purposeful, nasty, with a chip on their shoulder—they are almost impossible to beat.

The Arizona Cardinals might be the best team in football, and while the Kansas City Chiefs pounded the Patriots earlier this year, this is not the same New England group. To me, after they did this to the Colts on their own turf and made Andrew Luck look like Andrew Tebow, the Patriots are back to being the best in football. With all due respect to Arizona.

The Patriots will never admit this, but I believe the people declaring just a short time ago that their empire crumbled angered them on a molecular level. They are still mad, bro. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 16: Quarterback  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (P
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As for Luck, this had to be somewhat unnerving.

"Thankful this isn't the last game of the season," he told reporters in the postgame news conference. "We would be truly sick to our stomachs."

As good as Luck is, as much promise as he possesses, Brady isn't ready to hand over the reins just yet. Brady, in fact, has destroyed Luck each time they've met. The two have faced off three times and Brady has won by 35, 21 and 22.

Yes, watch out for the Patriots. They're back.

And they will punch you in the mouth. 

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

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