FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — LeGarrette Blount had two 2-yard touchdown runs, and the New England Patriots led the Indianapolis Colts 14-7 after one quarter in a rainy AFC divisional round playoff game Saturday night.
On the Colts' third play from scrimmage — third-and-2 from their 28 — Andrew Luck threw a short pass for LaVon Brazill that Alfonzo Dennard got his hands on and snatched from the receiver. Dennard ran down the right sideline before stepping out of bounds at the 2.
Tom Brady & Co. wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with a handoff to Blount, who went off left tackle and into the end zone to give New England (12-4) the lead 1:19 into the game.
Blount scored on another 2-yard run to cap the Patriots' second drive, putting New England up 14-0 midway through the opening quarter. It marked the third straight game that Blount has run for two touchdowns.
Brady completed four passes for 57 yards on the 10-play drive, becoming the first NFL quarterback to throw for over 6,000 yards in the postseason.
The Colts (12-5) bounced back with an impressive drive of their own, capped by Brazill's 38-yard touchdown catch in stride over the hands of Dennard to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 4:35 left in the first quarter. Luck completed third-down passes of 9 yards to Coby Fleener on third-and-3 and 22 yards to Griff Whalen to set up the score.
The Colts' Adam Vinatieri, a former Patriots star, set the NFL mark with his 59th career playoff extra point after Brazill's score.
The winner advances to play the winner of Sunday's matchup between San Diego and Denver in the AFC championship game next Sunday.
After a soaking rain drenched the area for most of the day, there was a steady mist at kickoff with temperatures an unseasonably warm 57 degrees.
The Colts are coming off a stunning 45-44 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend in which they overcame a 38-10 third-quarter deficit in the wild-card game for the second-biggest comeback victory in NFL playoffs history.
T.Y. Hilton's 13 receptions against Kansas City tied for the second most in an NFL postseason game. Luck's 443 yards passing and four TD throws against the Chiefs were both the second most in team playoff history, behind Peyton Manning.
The Patriots, who had a first-round bye and are 8-0 at home this season, are trying to become the first team since the Philadelphia Eagles to reach at least three consecutive conference championship games. Philadelphia reached four straight in the NFC from 2001-04.
The Colts were without wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who did not practice all week because of a hamstring injury. Anticipating his absence, Indianapolis signed former New England receiver Deion Branch to help fill the void, but he was inactive for the game.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org