Final, Patriots 43-22: The Patriots are going back to the AFC Championship game for the third straight season.
Luck couldn’t manage a second straight incredible comeback.
Blount was the star of the game for the Patriots yet again. He finished with 24 carries for 166 yards and four touchdowns. He’s carrying this team right now.
Stay here on NESN.com for more on the win.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, Patriots 43-22: LeGarrette Blount carried the Patriots down to the 26-yard line. Then the Patriots elected to punt on fourth and 10. It was bizarre. Maybe kicking a field goal wasn’t worth a Tom Brady injury since the starter is holding right now.
Fourth quarter, 11:12, Patriots 43-22: The Patriots didn’t need to get far after Collins’ interception.
Brady got the Patriots near the goal line with a completion to Austin Collie. Stevan Ridley pounded it through for a 1-yard touchdown.
It would take an even-more-incredible comeback from Luck than the one last week against the Chiefs for the Colts to win this game.
Fourth quarter, 12:45, Patriots 36-22: The Colts only needed one play, too. Jamie Collins picked off Andrew Luck on a pass intended for Griff Whalen.
Collins has had an incredible game in place of Brandon Spikes. It has been the rookie’s best game by far this season.
Fourth quarter, 12:55, Patriots 36-22: The Patriots went one and out on that drive. The one play was a 73-yard run by LeGarrette Blount, though.
When Blount can find a seam, watch out. That dude can run.
That sets a new team record for touchdowns in a postseason game. The record was previously held by Curtis Martin.
Fourth quarter, 13:08, Patriots 29-22: The Colts can’t take the opportunity handed to them by the Patriots yet again. Indianapolis came away with just one first down on that drive. It ended with a Joe Vellano sack and some great coverage from Alfonzo Dennard.
The Patriots have the ball at their 27-yard line.
End third quarter, Patriots 29-22: Surprise, surprise, another three and out for the Patriots.
Kenbrell Thompkins got hurt on an incomplete pass from Brady. Then Ridley ripped off a 9-yard run, followed by a 0-yard gain from fullback James Develin.
The Colts have the ball at the 16 after an impressive punt from Gostkowski and a 4-yard run from Donald Brown.
Third quarter, 2:06, Patriots 29-22: That premonition was wrong. After a nice punt from Gostkowski, the Patriots forced a three and out.
Jamie Collins had his first career sack and Logan Ryan nearly came up with an interception. Some good play from the rookies.
Third quarter, 3:40, Patriots 29-22: It feels like this is about to be a tie game.
The Patriots went three and out, and the Colts have the ball at the 30-yard line. New England might need to get more creative on offense to get guys like Edelman and Amendola open.
Third quarter, 5:01, Patriots 29-22: This Luck guy is pretty much never out of a game.
Luck went 81 yards down the field on two throws. His first put Hilton over 100 yards. Hilton burned Steve Gregory. His second went for seven on a throw to LaVon Brazill. Brazill beat Alfonzo Dennard and Devin McCourty.
The Colts are right back in this game. The Patriots have to respond on this drive or else this is about to be a tie game.
Third quarter, 6:18, Patriots 29-15: Blount let Ridley have a turn — twice.
Ridley scored on a 3-yard run, then took in the two-point conversion.
The biggest play of the drive was a 53-yard bomb from Brady to Amendola. Amendola tried to cut back for the touchdown, but got tackled past midfield.
The second-biggest play was a pass interference call on Colts cornerback Josh Gordy. Edelman really sold the push, falling down well after the ball had hit the turf behind him.
Third quarter, 10:03, Patriots 21-15: The Colts are slowly but surely getting back into this game. They’re now down just one score.
T.Y. Hilton made a fantastic diving, over-the-shoulder catch over Talib. The 40-yard reception was his third of the game. He had three catches for 57 yards on four targets.
The final play of the drive was a Luck target to Fleener. Jamie Collins covered Fleener well, but might have got away with a push.
Third quarter, 13:42, Patriots 21-12: The Patriots came out of the half with some uninspiring play. They went three and out and Gostkowski’s second punt was not nearly as good as his first.
The Colts have a chance to get back into this game.
End half, Patriots 21-12: With Ryan Allen out, Gostkowski had to punt. He hit it 53 yards with 4.77-second hangtime, per Greg Bedard of MMQB. That’s a fantastic punt.
The Patriots didn’t try to do the score at the end of the half, score at the start of the second half trick. They ran twice and Shane Vereen dropped a deep pass from Brady.
Holding a nine-point lead here is very respectable, however. The Patriots will surely take it.
Allen is questionable to return with a shoulder injury.
Second quarter, 1:14, Patriots 21-12: The Patriots get the ball back in a hurry. Dont’a Hightower made a great play on a pass intended for fullback Stanley Havili, intercepting Andrew Luck.
Hightower’s been a force in the pass and run game so far. He’s really stepped up with Brandon Spikes out.
New England has the ball at their own 36-yard line.
Ryan Allen got hurt on the safety on the previous drive. It looked like his shoulder was getting checked on; he went to the locker room. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was taking practice long snaps from Danny Aiken.
Second quarter, 2:18, Patriots 21-12: That was a wild end of the series for the Patriots.
The Colts stopped Blount on third and 2, then the Patriots faked like they were going for it and ran the punt team on the field. They got flagged for delay of game.
Then Danny Aiken’s snap flew over punter Ryan Allen’s head. Instead of kicking the ball out of the end zone like Allen should have, giving the Colts a safety, the punter picked up the ball and tried to throw it. It wound up falling out of his hand and going for a safety anyway.
Had it been an incomplete pass, the Colts would have had a better shot for a touchdown with better field position.
Second quarter, 5:40, Patriots 21-10: The Patriots gave up chunks of yardage to Coby Fleener and Griff Whalen, but some nice plays by Dont’a Hightower — in both coverage and run defense — and Steve Gregory — defending a pass intended for Hilton — forced a field goal as Indianapolis neared the red zone.
Adam Vinatieri’s field goal was good from 36 yards out.
Second quarter, 10:54, Patriots 21-7: OK, we’re starting to sense a pattern here. LeGarrette Blount just got his third touchdown from 2 yards out.
Julian Edelman had three catches for 67 yards already. Brady is 6-of-9 for 97 yards.
New England’s running backs have just 3.1 yards per carry, but they’re picking up first downs, which is all that matters — oh, and touchdowns.
End first quarter, Patriots 14-7: The Patriots started out their fourth offensive drive with four straight runs.
Stevan Ridley is wearing all red shoes, so he might get fined.
First quarter, 2:32, Patriots 14-7: Patriots go three and out; Colts go three and out.
Devin McCourty and Jami Collins both made impressive plays in coverage. McCourty on wideout Da’Rick Rogers and Collins on tight end Coby Fleener.
Running back Trent Richardson also ran for 2 yards. Which is just what Trent does.
First quarter, 3:16, Patriots 14-7: The Patriots couldn’t get anywhere on that drive.
They went 3 and out and had to punt. A perfect 55-yard punt from Ryan Allen and great coverage from Matthew Slater resulted in a 0-yard return for Griff Whalen.
The Colts have the ball at the 27-yard line.
First quarter, 4:35, Patriots 14-7: Uh oh. The Colts are back in it.
Kyle Arrington let up a 22-yard reception to Griff Whalen. On the next play, Dennard gave up a 38-yard touchdown to Brazill.
Jamie Collins showed some nice pass rush, hitting Luck on an incompletion.
First quarter, 7:17, Patriots 14-0: “Thiiiiis iiiiiiss ouuuur house.” When Bon Jovi plays, that means the Patriots just scored.
LeGarrette Blount took it in again from 2 yards out.
Brady completed passes to Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen on that drive. He went 4-for-4 for 57 yards. Blount ran seven times for 19 yards.
The Patriots showed some new wrinkles. Edelman lined up in the backfield and New England ran a two-back set with Vereen and Brandon Bolden.
First quarter, 12:20, Patriots 7-0: Luck didn’t throw an interception on that drive, but the Colts did go three and out.
Aqib Talib allowed a 1-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton. The Patriots have the ball on the 26-yard line.
First quarter, 13:41, Patriots 7-0: Alfonzo Dennard came two yards short of a pick six. It all worked out for the Patriots, however. LeGarrette Blount took in the two-yard touchdown on the next snap.
Aqib Talib was shadowing Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton on the drive. Andrew Luck’s first pass went to tight end Jack Doyle. Their next offensive play was a run by Donald Brown. Dennard’s interception came on a pass to LaVon Brazill.
Dennard started opposite Talib. Dont’a Hightower started out at middle linebacker before sliding over to the weak side.
First quarter, 15:00: The Colts won the toss and chose to receive. We’re about to get started.
8:12 p.m.: The Patriots just held a moment of silence for Sam Berns, who passed away last night.
7:50 p.m.: This might only interest me, but most of the starting secondary is wearing the same red and white Nikes. Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib are all wearing matching shoes. It appears Kyle Arrington and Steve Gregory are wearing the black and white versions.
7:33 p.m.: Tom Brady just took the field to his theme song, Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement”.
The rain picked up as Brady took the field. Now it’s lightened up a little bit.
If there’s good news for Patriots fans at this game, it’s that it’s still pretty warm outside. It’s currently a very mild 57 degrees outside. And wet. Very, very wet.
7:14 p.m.: We’re fluctuating between it raining hard and raining really, really hard here in Foxboro. The forecast shows that it might actually stop raining at some point during the game, however.
It was reported by ESPN that Brandon Spikes was placed on injured reserve because he was late to a team meeting last Friday when New England had a snow storm. You would have to think he’s played his last game as a Patriot, though that was entirely possible even if he had showed up on time for the meeting.
6:52 p.m.: The inactives are in. Guard Chris Barker, linebacker Steve Beauharnais, defensive end Jake Bequette, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, cornerback Justin Green, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and tight end D.J. Williams are inactive for the Patriots.
That means that wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard are active for New England.
Wide receiver Deion Branch is inactive for the Colts.
6:42 p.m.: NFL.com did a great feature on Julian Edelman. The Patriots wide receiver said he was contemplating becoming a firefighter after his senior season at Kent State and that he moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Tom Brady during the offseason. Edelman also explains why he left Brady hanging for a high five on the sidelines.
6:30 p.m.: It’s still rainy here in Foxboro, though not quite as bad as it was earlier. It does not look to be letting up.
Tom Brady is out on the field throwing with Ryan Mallett and Danny Amendola. It’s unusual for Brady to be on the field this early.
Matthew Mulligan, Tavon Wilson and James Develin are also on the field with many Colts players.
5:20 p.m.: It’s rainy and windy here in Foxboro. The tarp is just starting to come off the field.
The Patriots will be playing with a heavy heart tonight. Sam Berns passed away last night. Berns was a 17-year-old Foxboro resident who was a big inspiration to the team and owner Robert Kraft. He succumbed to progeria, a rapid aging disease.
Read Kraft’s emotional statement on Berns’ passing here.
Berns had been invited to be an honorary captain for tonight’s game. He will surely be in the players’ minds as they face the Colts.
8 a.m. ET: The weather will be working in the New England Patriots’ favor on Saturday night.
It’s supposed to be around 50 degrees and rainy with winds up to 23 MPH in Foxboro, Mass., during game time. The Patriots played in cold and rainy conditions during their Week 17 win over the Buffalo Bills; the Indianapolis Colts play their home games indoors — advantage: Patriots.
It would be difficult for New England running back LeGarrette Blount to replicate his 2013 season finale against Indianapolis, but the conditions will be similar. Blount ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries against the Bills. He also returned two kicks for 144 yards. It was Blount’s best game as a Patriot, but he began to run much harder during the final five games of the season.
New England will need Blount and fellow running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen at their best against the Colts, who don’t have the greatest run defense. Indianpolis might need to depend on running backs Donald Brown and Trent Richardson, which is not ideal. Richardson has really struggled since coming over from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a first-round pick.
Richardson ran for just 2.9 yards per carry as a Colt. He had 458 yards on 157 carries, so he got plenty of chances. He also had 265 yards on 28 catches with four total touchdowns. Richardson had just one carry over 20 yards all season.
Indianapolis would like to depend on quarterback Andrew Luck, but it might not be able to if the conditions are too poor. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is used to throwing in the cold rain, and even he struggled against Buffalo.
Stay here on NESN.com and follow me on Twitter @DougKyedNESN for all the latest updates leading up to the game, which kicks off at 8:15 p.m.
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