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It was the game at the beginning of the year that was marked on everyone’s calendar. The annual showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Fast forward to Week 13 and the Colts are still winless and going nowhere fast without Manning under center. Starting at quarterback for the Colts was Dan Orlovsky the former UCONN quarterback in place of Curtis Painter who was benched due to poor play. He played well completing 29 of 38 for 353 yards two touchdowns and an interception.
“We felt confident going into the game that if we stayed patient we could move the ball,” Orlovsky said. “We fell short. I wish we had more time on the clock.” In what seemed like a sure fire blowout became a game when the Colts put up 21 points in fourth quarter to pull within one score. Deion Branch recovered the onside kick that kept the Colts from getting a chance to tie the game up.
“We played good for 45 minutes and then didn’t do anything offensively,” Brady said. “So we’ll hear about that.” The Patriots won their fourth straight and moved to 9-3 tied for the best record in the AFC with the Houston Texans while the colts who are 0-12 have only four games left against Baltimore, Tennessee, Houston, and Jacksonville to avoid becoming the second team in history to go 0-16.
“People can say what they want to say about not playing hard, but I think that (comeback) pretty much shut that up right there,” Colts tight end Jacob Tamme said. Tom Brady had his usual game completing 29 of 38 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, both to Gronkowski.
The touchdown passes put Brady past Johnny Unitas and into a tie for 6th with Warren Moon for most touchdowns during the regular season. They also tied Gronkowski with Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis for most touchdowns by a tight end in a season. He had a third touchdown which was originally ruled a catch, but was later changed to a run because it was a lateral.
“I wasn’t thinking about whether it was a pass or a lateral,” Gronkowski said. “I’ll take the rushing touchdown. It’s the first of my whole career.” Gronkowski finished with 5 catches for 64 yards and two scores, while Wes Welker had 11 catches for 110 yards. “Guys played well and did some things well,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell said, “but, still, we’re measured by wins.”
Brady got the offense rolling after the Colts tied the game at three leading scoring drives on the next four possessions to put the Patriots up a by a commanding 28 points. The Colts got their first touchdown when Donald Brown ran it in from five yards out. Orlovsky then found Pierre Garcon, who had nine catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, for 33 and 12 yard scores.
“If we don’t play four quarters, we’re not going to end up in the situation we want to be in,” Welker said. Orlovsky definitely made Patriots Coach Bill Belichick aware of a glaring issue for his team, their defense. “We’ve obviously got to do a better job of finishing the game,” Belichick said. “That was disappointing, but we’ll work on that.”
The Patriots continue their quest for the number 1 seed in the AFC when they head to Washington to face the Redskins who have lost five straight. The Colts don’t get a tougher task as they travel to Baltimore for a game with the Ravens who are also in the hunt for the number 1 seed.
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