NFL Playoffs: New England 43 Indianapolis 22 — The New England Patriots used a dominant ground game to crush the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 in divisional round playoff game Saturday in New England, sending the Patriots to their third straight AFC title game next weekend.
Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns as New England piled up 234 rushing yards against the Colts. It was his first career playoff game.
The Patriots’ defence intercepted Colt quarterback Andrew Luck four times. New England did not commit a turnover.
New England jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, but Indianapolis had closed the gap to 29-22 heading into the 4th quarter.
But they could get no closer as the Patriots pulled away with two 4th quarter touchdowns.
Andrew Luck threw an interception on his second pass attempt which was returned to the Colt 2-yard line, setting up a Patriot touchdown on their first offensive play. In last week’s playoff game against Kansas City, he threw three interceptions before mounting a huge comeback from a 28-point deficit to beat the Chiefs.
“I’m just disappointed in myself,” said Luck. “I can’t commit that many turnovers and have a chance to win against a great team like this.”
New England quarterback Tom Brady said. “People have counted us out at times this year, but I think we’ve got a locker room full of believers.” The Patriots have been decimated by injuries this season, but still find themselves in the AFC title game in spite of it all.
New England will play the Denver Broncos next Sunday in the AFC championship game. The Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers 24-17 Sunday, and will host the title game as the #1 seed in the AFC.
In the NFC divisional round games, the Seattle Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints 23-15, and the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Carolina Panthers 23-10. Seattle will play San Francisco in the NFC title game next Sunday in Seattle.
The winners of next Sunday’s two title games will meet in Super Bowl XLVIII.