FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04: Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Indianapolis Colts calls out the play in the second quarter against the New England Patriots on December 4, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
If you only watched the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes of the Colts 31-24 loss to the Patriots Sunday, you would have seen the Colts look much better than they have over the past 2 months. They had three long drives, ending in two touchdowns and a field goal, and the defense held the Patriots to just 3 points.
Unfortunately, the middle 20 minutes count as well.
Rob Gronkowski scored three touchdowns, one of which on what was ruled a lateral, to lead the way for the Patriots. The Colts defense started to drop into zones, got no pressure on Tom Brady, and he had all day to find his receivers in the open spots in the Cover 2. Brady finished 29/38 for 293 and the 2 TDs to Gronkowski. The Patriots four TDs all happened in rapid succession, two in the final three minutes of the first half, and two more in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter.
New Colts QB Dan Orlovsky easily played the best QB game by a Colt all season, completing 30 of 37 passes for 353 yards, two touchdowns to Pierre Garcon, and an interception. The three long drives had 19, 15, and 11 plays respectively, three of the longest drives by the Colts all season. He looked calm in the pocket, found his open receivers, and made just two bad passes all game, one of which was caught by Patriots LB Jerod Mayo. The three touchdown drives came with the Colts already out of the game, but at this point I'll take anything that is positive when it comes to Colts quarterbacks. They haven't taken advantage of garbage time in the past, so maybe this week will give them some confidence going into next week.
Donald Brown once again looked good running with 41 yards on 14 carries and a nice TD run. I think we've seen the last of Delone Carter, who fumbled again after not playing the past few weeks. Both Pat Angerer and Jerraud Powers left the game in the first half with injuries, as did Terrence Johnson. We'll get updates on those guys later in the week.
The Colts fall to 0-12 on the season, but there are a lot positives to take out of this loss. I'm pretty sure had we seen Orlovsky last week, the Colts would have a win. I feel better about it happening in the last four weeks, if only the defense can help the cause.