In this edition of 4 th and Inches, I will discuss the five things that we can take away from the AFC Divisional Playoff matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. So, let’s get started.
5. Foxboro-A Tough Place to Play in Playoff Air
It is no secret throughout the NFL that one of the toughest game atmospheres can be found in Foxborough, MA, the home of the New England Patriots. Consider the math: Playoff atmosphere + diehard fans + explosive Patriots team = visiting team loss. The Colts tried their absolute best to prove this equation wrong, but it didn’t work. The sellout crowd at Gillette Stadium got to the Colts, having a hand in putting an end to their Championship hopes.
4.Denver Won’t Have the Same Problem Stopping Blount
It was rather apparent that Indianapolis had trouble stopping 250 lb. LeGarrette Blount. Blount had a spectacular game running for 4 TDs and 166 yards, leaving Indy wondering where they went wrong. The Denver Broncos will definitely be preparing to go against this guy in the AFC Championship game. The Broncos have one of the top 10 run defenses in the League and I believe they will have an answer that Indy didn’t have.
3. Patriots Were Very Efficient in the Red Zone
In the playoffs, the Pats were not expected to execute in the end zone due to the loss of TE Rob Gronkowski. It is painfully apparent that whenever “The Gronk” is out of service there is a considerable sized hole in the Patriots’ offense. That hole gets even bigger when they get to the Red Zone, and they are left without his end zone threat. Saturday night the Pats showed they didn’t need “The Gronk”, or Brady for that matter, as they scored on 5 of 6 red zone attempts, all with the run. The Patriots proved a lot of people wrong with so much success running the rock that night.
2. Luck, Not So Lucky This Time
Andrew Luck surprised a lot of people during the playoffs, and I don’t mean in a good way. After being one of the most efficient QBs in the NFL throughout the regular season, he threw an alarming 4 interceptions in their close win against Kansas City. Against the Patriots, he threw 4 more, but with a different result-a loss. If Luck wants to become a successful playoff QB, he needs to stop throwing the ball to the guys wearing the different colored jerseys.
1.Who Says New England Can’t Run?
Going into this Divisional game, many critics were saying the Pats had NO run game, with Tom Brady being the poster child for the one-dimensional offense. Brady and company sure proved these guys wrong. RBs LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley both ran for a combined 218 yards and 6 TDs. The Patriots are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL with their ability to both run and pass. This can, and probably will, continue to be a lethal combination that they are going to administer all the way to another Super Bowl win.
That is the end of another edition of 4 th and Inches. This is Austin Paydirt, signing off. Thanks for reading!