Some highlights from the third quarter:
Gronkowski nearly broke the NFL all time single season touchdown reception record by a tight end, but the play was ruled a lateral. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
The Patriots opened the third quarter by surprising Indianapolis by going to the no-huddle offense. They went 77 yards on just 7 plays, the final of which was a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, his 13th of the season and it tied him for the most all time in a single season with Vernon Davis (2009) and Antonio Gates (2004). Â It was also Brady’s 30th of the season, which is the third time in his career with 30+ in a season. Â It also increased his total to 291, tying him with Warren Moon for 6th place all time. Â That extended their lead to 24-3.
New England then forced a turnover on their ensuing drive, with Matthew Slater forcing a fumble by Delone Carter and Kyle Arrington recovered, giving the Patriots the ball at their own 34 yard line.
From there Brady took them 66 yards on 9 plays, and initially found Rob Gronkowski for what would have been his 14th touchdown of the season, giving him the NFL single season record for tight ends. Â It also put the Patriots up 31-3 with 4:13 to go in the third quarter.
The play was later ruled a lateral, which still left him tied for the record.
The PatriotsÂ lead 31-3 at the close of the third quarter.
Some Stats heading into the fourth quarter:
- Tom Brady is now 27-of-33 for 293 yards and two touchdowns (QB Rating of 123.9
- Wes Welker has had a big day, with 10 catches for 111 yards.
- Rob Gronkowski has 5 catches for 64 yards and three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing thanks to the play that was ruled a lateral.