The New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts Sunday despite the wind and rain at Gillette Stadium. They won a commanding 45-7 victory in the American Football Championship. Next, they head to the Super Bowl, where they will face the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle come off a from-the-behind win over the Green Bay Packers.
Last year, you could have heard a pin drop in the Patriots locker room after New England lost a second straight AFC Championship. This time around, reporters had to push their way in, past celebrating players taking pictures of each other with the Lamar Hunt trophy.
Quarterback Tom Brady rushed by on his way to the showers, and even owner Robert Kraft joined in the locker room fun. He said this team is “special,” but he also praised the fans who stayed in their seats despite the driving rain and swirling winds.
“How about our fans tonight? Staying there where it looked like in the 3rd quarter that we had a commanding lead? And they stayed ‘til the end in the driving rain,” said Kraft. “Were any of you outside?”
As usual, tough conditions seemed to favor New England. The Patriots scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, but in the second Tom Brady threw an interception meant for tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the Colts came within seven. For a moment, it looked like Indianapolis might be able to mount a challenge, but less than five minutes into the second half, Brady threw a short pass to left tackle Nate Solder for a 16 yard touchdown. Solder became just the third member of the offensive line to catch a touchdown pass in Patriots history, and the Colts were never able to come back.
After the game, Solder was just happy the play worked. After all, the last time he’d caught a touchdown pass had been in high school. “I made it across the goal line. Ha ha ha,” he joked.
Tom Brady had kind words for the man whose job it usually is to protect him. "Tough conditions out there – it’s raining, I mean, for God’s sake and he runs over two guys to get in there,” Brady said. “So I don’t know, maybe we have more tricks up our sleeve."
It took a trick or two to push New England past the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, but this time around the Patriots seemed to be trying out some of their more unusual plays just for fun. When this team started the season 2-2, some pundits suggested that Brady was told and Belichick was out of tricks.
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell said the team was happy to prove those doubters wrong. “We started out slow and I know everybody was jumping off the bandwagon but man we still got applications for you to join these next few weeks,” said LaFell.
Far from being through, Brady will now head to his sixth super bowl, the most for any quarterback in NFL history. And Brady and Belichick have now won more games together than any other head coach and quarterback.
Up next is the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks. But veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork isn’t worried. “To play this good in the AFC championship that gives you some confidence going into the super bowl where we know if we play like this we give ourselves a good shot at winning,” said Wilfork.
The Patriots will face the Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona on February 1. With two weeks to prepare, Tom Brady says he’ll be ready.
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