|Date of game: 11/16/2014
Recap: Indianapolis vs. New England
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Billed as the matchup of Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck, Jonas Gray stole the spotlight on Sunday night.
It was quite a homecoming.
Gray ran for four touchdowns as the New England Patriots cruised to a 42-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
The undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame didn't have a touchdown coming in.
Gray, who had 131 yards rushing in his first three games filling in for the injured Stevan Ridley, carried the ball 38 times for 199 yards in this one, averaging 5.2 yards a tote.
"It's a good win," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "I'm really proud of our offensive line. Good solid team effort."
Brady was 19-of-30 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Rob Gronkowski caught four passes for 71 yards and a score for the Patriots (8-2), who have won six straight since a 2-2 start.
Luck finished 23-of-39 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Indianapolis (6-4), which has dropped two of its last three on the heels of a five-game winning streak.
"We just couldn't keep it close enough to have a fighting chance at the end." Luck said. "They did a good job of holding us down."
Hakeem Nicks' 10-yard TD reception with a minute left in the opening half pulled the Colts within 14-10 heading into the break, but the Patriots sandwiched touchdowns around an Adam Vinatieri field goal to begin the third and pull away.
Shane Vereen was left unaccounted for along the left sideline and scampered for a gain of 39 to put the ball into Colts territory. Brady floated a pass to Tim Wright in the back right corner of the end zone for a 2-yard score.
Vinatieri split the uprights from 53 yards out on Indianapolis' ensuing touch.
Brady converted a pair of third downs using the back-shoulder throw. He hit Brandon LaFell along the left sideline for a gain of 26 on a 3rd-and-6 and then found Gronkowski for 16 yards on a 3rd-and-3 to put the ball at the 27.
Gray found the end zone from two yards out to give the Patriots a 28-13 cushion late in the third.
Fleener tip-toed the right sideline for a pickup of 22 on a 3rd-and-10 and Luck flipped a 2-yard completion to Ahmad Bradshaw on a 4th-and-1 to set up a first and goal from the 2.
Anthony Castonzo, who reported as an eligible receiver, hauled in a 1-yard score on 3rd-and-goal to pull Indy within 28-20 early in the fourth.
New England, though, went right down the field again, needing 10 plays to go 80 yards before Gray's 1-yard TD plunge made it 35-20.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano elected to go for a 4th-and-10 at his own 32 on Indy's next series, but Luck's pass glanced off of Reggie Wayne's fingertips.
Gronkowski's 26-yard TD catch three plays later capped the scoring.
Earlier, New England established its running attack on its opening drive.
The Patriots ran the ball six times for 77 yards on that sequence, with Gray's 4-yard TD run finishing off the 10-play trek.
Vinatieri split the uprights from 31 yards out on the Colts' following possession.
Indianapolis outside linebacker Erik Walden hit Brady as he threw on a deep play action when New England went back on the field and Mike Adams hauled in the underthrow downfield at the 6.
The Colts were unable to take advantage of the miscue, however, having to punt once they crossed midfield.
Devin McCourty picked off Luck midway through the second when Darrelle Revis deflected a pass into the air intended for Wayne and he came down with the tipped ball.
This led to a Gray 2-yard TD run for a 14-3 Patriots advantage.Game Notes
The Patriots improved to 11-4 after the bye under Belichick ... New England
recorded 33 first downs, compared to 17 for the Colts ... The Patriots were 9-
of-12 on third down, while Indy finished 5-of-13 ... Bradshaw and Colts tight
end Dwayne Allen left the game with lower leg injuries.