Sunday Night wrap-up: Four-TD shades of Jonas Gray for Patriots

Getty Images

Jonas Gray had 32 carries for 131 yards. In his career. Prior to Sunday night, that is.

The unheralded running back was the unquestioned star of the show, leading the Patriots to a 42-20 win over the Colts.

He finished with 38 carries for 199 yards and four touchdowns, pacing an offense that was able to mash the Colts up front.

It was an amazing line for a guy who has struggled to find a home in the league.

He was a legitimate prospect at Notre Dame, but went undrafted after tearing his ACL in November of his senior year. He was signed by the Dolphins, but they cut him in the 2013 preseason, and he hung around on the Ravens practice squad.

The Patriots brought him in this offseason, but didn’t have room for him at first. It took a knee injury to Stevan Ridley to create a crack in the door, and Gray spent Sunday night kicking it in.

A compact 5-10, 225 pounds, his low-to-the-ground style suited the physical game plan the Patriots prepared. And punctuating his final touchdown with a stiff-arm to the crotch of a Colts defender was symbolic of the rest of the game.

They couldn’t have known he was going to respond this way, which will lead to more chances in the future.

But after a long wait for a chance, he’s going to savor this one.

Here are five more things we learned on Sunday Night Football:

1. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady clearly had something to prove after an ugly first half. But it was tight end Rob Gronkowski who was playing with a vengeance.

Gronk was flinging guys to the ground throughout the game, and was penalized for it after Gray’s fourth touchdown, clearly fired up.

But his 26-yard touchdown late in the game was pure Gronk, as he muscled his way to the end zone through a host of would-be tacklers.

He’s a unique athlete, the kind it’s impossible to match up with. And it’s not a coincidence that the Patriots’  resurgence matches up with his return to health.

2. The Colts have some huge injury problems after this one, none bigger than running back Ahmad Bradshaw leaving in the second half with an ankle injury. He walked into the locker room under his own power, but didn’t return.

If he’s out any amount of time, it could have a house-of-cards effect, as Trent Richardson continues to underwhelm (seven carries, no yards, with a long of 2).

Bradshaw gave them the kind of trust and balance you want from a back in this offense, as compared to Richardson, who isn’t worth either of the first round picks teams have spent on him (though at least the Browns cashed in while he had value).

The Colts also lost tight end Dwayne Allen early in the game to an ankle injury. He was carted off the field, and did not return.

That threw a kink in their plans to run the ball, but it also created an opportunity for them to remember Coby Fleener. A seemingly forgotten part of the Colts passing game (or maybe it was on purpose), Fleener had seven catches for 144 yards. He had four catches for 77 yards last week against the Giants, making this a bit of a hot streak.

Being able to use both backs and both tight ends gives offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton flexibility he needs, but at least Fleener is proving himself able to make an impact.

3. The Patriots didn’t let cornerback Darrelle Revis shadow Reggie Wayne exclusively, but he was there at all the right times.

He broke up a fourth-down attempt which ended the Colts’ last real chance midway through the fourth quarter. He was also devoted to Wayne early in the game, and kept the veteran wideout from making much of an impact.

4. Colts safety LaRon Landry makes all the money, but he didn’t have all that much of a role for the Colts.

It was Mike Adams who had the two interceptions, and they continue to start Sergio Brown, who proved himself trustworthy during Landry’s PED suspension.

Ostensibly, he’s the kind of hard-hitter you’d want in a physical game. But it was hard to tell he was in the plan at all, which makes you wonder how much he’s in their future.

5. It was cute to see Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks shush the Indianapolis crowd after catching a touchdown just before halftime.

Maybe the cheering fans were just confused, not quite sure who he was.

After having one of the most underwhelming contract years in the history of free agency with the Giants last year (no touchdowns), Nicks was forced into a make-good deal with the Colts.

His score was his first since Sept. 21, and just his third of the season.

62 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Four-TD shades of Jonas Gray for Patriots

  1. I can’t believe Bears-49ers has been the only competitive Sunday Night Football game so far this season.

  2. jchipwood says: Nov 12, 2014 5:05 PM

    Patriots are an average team on the road. Easy win for the colts.

    How does crow taste?

  3. Brady was a bit off in the first half but he recovered nicely. Jonas Gray with 199 yards and 4 tds is incredible I hope he can stay with the Pats long term. Defense did great holding the Colts to 20 points and getting a nice pick in the process. 8-2 is pretty good onto Detroit Go Pats!

  4. Solid win for the Patriots against a good team on the road. What a crazy year in the NFL, after a disastrous start to the season New England may be playing the best football in the league right now.

    As always though the true test comes in the playoffs but I must admit I am really happy with how the team is coming along though.

  5. Gronk is a beast!!
    Brady doesn’t miss a beat!
    Belichick the GM isn’t any good? Ask the Colts how does 4 Gray touchdowns feel!!
    Last 4 games the Pats have shut down – Watkins, Marshall, Alshon, Demarius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton. Talk about this defense now!!!


  6. Wow guess the Pats didn’t need to keep Blount after all.

    And the Gronk TD Lolercoaster !!! Throws 1st tackler to the ground, swats the 2nd one aside like a fly, runs right through/over the 3rd tackler and leaps into the end zone landing on the 4th would be tackler and flattening poor number 21 whoever he is.

  7. Defense like the Chiefs? Yes they beat up a Pats team tbat was in a bind but do you think they’ll do that now? No. Chiefs won because of 2 straight dropped end zone passes. Just saying – no team in the NFL wants to play the Pats right now.

  8. Their last two games against the White Ponies; 480 yards rushing, 10 rushing TDs. Pit bulls against paper dolls.

  9. gronk is the best skill position player in the league, by far. sure he only had 4 catches but he was DOMINANT in the running game, just destroying guys with his power.
    and the td at the end was incredible.

  10. I’m glad Peyton had better stats today. That proves that Peyton is better and always will be. Truly the greatest QB in the history of football.

    I just can’t believe the Colts were so starstruck by the Patriots, a team who every single intelligent football fan on earth knows that they would be 0-16 every year without spygate. What a pathetic performance.

    You know…It’s like Commissioner Bud Selig made a phone call to a few folks in the Colts organization to have a “friendly” chat about this game. The commissioner wouldn’t deliberately rig a game… would he?

  11. Stars are aligning.

    Brady didn’t have a good night. But I’d still take him over P. Manning.

    Revis Island is alive and well. Take that Richard Sherman!

    Gronk is Gronk.

    This team is poised for a deep playoff run, especially with home field advantage. If the Pats get the 1st seed, and they can maintain this type or production, Brady should get to the SuperBowl for the billionth time.

  12. They said New England was coming into a tough 6 game stretch, and all they did was punch Peyton Manning and his mighty Donks, then Andrew Luck and the Colts, right in the mouth.

    The Pats are clicking on BOTH sides of the ball, and if they aren’t #1 in the Power Ranking on Tuesday, Florio should give up this blog and go back to his shingle.

    The Patriots are 8-2 and won six straight…. but did ya hear? Tom Brady is – sing it with me, boys and girls – ALL WASHED UP!!!!!

    Bwaaaaaaas Haaaaaa Haaaaaa!!!!!

  13. Embarrassing performance from my team tonight all the way around. Coaches. Most players. Defense. This was supposed to be the coming out party for us this year. And ya’ll crapped the bed. Great job.

  14. Best personal foul penalty ever. Gronk blocks the Colts guy into the NBC camera. The flag just pissed him off. You don’t wanna do that.

  15. That Colts defense is hideous. The only thing worse is their run blocking. Unwatchable game. I feel sorry for Luck. Wonder how long before they start thinking about a coaching change.

  16. Darin, Grey did a good job running the ball. The true story is the blocking in front of him, the Pats oline and TE’s dominated the line of scrimage. They blew the Colts defense off the line, that where the credit goes. Any big RB could have done the same.

  17. Just like I said… The underdog fought like a rabid pit bull. Luck is a nice a guy… In a few years he’ll really be an elite QB.

  18. Trent Richardson: 7 carries, 0 (ZERO!!!) yards, 0 TDs, long run of 2. Remember when Colts fans were gloating about how they got the next Edgerrin James to pair with their new Peyton?

  19. @tedmurph the Colts player was Serjio Brown the safety that used to play for the Pats and was the one who broke his arm. He has a big mouth and was running it to Gronk all game and Rob settled the issue. It’s amazing that people said that Gronkowski was soft, fragile, ect. ect. where are those fools now?

  20. if you think the lions have a shot next week at the pats house , good luck, they can’t score, pats are flying……..

  21. Btw, how come no one found it criminal that Belichick had Grey carry the ball double the averages of Marshawn Lynch and Andre Ellington.

    His carry total tonight nearly doubled Arian Foster’s averages.

    Was Belichick trying to put him on IR before the game was over?

    Rest your guy when you’re up by at least 14 in the 4th quarter.

  22. Colts D gave up 501 yards tonight at home (and Brady wasn’t even on his game). Colts still have a long way to go.

  23. Brady is Brady. Gronk is Gronk. But the reason the Patriots have a legit shot at another ring is Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. These 4 guys will be tough to beat in January and maybe February.

  24. Who would have thought that after the Kansas City butt kicking of the Pats that the Pats would be sitting at 8-2. Also, that the offensive line would be playing as well as any in the league, and a practice squad player would be hitting every hole and then smashing defenders for extra yards on carry after carry. That kid Gray made my weekend. He also has a great story to go along with how he got where he is now. Here’s hoping he can remain consistent though the first week of February.

  25. Anyone really wanna play a healthy New England Patriots right now? What I’d give to play the Seahawks in the bowl if we are fortunate enough to stay hhealthy and get that far.

  26. If only 30% of my comments get posted, how many times does pft poet and logical voices post? They have published comments on every story says:

    Look on the bright side colts fans. New England’s 2 previous games against the colts they averaged 51 points. Tonight only 42. That is improvement. Although, if the refs hadn’t made up that touchback call and given them the safety, plus what was sure to be 7 more points, it would have been 51… Since the tuck rule was abolished, maybe that touch back rule can be the luck rule?

    The other take away from watching the last few weeks of football, Tom Brady drops back to pass and fires missiles at his receivers. Just rifles it in there. Peyton on the other hand, throws ducks when he tries to put any mustard on it, and every pass in their playbook is a nice gentle floater over the defender. Impressive for manning to just drop it in the bucket like that, but it has caught up to them. Mannings last 3 games he has thrown 8 TDs and 6 picks. He just doesn’t have the arm strength anymore. And when his weapons got hurt (two thirds of them) manning was lost and pretty much useless. St louis has a pretty good defense, but not that good

  27. Billichick and McCarthy are best 2 coaches in football because they make something out of many average players every year …unlike my Vikings and many other teams. Respect!

    If you don’t see it now…these are your Super Bowl participants this year.

  28. Great win for the Pats tonight. I think we need to stay focused since they haven’t been able to get it done when it matters the most for some time.

    That being said, the defense looks much better. Mix that with a healthy Gronk…. Watch out!

  29. tedmurph says:
    Nov 16, 2014 11:49 PM
    Best personal foul penalty ever. Gronk blocks the Colts guy into the NBC camera. The flag just pissed him off. You don’t wanna do that.

    I DO NOT THINK…I’ve ever laughed so hard at a play, as when Gronk knocked Sergio Brown into camera….You knew it was coming as Brown wouldn’t shut up all game, and end of many plays ..chippy.

    Then…to see how Gronk ran w/anger..nice to see, and prettyobvious that Gronk a hell of a teammate.

    Not NE’s best game…but Colts horrible @ LOS…real bad.

  30. And this is why bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. As Rams fan that felt cheated I hate the patriots, but I can’t deny their excellence. There isn’t a coach in the game that can game plan around a no name RB and have him rush for 200 yds.

  31. “He’s a unique athlete, the kind it’s impossible to match up with. And it’s not a coincidence that the Patriots’ resurgence matches up with his return to health.”


    That says it all. Gronk is the League MVP if you ask me.

  32. What will the Colts do now that the most despicable person in pro football – former GM Bill Polian is gone? That’s right, the same Bill Polian who, disguised as a member of the Competition Committee helped legislate rules, not to help the league as a whole; but rather to benefit his own team. Remember, after the Patriots man-handled Peyton Manning’s receivers he had the league officials enforce the rules that were already on the books to prevent contact after five yards. Now look what its done to pro football! He’s also the guy that had the maintenance people jack up the head the year the Colts came back in the second half to defeat a flu-struck, fading Patriots defense (We won’t even bring up the terrible spot that officials gave the fourth-and-one pass play to Kevin Faulk) and piped crowd noise through the PA system when the Pats had the ball. Enough? No? How about throwing games so they could draft Andrew Luck? AND, probably the flagrant of offenses – getting the Colts into the AFC South. Indianapolis, IN in the South????
    Looks like Bruce Arians was more responsible for the Colts success last year than Chuck Pagano after he was thoroughly outcoached by BB. Perhaps Polian can work behind the scenes and legislate to have the two teams swap coaches!

  33. Got to give credit to the Patriots. Playing like they are ready for anybody. Two best right now have to be Pats and Packers.

  34. Thank you, Brazzo for giving me a chuckle this morning!

    By the way dear, do you need some help straightening your tinfoil hat?


  35. @brazzz01

    I know Bud Selig has had a rough go of it with the MLB roids scandals and declining ratings, but accusing him of rigging NFL games seems unfair.

  36. Their system is the best. Keep on plugging guys in from other teams and they keep it rolling.

  37. I really wanted Miami to keep this guy as the physical smasher type back. Instead they kept others and still don’t have a guy that can consistently get two yards on 3rd and 1. They should have signed him off the Pats practice squad as soon as Moreno was put on IR but they brought back Thomas instead. I thought that he would be a good short yardage back but I would never have guessed a ~200yd/4TD game. Congrats on a great game.

  38. Brady vs. Luck:

    November 18, 2012: 59-24 Patriots
    January 11, 2014: 43-22 Patriots
    November 16, 2014: 42-20 Patriots

  39. It ended up being not important, but the touchback call was botched. It was a SAFETY.

    Quoting the NFL rulebook digest:

    The important factor in a safety is impetus. Two points are scored for the opposing team when the ball is dead on or behind a team’s own goal line if the impetus came from a player on that team.

    Examples of Safety:

    (a) Blocked punt goes out of kicking team’s end zone. Impetus was provided by punting team. The block only changes direction of ball, not impetus.

    (b) Ball carrier retreats from field of play into his own end zone and is downed. Ball carrier provides impetus.

    (c) Offensive team commits a foul and spot of enforcement is behind its own goal line.

    (d) Player on receiving team muffs punt and, trying to get ball, forces or illegally kicks (creating new impetus) it into end zone where it goes out of the end zone or is recovered by a member of the receiving team in the end zone

    See (d) above.

    In this case, a Colts player, while trying to pick up the ball that was not in the end zone, and further that was no longer moving toward the end zone, indisputably provided the impetus for the ball to go back into the end zone by accidentally contacting it with his foot. It was not an intentional/illegal kicking, but by rule it doesn’t have to be. He provided the force, the impetus, for the ball to end up where it did.

  40. Watching that human highlight reel called Gronk do his thing in the waning minutes of game, was priceless. He was not to be denied his touchdown run. His bouncer impersonation of taking Brown out of the club was hilarious. Looking at the replay of Grey’s touchdown, I see this left to right blur of Gronk hauling out the trash talker. You don’t see that too often…
    If Brady can give away the ball twice in the first half, and the team can still rebound and crush a decent team, all things are looking good. Usually, the team flounders when Brady isn’t playing his A game. Would like to have seen better defensive back play on passing plays, but all in all, a good game.

  41. Using a reference to a book and failed movie to describe a great performance by Jonas Gray is LAME, someone tell this writer he’s only got a job as long as he performs and this story is no performance piece, more a piece of crap!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.