All year long the Patriots had to hear about how bad their defense was.
Sunday, the defense finally earned their keep.
With two interceptions for scores, the Patriots tied a franchise record for points, putting up a total of 59 as they slammed rookie Andrew Luck and the Colts 59-24.
Luck was taken to the woodshed, throwing three picks, while watching Tom Brady go 24 of 35 passing for 331 yards and no interceptions with three scores.
Aqib Talib put the Pats up for good at 21-14 with one pick for a score, and Alfonzo Dennard took back another pick 87 yards to put salt in the wound at 45-17.
”The coaches want us to play aggressive,” said Dennard, whose touchdown made it 45-17. ”So that’s what I was doing out there.”
The Patriots, the NFL’s highest-scoring team, scored a ton, while the Colts stayed competitive for a half, but couldn’t keep up as New England scored 35 second half points for the blowout win.
There was some bad news, as TE Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm in the win, and could be out four to six weeks from early reports.
Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes Sunday, giving him seven touchdown receptions in his last four games and 10 for the season.
He finished the game with seven catches for 137 yards.
“We knew we couldn’t come here and turn the football over and have a chance to win,” Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. “We’ve got a lot of rookies out there so every week is a learning experience. It was a bad learning experience.”
The Patriots (7-3) won their fourth straight game and extended their lead in the AFC East to three games over the other three teams. The Colts had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL’s best offense and one of its worst defenses.
The Patriots also scored on a 68-yard punt return by Julian Edelman three plays before Talib gave the Patriots the lead at 21-14.
“I don’t think guys panicked” after that one-two punch, Luck said. “Playing hard is not enough, as evidenced tonight.”
The Patriots (7-3) won their fourth straight game and extended their lead in the AFC East to three games over the other three teams. The Colts (6-4) had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL’s best offense and one of its worst defenses.
Now New England must hurry to prepare for its Thanksgiving night meeting with the Jets (4-6). New York ended a three-game slide with a 27-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.
”I don’t think we’re anywhere (near) where we need to be at this point,” Brady said.
Sunday though, they looked pretty darn good.