Mann-handled: Pats hold off Peyton, Colts
The Patriots had seen this scenario play out before. Peyton Manning, trailing by three, with the ball late in the game. Only this time, the Patriots’ defense made a stand.
Patriots 31, Colts 28
What went right ...
1 Sealed with a pick — The Patriots had seen this scenario play out before. Peyton Manning, trailing by three, with the ball late in the game. Only this time, the Patriots’ defense made a stand. The Colts’ All-Pro quarterback rallied his team for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and was driving deep in New England territory with less than a minute left. Manning was looking for Pierre Garcon on a first-and-10 from the 24, but his pass sailed and was picked by James Sanders to clinch a win for the Pats, who kept pace with the Jets in the AFC East.
2 Third time’s a charm — The Patriots converted on more third down attempts against the Colts than they did against the Steelers and Browns combined. One of their seven conversions came from the Indy 8-yard line early in the second quarter. Tom Brady, who threw for completed 19 of 25 passes for 186 yards, hit rookie Aaron Hernandez for a 14-0 lead.
3 Woody — Once again, the smallest man on the field came through with the biggest play. With the Pats holding on to a 21-14 lead, Danny Woodhead sprinted for a 36-yard TD run. The sparkplug finished with 90 total yards.
What went wrong ...
1 Too many chances – While the Pats were very successful on third down, the Colts were even better. On too many third-down occasions, 10 out of 13 to be exact, the Colt marched forward. In fact, when the Pats scored on third-and-goal, the Colts answered on their next drive with a third-and-goal TD of their own.
2 Making it a game – Up 31-14 in the fourth, the Patriots’ defense completely relaxed. Petyon Manning carved them up for two touchdowns to Blair White and had the Colts in perfect position to send it to overtime.