In his first half as Colts defensive coordinator, Mike Murphy pushed a lot of the right buttons.
His defense held the Patriots in check on their first two drives and showed a lot more fight than we’ve seen on that side of the ball in a few weeks from Indianapolis, but there’s still work to do. Priority one will be to remind the defenders that the Patriots like to throw the ball to Rob Gronkowski in the red zone.
Gronkowski caught his 12th touchdown of the season — one off the NFL single-season record for tight ends — when the Colts inexplicably decided not to cover him in the end zone. The score broke a 3-3 tie and moved Tom Brady into a tie with Johnny Unitas on the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass list. It also gave Brady a touchdown pass in 28 straight games.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored a second touchdown with a few seconds to go in the half, extending the Patriots’ lead to 17-3 after a start that made it look like everyone had read this game incorrectly. Much of that had to do with a Colts drive that lasted 10:19 before a field goal, but Murphy’s unit was doing a nice job until they gave up ground in the final minutes of the half. Now they’re well on their way to a 12th straight loss, which is pretty much what we expected heading into the game.
A little less expected was the frosty reception for Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri when he came on to kick the aforementioned field goal. The Gillette Stadium crowd greeted him with loud boos, choosing to save a standing ovation for Chad Ochocinco’s 12th catch as a Patriot later in the first half.