It was “Gray day” for the Patriots in Indianapolis Sunday night, but the results were far from gloomy for the surging visitors. Undrafted running back Jonas Gray had rushed just 32 times in 2014 prior to Sunday, but he carried the ball a whopping 38 times for 199 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts, leading the Pats to a decisive 42-20 victory over Indy (6-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It was the Patriots’ sixth straight victory and it moved them to an AFC-best 8-2 on the season. The Pats host the 7-3 Lions this coming Sunday (1 p.m., FOX).
The Pats gave it to Gray early and often and the Notre Dame product rewarded the coaching staff for that decision immediately. Gray scored the first two Patriots touchdowns of the night, the first a four-yard rush with 8:37 left in the first quarter and the second, a two-yard plunge with 3:50 left in the second quarter.
Rob Gronkowski punished the Colts on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter as he blocked Indy safety Sergio Brown into an NBC broadcast camera on Gray’s fourth touchdown run of the night and then rumbled for a 26-yard touchdown reception with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter. The tight end’s score put the Pats up for good, 42-20. Gronkowski finished the night with four catches for 71 yards.
Despite some initial success, the Colts’ air attack could never truly get going and cornerback Darrelle Revis had, arguably, his best game as a Patriot. Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton combined for just eight grabs.
Both Andrew Luck and Tom Brady struggled in the first half as Luck was picked off by Devin McCourty off a tip by Revis, and Brady was picked off twice. Brady’s second interception of the first half was particularly un-Brady-like as, on third down, he flipped a pass in the direction of Gronkowski without looking, and Mike Adams had an easy INT. Luck took advantage of Brady’s miscue three plays later as he found Hakeem Nicks in the corner of the end zone to make it 14-10, New England, with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
But the Colts could never solve Gray. Gray found the end zone for the third time with 3:30 left in the third and another 2-yard scoring run put the Pats up, 28-13. A key run by the back on third down earlier in the third quarter also directly to a touchdown as Tim Wright did the scoring honors by hauling in a two-yard, play-action pass from Brady.
Indy was on the ropes late in the third as it was down, 28-13. But a brilliant 11-play, 80-yard drive by the Colts that was capped by an Anthony Castonzo touchdown reception, made it certain that the fourth quarter was going to be competitive, at the least.