The New England Patriots have faced the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts three times.
The two sides will meet for a fourth time next Sunday in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium, after the former No. 1 overall draft pick and the fourth-seeded Colts defeated quarterback Peyton Manning and the second-seeded Broncos in the divisional round Sunday.
That 21-13 victory at Sports Authority Field brought Luck and the Colts to the conference title for the first time since Manning and the Colts got there in January of 2010.
But before setting sights on the 6:40 p.m. kickoff a week from now, here is a look back on what transpired over the previous three weeks of games between New England and Indianapolis.
Nov. 18, 2012: Patriots 59, Colts 24
- Luck’s first start against the Patriots saw the Stanford product go 27-of-50 passing for 334 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The then-rookie tossed two touchdowns to speedy wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in that game, but he also tossed a total of three picks to second-round safety Tavon Wilson, seventh-round cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and traded-for corner Aqib Talib. Two of which gave way to touchdowns as the Patriots netted 166 return yards on the Colts quarterback. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, meanwhile, did not throw a pick as he went 24-of-35 through the air for three touchdowns. Two of those scores went to tight end Rob Gronkowski, while another went to wideout Julian Edelman. The 59 points New England notched tied a team mark set in a 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 18, 2009.
Jan. 11, 2014: Patriots 43, Colts 22
- The Patriots crossed paths with Luck and the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs one season later in Foxborough. The end result was a similar one, as the Patriots went on to win by 21 on the way to an AFC title bout with Manning the Broncos. The game that got New England there saw Luck finish 20-of-41 for 331 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions to the likes of Dennard, second-year linebacker Dont’a Hightower and first-year linebacker Jamie Collins. The 2013 second-rounder by way of Southern Mississippi made his way through the A-gaps to record his first NFL sack, compiling six tackles by the time it was over. And by the time it was over, Luck had also been sacked by rookie defensive linemen Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. Brady, on the other hand, had been sacked twice. He managed to hand to ball off to running back LeGarrette Blount 24 times for 166 yards and four touchdowns, though, all while Stevan Ridley carried the ball 14 times for 52 yards and another two touchdowns. The team’s six rushing touchdowns tied the San Fransico 49ers’ single-game record for second most in playoff history.
Nov. 16, 2014: Patriots 42, Colts 20
- New England and Indianapolis met 10 months later at Lucas Oil Stadium. And when they did so, it was former practice-squad halfback Jonas Gray who met the football 37 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns, on the way to being named conference player of the week and being placed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Brady went 19-of-30 passing in that most recent contest, registering 257 yards and two touchdowns to Gronkowski and fellow tight end Tim Wright. He also registered two interceptions to Colts safety Mike Adams. On the other end, Luck was sacked once by defensive end Rob Ninkovich and intercepted once by safety Devin McCourty, concluding Week 11 having gone 23-of-39 for 303 yards and two touchdowns to receiver Hakeem Nicks and eligible receiver Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo’s second-half touchdown was the last New England’s defense would concede over the final six games of the regular season.
The Patriots have gone 3-0 against the Colts since 2012, with an average margin of 26 points. Luck has gone 70-of-130 for 968 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions in those three games. But the three-time Pro Bowler will look to avert those trends in his fourth one.