Anatomy Of The Drives: Patriots Edition

Intro: The “Anatomy Of The Drives” series is back. Here’s a look at the three touchdown drives the Colts had in their 34-27 loss to the Patriots on Sunday night.

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INDIANAPOLIS

Donte Moncrief's five-yard touchdown catch from Andrew LuckThe scene: Tied at zero to start the game, the Colts offense began at their own 11-yard line following a 19-yard return from Griff Whalen.The anatomy of the drive: 13 plays for 89 yards, in 7:44.Key play: All things considered, the Colts were nearly flawless on their opening possession Sunday night. The drive included two third-and-short conversions but I'm going to point to the first play from scrimmage. Starting at their own 11-yard line wasn't ideal. Yet, the Colts moved out of the shadow of their own goal line rather quickly with Andre Johnson hauling in a 16-yard catch along the sideline.The score: The aggressive nature Chuck Pagano wanted on Sunday was indicative of this play call. On this fourth-and-one from the five-yard line, the Colts spread the Patriots out with Donte Moncrief isolated to the near side of the field. It was simply a one-on-one matchup between Moncrief and Patriots top cornerback Malcolm Butler. The fade pass from Luck was on point and the Colts second-year receiver made a terrific play at the moment of truth. The touchdown was the first the Colts had on an opening drive in 21 games.**

T.Y. Hilton's three-yard touchdown catch from Andrew LuckThe scene:Down 17-14 with 9:33 to go in the second quarter, the Colts took over at their own 20-yard line.The anatomy of the drive:12 plays for 80 yards in 6:55.Key play:The Colts second touchdown drive of the first half came in a nearly seven-minute series in the second quarter. Here, the Colts faced a third-and-five midway through the drive. On this play, we saw what having Andrew Luck back in the lineup gives the offense. Luck scrambled for eight yards, again showing the added dimension he brings when things bog down.The score: It was eventually a third-and-goal from the three-yard line for the Colts. The offense went with an empty backfield look with a bunch set to the right---Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Several innate factors led to this play working. First, credit the playmaking of Luck to keep this play alive and ultimately draw Patriots do-everything linebacker Jamie Collins away from the middle of the field. With Luck moving in the pocket, T.Y. Hilton spun away from the initial jam of Logan Ryan to make himself available to his quarterback for the diving touchdown.

Griff Whalen's 18-yard touchdown catch from Andrew LuckThe scene:Down 34-21 with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter, the Colts took over at their own 15-yard line.The anatomy of the drive:8 plays for 85 yards in 1:44.Key play:The Colts final touchdown drive of the night included a beautiful throw and catch from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton. On a first-and-10 from the Indianapolis 43-yard line, Hilton ran a deep crossing pattern with Luck fitting the ball in perfectly for a 27-yard connection near the Patriots sideline.The score:** Three players later, the Colts had a first-and-10 at the Patriots 18-yard line. The Colts had Griff Whalen in the slot against Patriots All-Pro cornerback/safety Devin McCourty. Whalen creates separation off a fake to the inside before heading down the seam. Luck scans across the left side of the field before seeing the window Whalen has created. A very impressive throw and catch between the former college teammates.

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