for this game

Patriots jolt Colts with pair of late touchdowns

Nov 5, 2007 - 2:54 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Bottled up for most of the game, the New England Patriots rediscovered their offense in time to put a dent in the crown of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final eight minutes as the Patriots rallied from a 10-point deficit to knock off the Indianapolis Colts, 24-20, on Sunday.

With its high-powered offense flustered for the first three quarters, the Patriots (9-0) used a pair of quick-strike touchdowns to remain undefeated and hand the Colts (7-1) their first loss of the season in one of the most anticipated regular-season games in NFL history.

"That was a really good win for our football team," Belichick said. "I'm really proud of the way our guys played. We played 60 minutes, which is what you have to do against the Colts.

"They are tough and make you work for everything. But I thought our guys stepped up and made some big plays. Especially in the second half, we scored when we needed to."

New England ended a 12-game winning streak by Indianapolis while avenging a 38-34 loss in last season's AFC Championship game.

"It's been awhile (since the last loss)," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Mondays in November and December, we're used to not having to come in. So we are going to have to go in tomorrow and go back to work. We need to correct our mistakes and we need to get healthy. I need to get some guys back out on the field, for sure."

Brady connected with Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth on a pair of long passes to set up his last two touchdowns - a 3-yard pass to Wes Welker and and a 13-yard scoring strike to Kevin Faulk for the go-ahead score with 3:15 to play.

"We hadn't been throwing it deep very much all day," Brady said. "I think we had been picking our spots. Randy had a great release, and he got up on that safety. He was one-on-one with that guy and I just tried to throw it up for him. It was a great catch. That was a big spark for us.

"I'm glad we scored quickly, because when we got the ball back we had some time for it as well."

The Patriots' defense then supplied the clincher, as Jarvis Green stripped Peyton Manning and linebacker Rosevelt Colvin caught the loose ball.

"It was probably the first game we've had that we've had to really play the entire game," Colvin said. "You have to credit the Colts, they're a good football team. It wasn't like the victories that we've had this year, but it's a W, and as long as you keep working until the end, we have a chance."

New England extended its regular-season winning streak to 12 games despite committing a franchise-record 10 penalties for 146 yards.

"They made some mistakes with some uncharacteristic penalties early" Dungy said. "Then we were in a situation where we were up a score and you know they are going to throw a deep ball to Moss to get back in the game. We let him get behind us, which all our guys are disappointed about."

Brady finished 21-of-32 for 255 yards with the three TDs and two interceptions. Moss hauled in nine catches for 145 yards and a touchdown - his league-leading 12th of the season.

New England ran out the clock to win the hyped-up matchup in which a pair of teams with records of at least 7-0 met for the first time in the 88-year history of the NFL.

"Any time you can get touchdowns in the red zone, that's huge," Welker said. "They did a great job disguising coverages and rushing Tom, and you have to tip your hat to them. We were lucky to get out with a win."

Colts running back Joseph Addai accounted for 226 yards of offense and scored a touchdown as the Colts slowed built a 20-10 lead with 9:42 on Manning's 1-yard sneak.

Linebacker Gary Brackett had set up the score with a spectacular juggling interception as he was falling to the ground.

"We held in there for a little while," Brackett said. "The fourth quarter we didn't make the plays that we had to. They did and they came out with a victory."

The Patriots responded with a pair of touchdowns in a span of 4:44 to erase the 10-point deficit.

Brady, who was held under 100 yards through the first three quarters, connected with Moss on a 55-yard pass to set up a 3-yard scoring strike to Welker that sliced the lead to 20-17 with 7:59 to play.

"We didn't have an answer for Randy Moss today," Dungy said. "We had lot of attention paid to him, trying to stop him from catching the deep balls, but he caught the deep one at the big time of the game. That really was the play of the game."

Welker then set New England up in great field position with a 23-yard return to the Patriots 49.

The Patriots needed just three plays and 43 seconds to get the go-ahead touchdown. Brady found Stallworth for 33 yards and followed it with a 13-yard TD pass to Faulk to put New England ahead, 24-20.

A stunning turn of events in the final two minutes of the first half gave the Colts the lead and a burst of momentum heading into the break.

With the Patriots leading, 7-6, and driving for more points, free safety Antoine Bethea intercepted Brady at the 2-yard line with 1:46 left in the half. It was only the third interception of the season for Brady.

Mixing two runs and a pair of short passes, Manning cautiously moved the Colts upfield and it appeared they would be fortunate to get into field goal position, facing a 1st-and-10 at their 27 with 28 seconds to go.

Manning dumped a short pass in the flat to Addai, who burst past a couple of would-be tacklers, zipped down the left sideline and cut back toward the middle to complete a 73-yard touchdown and give Indy a 13-7 lead with 13 ticks left in the half.

"It was really just a situation where there were just a couple of seconds left and I had some key blocks, but none that really matters because we got the loss," Addai said.

Addai was immense, rushing 26 times for 112 yards and catching five balls for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Manning finished 16-of-27 for 225 yards with one TD and one interception. He also was sacked three times - the first times he was sacked at home this season.

"I thought overall that we played competitively on defense," Belichick said. "We had some bad plays obviously out there, a couple of long pass interferences, a 70-yard touchdown on a third down conversion they made.

"I think we can do a better job of coaching and get some things straightened out."

Colts star receiver Marvin Harrison was inactive for the third game since suffering a knee injury against the Denver Broncos on September 30.