The New England Patriots ran past the Indianapolis Colts on the way to clinching a Super Bowl XLIX berth Sunday night in Foxborough, 45-7.
But more numbers resonated than the ones in the AFC Championship Game’s final score.
Here is closer look at 10 numbers that did.
Luck’s Passer Rating Drops to 23: Andrew Luck saw his first conference title matchup conclude with the worst passer rating of his NFL career. The three-time Pro Bowler, who threw for 40 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 4,761 yards and a rating of 96.5 during the regular season, was subject to a different kind of season on Sunday. Against a Patriots defense that mixed coverages downfield with physicality at the line, the Colts quarterback was held out of the end zone. He was held to 12-of-33 passing for 126 yards, two interceptions and a career-low QB rating of 23 by the end of it.
Two Catches Between Four Colts Receivers: New England’s secondary made it tough on Luck, their performance also made it tough on the wideouts he was throwing to. T.Y. Hilton, who posted 82 receptions for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season, had one reception for 36 yards opposite Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington and safety Devin McCourty. And Hakeem Nicks, who hauled in a touchdown versus the Patriots in November, hauled in one pass for 15 yards opposite corner Logan Ryan. But that was it for Indianapolis. Veteran Reggie Wayne and rookie Donte Moncrief were kept out of the stat sheet by first-team All-Pro Darrelle Revis and Co.
Indianapolis Offense 3-for-11 on Third Down: The Patriots’ defense managed to keep the Colts’ offense on the field for 22 minutes of possession in the conference title game. And much of that was because of what transpired on third down, as Luck and the Colts went 3-for-11 with four three-and-outs.
Patriots Tally 13 Ground Touchdowns in Three Games vs. Colts: The Patriots’ gameplan was known as soon as the inactives were. Receivers Brian Tyms and Josh Boyce were scratched 90 minutes before kickoff, while fourth-round tackle Cameron Fleming was not. It would be about power from there, with a wide offensive line paving the way for LeGarrette Blount, not unlike it did for Jonas Gray in Week 11 or Blount in the divisional round last year. New England would turn in a 177-yard day on the ground on a soggy Gillette Stadium field, with three touchdowns and 148 yards coming from the 6-foot, 250-pound Blount. The Patriots have now rushed 140 times for 657 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last three meetings with the Colts.
Blount Ties Givens at Seven: Barreling in for four touchdowns against Indianapolis last January, then another three touchdowns this January, Blount now finds himself tied with former Patriots receiver David Givens for the most the postseason touchdowns in franchise history. Blount has played in four playoff games for New England, recording seven touchdowns in two of them.
One Touchdown Catch for Solder: When the Patriots and Colts play, there’s a good chance an offensive lineman will end up scoring a touchdown. Dan Klecko, Jeff Saturday, Logan Mankins and Anthony Castonzo all lived that moment. And on Sunday just nine plays into the third quarter, Nate Solder got the chance to experience the same. The former Colorado tight end reported as eligible and departed from the left side New England’s jumbo offensive line, snaring the pass and fork-lifting into the end zone from 16 yards out. It marked the first reception of the 6-foot-8, 320-pound tackle’s career.
Kline Concedes Zero Quarterback Hits: There was a certain level of uncertainty facing the Patriots when center Bryan Stork was ruled out with a knee injury on Friday. There would be a reshuffle, with right guard Ryan Wendell back at center and second-year reserve Josh Kline back in at right guard. But that reshuffle would not be an issue for Kline against the Colts, as the 2013 undrafted free agent pieced together the strongest performance of his NFL career. In his fifth start of his season, Kline did not allow a sack or a quarterback hit. And according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one hurry.
Edelman Answers with Four Third-Down Conversions: A game-high nine catches for 98 yards was what Julian Edelman grossed on Sunday night. But it was what he did on third down that stood apart. Edelman caught five passes and converted four of them into firsts. He also added another conversion on fourth down, despite heading to the locker room and being designated questionable to return.
Belichick Notches No. 21: In his 40th year in the league and 14th year as Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick surpassed Tom Landry as with the winningest head coach in NFL postseason history on Sunday. He landed his 21st victory and his ninth total appearance in the Super Bowl in the process.
Six Super Bowl Trips as a Pair: Belichick and Tom Brady are headed to their sixth Super Bowl as a coach-quarterback duo, which now stands along atop the all-time list. Belichick will move into a tie with Don Shula for most Super Bowl appearances as a head coach in league history, while Brady will move into first for most Super Bowl starts by a quarterback, surpassing John Elway.