NE-IND Grades: Brady’s brilliance powers Pats to victory
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots 34-27 victory over the Colts:
– This was a game of two halves for Andrew Luck (-1.8) and the Colts, as a strong first half gave way to a more familiar and erratic tune against the Patriots. While Luck didn’t throw any interceptions and kept pulling out big throws right until the end of the game, his accuracy and decision-making deteriorated in the second half, and he forced passes into coverage that might have been intercepted without the intervention of his receivers or stronger plays on the ball by New England defenders.
– After a solid rookie season, left guard Jack Mewhort (+3.3) has turned into the greatest success of this young season for the Colts after they called time on the experiment to play him at right tackle. Since Mewhort was moved back to guard in Week 3, only three guards (Marshal Yanda, Joel Bitonio, and Evan Mathis) have bettered Mewhort’s +9.8 overall grade, and none have bettered his +8.6 run block grade that he added to with his fourth straight grade of +1.0 or better last night.
– Tom Brady’s average time to throw was up on his season average last night (2.39 seconds, season average of 2.15 seconds), but that still didn’t help the Colts bring the heat to the Patriots’ signal caller off the edge. Their outside linebackers combined to register just one sack, one hit and two hurries with Jonathan Newsome (+0.2) their only edge rusher with multiple pressures. Trent Cole (-0.9) jumped offsides twice and had his biggest impact through a batted pass while Erik Walden (+1.1) was shut out on 21 pass rushes.
LG Jack Mewhort (+3.3)
RG Hugh Thornton (+3.2)
RT Joe Reitz (+1.6)
HB Frank Gore (+1.3)
WR Donte Moncrief (+1.2)
New England Patriots
– Only drops and batted passes threatened to derail another accomplished performance from Tom Brady (+3.4) as he led the Patriots to another victory. One of two drops by Julian Edelman (+0.6) led directly to a pick-six to put the Patriots down early in the second quarter but a scoring strike from Brady to Rob Gronkowski (+1.5) just after the half gave New England a lead they never surrendered.
–This season has swayed from busy days to quiet days for Malcolm Butler (+3.4), but the Patriots’ corner stood up to his thorough examination, breaking up three passes after giving up a touchdown to Donte Moncrief (+1.2) on the Colts’ opening drive. Since being targeted 11 times by the Steelers in Week 1, Butler had only seen as many targets in the three games since, but last night was thrown at a career-high 13 times, surrendering seven catches for 83 yards to go with his three pass defenses and three stops.
– After returning to the lineup against the Cowboys last week, Dominique Easley (+3.4) showed this week what the Patriots have been missing without him in the lineup early this season. Racking up eight pressures against the Colts’ interior offensive line on only 21 pass rushes, Easley earned the highest pass rushing productivity (29.8) of any defensive tackle this week.
QB Tom Brady (+3.4)
CB Malcolm Butler (+3.4)
DT Dominique Easley (+3.4)
DE Chandler Jones (+3.0)
WR Danny Amendola (+2.1)