INDIANAPOLIS –In stunning fashion, New England scored twice in the second half on Tom Brady's touchdown passes and the Patriots defense held off the Colts to capture a 34-27 victory Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts led by a 21-20 count at the break after a back-and-forth opening half. But Brady located one of his favorites, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and went to him for a couple of big catches on the opening drive of the third quarter. Gronkowski grabbed a 25-yarder for a score to send New England up by six.
Brady threw another TD pass early in the fourth quarter, this one for 11 yards to LeGarrette Blount.
Brady finished with 312 passing yards and threw for three scores with an interception. Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 312 yards with three touchdowns.
The Colts scored late to pull within seven points, but their onside kick was recovered by New England in the final 1:19.
THE TURNING POINT: Late in the third quarter, Indy attempted a trick formation in a punting situation at its own 37-yard line. Two players lined up at the ball, the other nine were near the right sideline. The scheme failed, New England took over with a short field, and Brady and Blount connected for the score that extended the visitors' lead to 13 points. The Colts' offense, playing catchup, struggled to get untracked until Luck passed for an 18-yard touchdown to Griff Whalen with 1:19 left in the game.
THE HEAD COACH'S QUOTE: "The punt play, I take responsibility," Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said. "The whole idea there was to shift to an alignment where you either catch them misaligned, they try to sub some people in, (or you) catch them with 12 men on the field. And if you get a certain look, you have three yards, two yards to make a play. Again, we shifted over and I didn't do a good enough job coaching it during the week. We weren't lined up correctly and then (there was) a communication breakdown between the quarterback and the snapper."
THE SIGNIFICANT PLAYERS: Frank Gore rushed 13 times for 78 yards for the Colts, providing the impetus for 21 first-half points. T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief each had six receptions for Indy. Colts safety Mike Adams provided the Colts with a defensive touchdown, grabbing a bobbled pass from New England's Julian Edelman and returning it 14 yards. Adams later left the game with an injured hamstring and didn't play in the second half. Luck, who missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, didn't throw an interception for the first time in four 2015 starts.
THE UNSUNG HEROES: Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson led the Colts with 13 tackles. Safety Dwight Lowery and linebacker Jonathan Newsome each recorded a quarterback sack against Brady.
THE SCORING RECAP
FIRST QUARTER (7:16 remaining)
The Colts jumped on the scoreboard first with a 5-yard touchdown pass, Andrew Luck to Donte Moncrief. Moncrief made a nifty catch on the play, tumbling backward while managing to keep his feet in the end zone. Luck engineered a 13-play, 89-yard march for the score. The Colts quarterback hit 8-of-9 passes for 62 yards. Frank Gore chipped in with a 23-yard run. Adam Vinatieri added the extra point. ** Colts 7, Patriots 0.
FIRST QUARTER (2:50 remaining)
New England quarterback Tom Brady led his team right back to a tie. Brady hit 6-of-8 passes for 69 yards to power a 10-play, 84-yard touchdown drive. The score went from Brady to Julian Edelman on a 12-yard pass over the middle. Stephen Gostkowski made the extra point. Colts 7, Patriots 7.
SECOND QUARTER (13:48 remaining)
The Patriots staged another long drive, this one going 10 plays and 69 yards, culminating in a Gostkowski field goal from 40 yards. The big play was a 39-yard completion from Brady to Keshawn Martin. Patriots 10, Colts 7.
SECOND QUARTER (11:30 remaining)
Safety Mike Adams produced a huge defensive play to send the Colts into the lead. On second down from New England's 10-yard line, Brady fired a pass to Edelman, who bobbled it and lost it. Adams grabbed it from the air and ran 14 yards down the sideline for the touchdown. It was Brady's first thrown interception of the year. Vinatieri added the extra point. ** Colts 14, Patriots 10.
SECOND QUARTER (9:33 remaining)
After the Colts attempted an onside kick that the Patriots recovered at their 35, New England took advantage of its short field. The visitors maneuvered into Colts territory, and then Brady handed to LeGarrette Blount, who busted off the right side for a 38-yard touchdown. Gostkowski kicked the extra point.Patriots 17, Colts 14.
SECOND QUARTER (2:38 remaining)
Luck heated up once again, hitting 7-of-8 passes for 48 yards, including a 3-yarder to T.Y. Hilton for a touchdown. On the TD, Luck moved around in the pocket to avoid a heavy rush, creating just enough time to locate Hilton. Gore added another nice run, going 18 yards on a carry early in the 12-play march. Vinatieri made the extra point.Colts 21, Patriots 17.
SECOND QUARTER (2 seconds remaining)
Brady's 35-yard pass to Danny Amendola and another for 19 yards to Amendola helped to set up a field goal that brought the Patriots within one point of Indy in the final seconds of the half. Gostkowski connected on the 35-yard field goal.** Colts 21, Patriots 20.
Photos from the Sunday Night Football game against the New England Patriots
THIRD QUARTER (10:56 remaining)
After being held without a catch in the first half, New England's Rob Gronkowski shook himself loose for a couple of big receptions on New England's first drive of the second half. The first went for 10 yards on third-and-6. Two plays later, Gronkowski caught a 25-yard pass from Brady for a touchdown. Gostkowski booted the extra point. Patriots 27, Colts 21.
FOURTH QUARTER (12:48 remaining)
New England took over possession at the Colts' 35-yard line after Indy tried a trick formation in a punting situation. Wide receiver Griff Whalen was the snapper and Colt Anderson set up behind him to take the ball. The other nine Colts lined up near the right sideline. Whalen snapped the ball, but Anderson was immediately tackled. The Colts were flagged for an illegal formation, but New England quickly declined the penalty. Six plays later, Brady connected with Blount on an 11-yard touchdown pass. Gostkowski made the extra point. Patriots 34, Colts 21.
FOURTH QUARTER (1:19 remaining)
Luck completed 5-of-7 passes for 82 yards and the Colts marched 85 yards for a late TD. The scoring pass was an 18-yarder to Whalen. Vinatieri's extra point was blocked.** Patriots 34, Colts 27.