The New England Patriots beat up the Indianapolis Colts last night in the AFC Championship Game. The offensively charged Patriots won 43-22, but surprisingly the victory had very little to do with quarterback Tom Brady. In fact, the future Hall of Famer, three time Super Bowl Champ and perennial top-ranked passer only threw for 198 yards with no touchdowns.
The Patriots passing game has been limited. No Aaron Hernandez, no Danny Woodhead, no Wes Welker, no Rob Gronkowski. Coach Bill Belichick needed to find a better way to defeat the Colts. And he did, on the ground. The Patriots typically use a running back by committee approach. Last night, however, most of the heavy lifting was accomplished by LeGarrette Blount who ran for 166 yards and four touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Andrew Luck made some great plays. He was somehow able to survive last week's game against the Kansas City Chiefs by staging a miraculous comeback even though he threw three interceptions. Belichick's defense was not going to let the same thing happen. Luck threw four interceptions last night, including one pick on his first possession that got ran back for a defensive touchdown. Not a great way for the young signal caller to start the game against the number two ranked team in the AFC .
Professor Tom Brady has completed his lesson to Andrew Luck and the Colts. Next stop - AFC Championship Game. pic.twitter.com/6FZpOa6CtR
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 12, 2014
It's hard to believe that it's been nine years since Brady won his third and last Super Bowl. In order for the 36-year-old quarterback to tie his childhood idol Joe Montana's four rings, he'll need to get through the Denver Broncos next week in the AFC Championship Game in Denver. It will be another Brady versus Manning meeting. The match up between two of the game's elites has easily become one of the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
The two quarterbacks have faced each other a total of 12 times. Brady has the edge at 8-4, however, seven of those wins were ultimately decided by a touchdown. The winner of Sunday's game will earn the right to represent the AFC at Superbowl XLVIII on February 2nd.
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