By: Ian Logue
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). It was also Brady’s 30th of the season, which is the third time in his career with 30+ in a season. It also increased his total to 291, tying him with Warren Moon for 6th place all time. 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. 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 Patriots 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.