TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At New England Patriots

Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Colts pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoff history when they overcame a 38-10 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Andrew Luck threw three interceptions to put the Colts in a hole, but he never surrendered and passed for 443 yards and four TDs to rescue the Colts. Luck is a strong athlete with a powerful arm who has many of the intangible qualities needed to win championships.
Winner Tom Brady did not have his best season, but he was good enough to lead the Patriots to the AFC East title and the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Brady is a smart leader and an accurate passer who knows how to make the big play at the key moment. Brady completed 60.5 percent of his passes and he had a 25-11 TD-interception ratio. He also has three Super Bowl championship rings.
Offense
The Colts erred badly when they traded a first-round pick to acquire Trent Richardson. But despite that mistake, they have hard-working Donald Brown to take pressure off of Luck. Brown ran for 537 yards and has a 5.3 yards per carry average. T.Y. Hilton is a game-changing receiver who caught 13 passes for 224 yards and two TDs vs. Kansas City. Coby Fleener is a fine complementary tight end.
Winner The Patriots have used running backs Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen to give them a capable running game. Wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have been solid weapons who can make big plays for Brady. Edelman caught 105 passes this season, while Amendola caught 54 balls. Kenbrell Thompkins caught eight passes of 20 yards or more.
Defense
The Colts ranked 20th on defense and while they have a tendency to give up a lot of yards, they also have a tendency to make big plays. Nobody makes more big plays than defensive end Robert Mathis, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman had six forced fumbles and he is one of the hardest hitters in the league. Cornerback Darius Butler had a team-high four interceptions.
Winner The Patriots struggled on defense for the majority of the season. They have had trouble with the run since losing Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo to injuries. When the Pats play well on defense, they lean on defensive end Chandler Jones, who had a team-high 11.5 sacks. Aqib Talib is a solid cover corner who will have to find a way to slow down the explosive Hilton.
Special Teams
The Colts have done a decent job in their special teams coverage, but they are not a major threat to make big plays with their own return game. Adam Vinatieri made 35-of-40 FG attempts this season, while Pat McAfee averaged 46.0 yards per punt.
Winner The Patriots have had an excellent year in special-teams coverage, and they have gotten good production from Josh Boyce and Blount. Stephen Gostkowski is a top kicker who made 38-of-41 FG attempts, including 5-of-6 from 50 yards or longer.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
4 out of 4

The Patriots are in a familiar position. They are coming off a bye week and host a lower-seeded team in the divisional playoffs. While they have often been successful in this position, the Colts are going to fight hard for 60 minutes (or longer) and will push them to the limit.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports Contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  2. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS St. Louis

KMOX Podcasts
High School Spotlight
As Heard On KMOX

Listen Live