Lions' next opponent: Country Day's Jonas Gray leads Patriots
Indianapolis — Tom Brady keeps finding ways to beat Indianapolis.
Sunday, he relied on New England's running game to deliver the body blows. Then he came up with the knockout punch.
Jonas Gray (Detroit Country Day) rushed for a career-high 199 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns, leading Brady and the Patriots to a 42-20 victory over the Colts.
Brady threw two touchdown passes in the second half of New England's sixth consecutive victory, the last to Rob Gronkowski with 6:46 left. He was 19 of 30 for 257 yards with two interceptions.
"We put together a great game plan and we hammered it in all week," said Gray, who began the day with 131 yards rushing over his first three NFL games this season. "A lot of times that's what we're best at."
The AFC-best Patriots (8-2) also have won five straight over the Colts (6-4).
The result could have major playoff implications for the Colts, who have now lost head-to-head matchups with Denver and New England.
Andrew Luck was 23 of 39 for 303 yards and two TDs, running Colts' franchise record for consecutive 300-yard games to eight. He needs one more to match Drew Brees' NFL record.
But Gray was the surprise star. He had scoring runs of 4 and 2 yards to help New England to a 14-10 halftime lead. And after Brady opened the third quarter with a 2-yard TD pass to Tim Wright, Gray had another 2-yard scoring run and a 1-yard TD plunge to run the lead to 35-20.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick followed the same tack he used in last season's 21-point playoff victory over Indy — by relying on the run.
The Patriots rushed for 244 yards on a night when Brady struggled at times. But he was still good enough to deliver another frustrating blow to the Colts in one of football's fiercest rivalries.
Unlike Luck's previous two losses in the series, he minimized his mistakes Sunday. The third-year quarterback threw one interception — costing the Colts a scoring chance when Darrelle Revis deflected a pass that was picked off by Devin McCourty.
"We were really determined and we played well," Revis said.
As usual, Brady wasted no time taking advantage of the miscue. He led the Patriots on a 68-yard drive that ended with Gray's first 2-yard TD.
Indianapolis had just 19 yards rushing and the defense couldn't get the Patriots' surging offense off the field. The Colts also lost two players, with tight end Dwayne Allen departing with an ankle injury in the first half and running back Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined by a lower left leg injury in the fourth quarter.
The Colts had no answers for Gray or Brady.
After the Patriots forced a three-and-out on the game's opening series, Gray capped an 89-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run.
Adam Vinatieri answered with a field goal, but Gray made it 14-3 with a 2-yard run with 3:50 left in the first half.
Then, after Brady threw an uncharacteristic interception with 1:16 to go, Luck hooked up with Hakeem Nicks on a 10-yard TD pass to cut the halftime deficit to 14-10.
Brady improved to 12-4 against the Colts, and Belichick tied Curly Lambeau for the second-most consecutive non-losing seasons (14). Only Tom Landry (20) had more.
Vinatieri also reached two milestones against his former team — scoring eight points for his 17th 100-point season, breaking a tie with Jason Elam for the most in NFL history, and becoming the fourth member of the 2,100-point club. He finished the game with 2,106 points.
"Very disappointed, not acceptable by any means," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "I felt like we played better than we did, but any time you give up the rushing yards we gave up and can't get off the field and they go 5 for 5 in the red area again, give them credit. They beat us soundly."
Lions vs. Patriots
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
TV / radio: Fox / 97.1-FM
Records: Lions 7-3, Patriots 8-2
Series: Patriots lead, 6-4
Last meeting: Patriots won 45-24 in 2010