The New England Patriots made a number of costly mistakes, mostly in the first half, and that was enough to come up short in a 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. Penalties (eight for 50 yards), giveaways (two of them), and too-little-too-late offense combined to make this one of the Pats’ worst efforts of the year.
And yet, they were still within three points with two minutes left. Until Jonathan Taylor’s 67-yard touchdown run put the game away. The Colts let the Pats back in the game, but ultimately were the better team tonight. They executed better and were much cleaner and more disciplined, so it’s a much-deserved victory for them. Indy moves to 8-6, while the Patriots are now in danger of dropping as far as to the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
Scroll down for a recap of the game’s top highlights.
Finally, Jonathan Taylor breaks one, and at the most opportune time. Taylor got a clean line of blockers in front of him, and he’s too quick for Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower at the second level, so he bursts untouched for 67 yards to the end zone. It’s now 27-17 Colts. Time to talk about not an epic Patriots comeback, but what went wrong with the special teams mistakes and interceptions.
Another touchdown for Hunter Henry, and it’s now 20-17 Colts. Can the Patriots get one more stop and give Jones and/or Nick Folk a chance to tie it?
A fourth-quarter momentum shift for the Patriots? Jamie Collins tips it and Devin McCourty comes down with the interception. Potentially a massive play for the Pats and a huge opportunity for the Patriots to make it a one-score game.
Mac Jones hits Hunter Henry in the end zone and it’s now 20-7 Colts.
Start of a comeback, or pity points? We shall see. But the Colts haven’t scored offensively since their second drive of the game in the first quarter. The Pats defense has allowed the team to hang around. We’ll see if Mac Jones has another couple of good drives in him.
Facing third-and-1, Mac Jones attempted a throw to the right sideline, and it resulted in another interception, this time for Bobby Okereke, a.k.a. the guy who ran his mouth during the week. So, it’s that kind of night for the Pats so far.
On the ensuing possession, a Matthew Judon sack forced a fourth-and-18, and Michael Badgley’s field goal attempt was no good. Problem is, the Colts got a do-over because the Patriots jumped offside. So the second attempt was good, and it’s now 20-0 Colts.
Q2, 1:43: Jones Throws Red Zone Interception
Tip for Mac Jones: try not to throw the ball in the direction of Darius Leonard. The dynamic linebacker picked Jones off on a pass attempt over the middle, adding to the Colts’ league-leading takeaway total. The Patriots had momentum and a chance for points before the end of the half, but it looks like the Colts just extinguished that possibility.
Leonard simply sat in his area of the field and Jones’ pass attempt went directly over the linebacker’s head, making for a relatively easy pick.
The Patriots’ first drive after the blocked punt touchdown didn’t go much better. Three-and-out, but at least the punt was executed properly this time. Darius Leonard penetrated to make a tackle for loss on Rhamondre Stevenson on third down.
Plenty of time left in this game, but the Colts are in command early.
The Patriots were forced to punt. Unfortunately, the ball never got in the air, as the punt was blocked and easily recovered for a touchdown. It’s now 14-0 Colts.
Plenty of football left, but certainly an excellent start for the Colts and a not-so-hot start for the Patriots.
Damien Harris Among Patriots’ Inactives
Defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe recently returned after spending most of the season on the reserve/non-football injury list, but the fact that he’s right back in the mix on the roster is a good sign for the rookie out of Missouri.
As for the Colts, starting center Ryan Kelly is a key absence. Here are the full inactives for both teams: