The Washington Times-Herald

November 15, 2012

Colts/Patriots game capsule

Familiar foes will matchup for 10th straight year

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — The game -- Indianapolis Colts (6-3, 2-1 AFC South) at New England Patriots (6-3, 3-0 AFC East), 4:25 p.m. (ET), Gillette Stadium (FieldTurf), Foxborough, MA.

Coverage -- CBS Sports (Jim Nantz, Phil Sims); Colts Radio Network (Bob Lamey, Will Wolford, Kevin Lee); Sirius NFL Radio (Channel 134, Colts; Channel 86, Patriots); XM NFL Radio (Channel 228, Patriots); Dial Global Radio Sports (Tom McCarthy, Tony Boselli, Scott Graham).

The coaches -- Colts: Bruce Arians, interim (5-1, 1st year with Indianapolis). Patriots: Bill Belichick (181-100, 13th year with New England).

The series -- 73rd regular-season meeting. Patriots lead series, 44-28. The series began in 1970 when the Baltimore Colts moved from the NFC to the AFC and became members of the AFC Eastern Division. New England has won three of the last five meetings, including last year's 31-24 decision at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Patriots also posted a 31-28 win at Gillette Stadium in 2010. Indianapolis posted back-to-back wins at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008 and 2009 (18-15, 35-34). The Colts haven't won at Gillette Stadium since the 2005 and 2006 seasons (40-21, 27-20). Indianapolis and New England have played each other three times in the post-season, the last time coming in the 2006 AFC Championship game at the RCA Dome (38-34). The Colts and Patriots have also played each other in the 2004 (AFC Championship, New England won 24-14) and 2005 (AFC Divisional, the Patriots won 20-3) playoffs. New England has a 24-12 lead in the series in games played away from Indianapolis. The series has been played at six different venues (Colts: Baltimore's Memorial Stadium (8-6), Hoosier/RCA Dome (7-14), Lucas Oil Stadium (2-0); Patriots: Harvard (1-0), Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro (9-21), and Gillette Stadium (2-5).

Noting it -- Indianapolis (6-3) is going for its fifth consecutive win this season...A Colts win today at New England would make Indianapolis the first team in NFL history to start 7-3 or better in a season immediately following a year with an 0-10 start...Rookie QB Andrew Luck has four 300-yard passing games this year, tying former Colts QB Peyton Manning (1998) for the most all-time by a first-year quarterback...Luck has the highest winning percentage (.667) through Week 10 of the 2012 season by a rookie quarterback who was the No. 1 overall pick in the Super Bowl era (minimum three starts)...Luck's 2,631 yards passing yards are the most through nine games among rookie quarterbacks in NFL history...Luck leads AFC quarterbacks in rushing yardage (159) and rushing touchdowns (5)...WR Reggie Wayne (931) needs 69 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the eighth time in his NFL career...Wayne (12,639) needs 83 receiving yards to surpass Art Monk for 15th-most in NFL history...Wayne has 67 receptions for 883 yards and five touchdowns in 13 career games with the Patriots...Wayne had 10 receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns against New England on Nov. 15, 2009. He also had nine catches for 124 yards and a TD on Nov. 7, 2005...WR Donnie Avery has six catches for 163 yards and a TD in his only career game with New England (10/26/08)...S Antoine Bethea has 53 total tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions in seven career games with the Patriots...OLB Robert Mathis has recorded 38 total tackles, five sacks, three passes broken up and two forced fumbles in 11 career games against New England...Mathis notched eight tackles (six solo), two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass defensed on Nov. 15, 2009...Mathis has registered six sacks in five games this season...OLB Dwight Freeney has four sacks in 12 career games with the Patriots...CB Vontae Davis has six passes broken up and two interceptions in six career games against New England...PK Adam Vinatieri played with the Patriots from 1996-2005. He has made nine-of-12 field goals against New England since coming to the Colts...S Sergio Brown played for New England from 2010-11. Brown had been signed as an undrafted free agent by the Patriots in 2010...CB Darius Butler played with the Patriots from 2009-10. He was a second-round draft pick by New England in 2009. Butler had two interceptions, including an 11-yard return for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery in last week's win over Jacksonville.

Did you know? – Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has cobbled together a 5-1 record since taking over for coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling from leukemia. According to Stats, Inc., the NFL record for the most wins by an interim coach is 9-2 by the Los Angeles Rams’ Hamp Pool in 1952.

Stat of the week -- The Colts and Patriots are playing for the 10th consecutive season.

The game plan -- Hold on to the football. Make plays downfield. Play smart defensively.

The Colts have had issues so far this season with turnovers in road games. They've been lucky in some games where potential turnovers have ended up as incomplete passes.

Indianapolis, though, can't afford to turn the ball over against one of the best ballhawking defenses in the league.

Defensively, stopping the Patriots high-powered offense won't be easy. The key will be to try and slow New England down just enough to give the Colts' offense enough opportunities.

Not allowing the Patriots' passing attack to get into some sort of rhythm is important.

 

Key matchups -- Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Patriots pass defense. Luck is having a very good rookie season. But he's also struggled at times in road games. Luck has had a tendency to forced passes into coverage. New England, meanwhile, is ranked 29th in the league in pass defense, allowing an average of 285.3 yards per game. Patrots coach Bill Belichick has also been known to make things difficult for young quarterbacks with his game plans.

 

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Colts CB Darius Butler. Former teammates together in New England, Brady and Butler will now be eyeing each other from across the line of scrimmage. Both know the other's tendencies. Brady, though, is expected to test Butler and the rest of the Colts' secondary early and often.

 

Colts WRs Reggie Wayne/Donnie Avery vs. Patriots CB Devin McCourty/Kyle Arrington. Wayne and Avery have combined for 107 catches and 1,450 yards this season. New England has given up 2,682 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air.