Indianapolis Colts At
New England Patriots
at Gillette Stadium
Start Time: 8:20 PM EST
Game Day Weather
Clear and cold
Played Outdoor on Turf: Grass
Referee: Ron Winter (14)
Line Judge: Tom Stephan (68)
Field Judge: Bill Lovett (98) Umpire: Roy Ellison (81)
Side Judge: John Parry (132)
Replay Official: Ken Baker
Head Linesman: Tom Stabile (24)
Back Judge: Jim Howey (37)
Video Operator: Jim Grant
It used to be Indianapolis made
the mistakes and couldn't handle New England's pressure. Now, it's
the Patriots' Tom Brady throwing more interceptions than the Colts'
Peyton Manning, and the Colts departing Gillette Stadium on Sunday
with a 27-20 victory to improve to 8-0.
Indianapolis entered the
game with the only perfect record after Chicago lost to Miami 31-17
The Colts became the only team to
start consecutive seasons at 8-0 since the Green Bay Packers did it
three straight years from 1929-31. And for the first time in his
brilliant career, Manning has thrown for 300 yards in three
It's the second November in a row
that the Colts have staked a claim as the AFC's team to beat. On
November 7 2006, they won here in Gillette Stadium, 40-21 to stay
unbeaten. They eventually secured the No. 1 playoff seed.
The Colts had plenty of help from
a defense that had been far from perfect all season. With four
interceptions. The Colts began the day tied for 21st in points
allowed. But the first sign the defense would be a positive factor
came when Antoine Bethea ended the Patriots' first drive with an
interception in the end zone.
Indianapolis Colts defensive
back Antoine Bethea (41) intercepts a pass by New England Patriots
quarterback Tom Brady during the first quarter of their football game
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in Foxborough, Mass. At rear is Indianapolis
Colts defensive back Jason David. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Colts, Wide Reciever Marvin
Harrison burned the Patriots with eight receptions for 145 yards and
Bob Sanders returned to the
Indianapolis Colts' defense Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
The team's Pro Bowl safety was
credited with a team-high 11 tackles, several in his usual
authoritative style, and produced one of the Colts' season-high four
interceptions of New England quarterback Tom Brady in a 27-20 victory.
The rest of the defense seemed to
feed off Sanders' intensity. It finished with five takeaways - the
four interceptions and a fumble recovery by tackle Raheem Brock.
Sanders had practiced only once
all week, and at 6:48 p.m., Dungy still had no word. The coach had to
turn in his list of eight inactive players at 6:50 and he expected
Sanders to be on it, but Sanders wanted to play, insisted he could
play. The decision was made. Sanders played the entire game.
"The defense is really
designed with him in mind," Dungy said. "We have a
lot of defenses where he's the free hitter and that free hitter has
to make the tackles, and when he's making them, they're 3- and 4-yard
gains instead of 6- and 7-yard gains. That changes the whole
complexion of the defense, but more than anything, I think, is the
energy he brings us and the confidence.
"He lifts everybody's play."
Sanders had missed the previous
five games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in September.
It looked like this one might turn
into the shootout when both teams quickly racked up two touchdowns
each in the first half. But as the game progressed, turnovers,
penalties and three missed field goals -- one by Stephen Gostkowski
and two, yes, two, by Adam Vinatieri -- kept both teams from
establishing any type of momentum.
A steady Manning kept the crowd
quiet for most of the game and threw for 326 yards and two
touchdowns. The Colts, who began the game with five interceptions in
seven games, intercepted Tom Brady four times. They allowed no
touchdown passes, only two scoring runs by Corey Dillon and two field
goals by rookie Stephen Gostkowski.
ON WITH THE SHOW
New England won the toss and
elected to receive, and Colts elected to defend the South goal. Adam
Vinatieri kicked it off 68 yards to New England's 2 as running back,
Kevin Faulk returned it 17 yards before he was dropped by Marlin
Jackson and Tyjuan Hagler. Patriots start off at their 19 yard line.
Patriots first two plays went
nowhere as runningback, Corey Dillion was hit for a loss of 2 and
Brady threw incomplete on the second play. A penalty was called on
the play as Reche Caldwell was called for Offensive Pass Interference
for a loss of 9 yards and No Play. Then the Patriots found their
rhythm as Brady was leading them down the field. Dillion ran for 10,
a 15 yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson gave them the First Down.
Brady then threw a 9 yard pass to wide receiver, Chad Jackson.
Laurence Maroney ran for 12 yards to only bring it back as NE Guard,
Billy Yates was called for a False Start. Brady used Maroney again to
run the ball 6 yards and Dillion ran it twice for gains of 7 and 4
yards. The Patriots appeared as if they were headed to put points up
on their first drive, except Brady, on an ill-advised deep pass to
Gabriel was picked off as Colts rookie safety Antoine Bethea just
drifted over and caught it in the end zone and ran it back for 38
yards to the Colts 32.
This drive looked in jeopardy when
Peyton threw incomplete to Marvin on the first play and incomplete to
Reggie on the second. To top their mishaps, my buddy Tarik Glenn was
called for what? Yes, False Start! C'mon Tarik, your killing me! All
is good as Peyton and Marvin made up for the losses when The Colts
were faced with a third and fifteen as Manning scrambled to his left
and chucked the ball long and into the middle of the field. Marvin
Harrison and Dallas Clark were both in the area, as Harrison brought
it down for a 44 yard completion putting them on the Patriots 29 yard
Photo: Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Patriots, Rodney Harrison was hurt (arm)
on the play and did not return. Next play, Utecht mimicked Tarik as
he was called for a False Start. No biggie, Colts are still fired up
as Dominic Rhodes runs it to the right for a gain of 7 before finding
Marvin again for 9 yards. Addai made two runs of 4 and 1 yards while
Peyton and Marvin connected again for 8 yards and the second one in
the end zone from five yards out for a 7-0
lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
Colts wide receiver Marvin
Harrison (88) catches a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in front
of the Patriots Ellis Hobbs (right) in the first quarter.
The touchdown was No. 114 in
Harrison's career as he became the Colts all-time leader, passing
Patriots start off at their 32
after Vinatieri kicks off for 67 yards.
First and Ten and Brady hits T.
Brown for 6 yards and is immediately penalized with a taunting call, (Honestly,
it seemed like a bogus call. After falling out of bounds with the
ball, he flipped the it back in the direction of the sideline judge.
Apparently, the judge thought Brown was tossing it in the direction
of the Colts Rocky Boman and threw his flag.) 15 yards enforced.
If it's any consolation, it was his 534th reception tieing Stanley
Morgan for a Patriot career record. Brady continued to pass the ball
as he threw all over the field to anyone that was open as he hit
Maoney for 1, 4 and 2 yards, threw deep and connected with Gabriel
for 39, Dillon for 9 and completed two passes to K. Faulk foe a gain
of 5 and another for 14 yards to end the first quarter on The Colts 5
continued . . .
Patriots continue their dive in
this second quarter as Dillon runs up the middle for 4 yards, one
yard short of a touchdown as Dillon runs it in for a touchdown on the
next play, extra point is good making it a tied ball game 7
Patriots, Gostkowski kicks it off
for 69 yards as Terrance Wilkins runs it back for 17 yards to their
18 yard line.
Peyton, Reggie Wayne, Joseph
Addai and Dallas Clark took no time as they marched down the
field for 82 yards in a little over 4 minutes as Peyton hit Reggie
Wayne, feasting on Patriots coverage for gains of 18, 16 and 33
yards. A 7 yarder from Dallas Clark and a 7 yard run by Addai and
another for 2 that took him into the endzone to make it a 14
- 7 lead.
Patriots used a lot of running
plays on this drive as they marched down the field for 66 yards in a
little under 6 minutes to end up with Corey Dillon running it in from
4 yards out and again tieing the ball game at 14
New England's coverage team didn't
do any favors by allowing a 70-yard return to Terrence Wilkins on the
Colts wide receiver Terrence
Wilkins (10) makes a long kickoff return in the second quarter.
That gave the Colts first
and 10 at the Patriots 29. A pass interference call on Chad Scott
moved the ball to the 9-yard line. After Addai was stopped for a
1-yard loss, Junior Seau broke into the backfield for a 9-yard sack
of Manning. That set up a third and goal from the 17 but Asante
Samuel was called for an illegal contact to change the scenario to
first and 10 from the 12. Manning hooked up with Wayne for 7 yards as
the two-minute warning with Indy second and 3 from the 5.
Manning looked to Wayne twice more
but came up empty.
With a slight wind blowing in his
face and puffing out the banners commemorating New England's three
titles and his once adoring fans booing in the stands,
Vinatieri put his new team ahead as he was good on a 23-yard field
goal to make the score 17-14 with
The Patriots had one last shot
before the half as Brady was leading the Patriots back down the field.
At around the minute mark, Brady
was faced with a fourth and 1 that his sideline decided to try for.
He ran a keeper and was lost in the pile-up in the middle of the
field with the refs giving him the spot and the first down. The Colts
challenged but the ruling on the field stood.
New England's final possession
before intermission ended with Brady's second interception of the
game as his pass deep over the middle was picked off by Bob Sanders
at the Colts' 3-yard-line.
Indianapolis Colts safety Bob
Sanders (21) intercepts a pass from New England Patriots quarterback
Tom Brady during the second quarter of their football game Sunday,
Nov. 5, 2006 in in Foxborough, Mass. At left are Indianapolis Colts
linebacker Gary Brackett and New England Patriots tight end Benjamin
Watson. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
With 16 seconds left in the half,
Peyton Manning takes a knee to end the first half with Colts ahead 17
New England Patriots
quarterback Tom Brady reacts during the second quarter of their
football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in
Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Patriot's kickoff as Terrance
Wilkins returns it for 31 yards and Colts start the second half at
their 31 yard line.
Manning opened the second half
with a 36 yard completion to Harrison down to the Patriots 33. The
Colts sputtered from there and on came Vinatieri for a 37-yard
attempt which he missed wide right to the delight of Patriots fans in attendance.
On Patriots first play of their
drive, Corey Dillon ran up the middle for 4 yards as he proceeded to
fumble the ball.
Colts DE Raheem Brock (right)
tackles Patriots running back Cory Dillon (28) and forcing a fumble
in the third quarter.
Colts, Raheem Brock picked
up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone while Patriots looked
on, thinking the play was over. New England challenged the play
believing at the very least, Brock was down by contact where he
recovered the fumble when Matt Light fell on him. That's the way the
ref saw it after the review as well.
The result was Indy getting the
ball right back, first and 10 from the 31. However, the Colts could
not convert the opportunity into points as the Patriots defense came
up big with Rosevelt Colvin registering a 9-yard sack on second and
10 and Manning throwing incomplete on third forcing the first punt
from either team in the game.
The Colts got the ball right back
after the Patriots were forced into their first punt after four plays.
This time Manning got back on
track. Two big plays, a 29-yard pass to Harrison and a 35-yarder to
Dallas Clark as Manning rolled to the right, brought up first and
goal at the 5.
Two plays later, Peyton Manning
connected with Marvin Harrison for a touchdown on a play that simply
covered 4 yards.
Colts wide receiver Marvin
Harrison keeps his concentration on the ball as he splits Patriot
defenders (from left) Mike Vrabel and Ellis Hobbs to pull in a
touchdown pass in the third quarter.
It may very well stand through time.
"That's one of the better
ones I've seen him make," Colts coach Tony Dungy said
Monday, still marveling in spite of himself at Marvin Harrison's
latest and greatest acrobatic catch.
In case anyone missed it, Harrison
was locked in man coverage in the end zone, and Peyton Manning's pass
came in behind him. Harrison bent his body back to tip the ball with
his left hand, twisted to pull it in, then planted his right foot and
dragged his left before falling out of bounds.
"I've seen him do some
phenomenal things in practice. You kind of get used to seeing it in
the game," Dungy said. "Nothing really takes my
breath away in the game because you've seen so much of it before. But
to change momentum like that and come back on an under-thrown ball,
to have the ability to tip it, catch it, regroup, get your feet down,
think about all those things, then do it athletically, that was a
Colts fans may recall another gem
from Harrison's 11-year career, his one-hander at Tennessee in 2003.
The 42-yarder appeared to be overthrown, but he leaped and brought it
in with only his right hand.
"This one was tougher,
much tougher," Dungy said of Sunday's grab. "The
one-hander, that's just a matter of getting your hand in the right
place and catching it and concentrating. This one, you had to do a lot."
New England head coach Bill
Belichick can't believe the outcome of the game after the Colts
scored a touchdown in the third quarter.
And what a catch it was, a
4-yarder to push the Colts ahead 24-14
with 6:56 left in the third quarter.
Afterwards, Marvin Harrison was
called for taunting in the end zone. On a long football Sunday
littered with yellow flags and shameless expressions of
self-celebration, nothing was half as shocking as the Colts' receiver
drawing a penalty while celebrating his uncommon grace.
The Colts say it's the first time
Harrison has ever committed this variety of flagrant foul. He's been
in the NFL 11 years, too, 11 years at a position overrun by all the
shouters and showboats and standup comics on a perpetual hunt for a
quick setup and a cheap laugh.
This makes Marvin Harrison's 115th
Touchdown. Harrison is about to dust Walter Payton on the career
touchdown charts, with Jim Brown on deck.
New England got three points back
on a 49-yard field goal making it 24-14.
A pass interference call on the
Colts Marlin Jackson gave New England first and 10 at the Colts 31,
Brady went incomplete on three straight passes to bring on the
attempt of the 49-yard field goal.
Terrence Wilkins fumbled the
return that followed on a play forced and recovered by Artrell Hawkins.
Colts, Bob Sanders' impact was
most evident during a head-on collision with Patriots running back
Laurence Maroney in this drive. It was the biggest hit of the game.
Maroney is 5-11, 220 pounds, and
as he pounded toward right guard, Sanders streaked in from the Colts'
right side and launched. Maroney dropped like a rock for a 2-yard
loss. What should have been a big break for New England ended in a
missed 36-yard field goal attempt by Gostkowski with the game late in
the third quarter.
The Colts were on the verge of
opening their lead up and in Patriots territory after starting the
drive on their own 26.
continued . . .
Nevertheless a 7-yard sack by
Colvin and Mike Vrabel brought up a second and 17 from the New
England 30. Manning then looked to his right and threw right into the
arms of Chad Scott who returned it to the Patriots 46.
Once again, New England could not
take advantage of the turnover. After an incomplete on first down,
Brady had his ball tipped by Robert Mathis and Cato June came up with
the pick. It was Brady's third interception of the game.
This Colts drive was not looking
too good as Rhodes ran for no gain on their first play and Peyton
threw incomplete on the next. However on 3rd and 10, Peyton found
Utecht deep on the left for a gain of 16 yards. First and ten and
Addai could not move the ball, however, Patriots, Colvin drew a
Personal Foul and 15 yards were enforced. First and ten and Addai
runs it for 2 yards as Peyton threw incomplete on the next two plays.
The series ended with a Vinatieri 31-yard field goal which gave the
Colts their 10 point lead back at 27-17.
Patriots drove from their 39 to
the Colts 8 but failed to come up with a touchdown. The most the
Patriots could make out of the drive was a 26-yard field goal making
it 27 - 20
with 6:01 left to play.
The three points seemed to be
hardly enough as Manning brought his troops right back into scoring
position with a 10-yard pass to Harrison and another 13 yards to Ben
Utecht on his following series. At the two-minute warning, Vinatieri
lined up to make it a two score game with a 46-yard field goal
attempt. Incredibly, the ex-Patriot who had lined up so many times
before at this stadium missed for the second time in the game.
The Patriots had one last chance
with 1:55 left to tie the game and send it into overtime. After
a 25-yard completion to Watson to get things rolling, the Patriots'
desperation drive ended just as a Brady's pass fluttered through the
hands of running back Kevin Faulk and was intercepted by Colts
linebacker Cato June, his second interception and Brady's fourth in
New England Patriots
quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field after a fourth-quarter
interception against the Indianapolis Colts during their football
game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
With 1:18 left on the time clock,
Peyton takes a knee twice to end the game at 27
Colts - Patriots 20 and The Colts
remain undefeated at 8-0.
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Bill
Belichick of the New England Patriots stands on the field before a
game the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 5, 2006
in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Colts rushed for a season-low
53 yards Sunday, 2.1 per carry
Dungy moved into a tie with New
England coach Bill Belichick for 26th place on the career victory
list. Dungy is 115-66-0 (.635) in 11 seasons. Belichick is 115-81-0
(.587) in 12 years, but he has won three Super Bowl titles to Dungy's none
Terrence Wilkins had kickoff
returns of 70 and 43 yards but lost a fumble on the latter.
Cato June had two interceptions in
Colts linebacker Gary Brackett
sustained a strained hamstring early in the third quarter and did not
return. Rookie Freddie Keiaho replaced him and had six tackles.
Marvin Harrison continued to add
his name to the Colts' record book. His 5-yard touchdown catch in the
first quarter was the 114th of his career. That broke Lenny Moore's
club record for overall touchdowns.
Harrison finished with eight
receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. His 115 career TDs rank
No. 8 in NFL history.
It was the first time in his
career that Brady threw four interceptions at home.
New England wide receiver Troy
Brown had five catches in the game for 37 yards and is now the
all-time reception leader for New England with 538. The previous
record holder was Stanley Morgan with 534
The Colts return home next
week to host Buffalo