The New England Patriots’ ascension to 8-2 came at the expense of the 6-4 Indianapolis Colts.
Yet within Sunday’s 42-30 Patriots victory at Lucas Oil Stadium, there were more numbers in the fold than the team’s records and the final score.
Here is a closer look at the ones that factored in.
Patriots Rush for 246 Yards: The Colts’ defense hadn’t conceded more than 136 rushing yards in a single contest this season. With jumbo personnel groupings showcasing rookie offensive tackle Cameron Fleming, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui as well as fullback James Develin, running back Jonas Gray gained 201 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries. Meanwhile, Shane Vereen served as a change of pace on one 18-yard scamper, and wideout Julian Edelman swept across the backfield for 31 yards on two handoffs. Four QB kneel-downs negated an additional four yards.
New England Averages 81 Percent on Third-Down: The Patriots went 9-for-11 against the league’s first-ranked third-down defense. Quarterback Tom Brady finished 6-of-8 passing with a touchdown to Gronkowski and an interception to Colts safety Mike Adams on third down, while Gray turned third into first on each of his three situational attempts. As a byproduct of the efficiency, Ryan Allen was called upon to punt only once.
Colts’ Ground Game Gets 19 Yards: The Indianapolis offense averaged 1.1 yards per carry over 17 tries. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck led the attack with 15 yards on three scrambles, while halfbacks Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson combined for four yards on 14 carries. Collectively, the offense’s longest run was seven yards, and the group was able to rush for only one first down.
No. 13 Held to 24 Yards Receiving: Colts’ slot receiver T.Y. Hilton headed into Sunday’s game with 937 receiving yards and left it with only 24 more. The total marked the third-year pro’s lowest of the season, as he was able to reel in three of his seven targets under the coverage of Patriots defensive backs Kyle Arrington, Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis and reinforcements. Hilton, who pieced together 15 catches of more than 20 yards through his first nine games, saw his longest play of the day was a dig route that stretched 13 yards.
Wilfork Plays 36 Snaps: The snap count of defensive tackle Vince Wilfork hit a season-low in Indianapolis, according to Pro Football Focus. The 33-year-old, who played 485 snaps through the first nine games of the campaign, stayed fresh as Chris Jones, Dominique Easley and recent acquisition Alan Branch rotated into the interior.
Five Flags for New England: The Colts accepted only five penalties from the Patriots. Safeties Tavon Wilson and Patrick Chung accounted for two on the punt-return unit, while defensive end Rob Ninkovich and Gronkowski accounted for a share of their own. The net of the infractions was 53 yards, but the net was also the second-lowest total of the season for New England. The last time fewer flags were accepted was Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs, when the box score’s 41-14 final overshadowed the three penalties for 30 yards.