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INDIANAPOLIS – Tom Brady has the New England offense operating at peak efficiency.
If they keep it up, the Patriots might be uncatchable.
While Jonas Gray ran for a career-high 199 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns, Tom Brady threw for two scores and helped the surging Patriots blow out Indianapolis again, this time 42-20 Sunday night on the Colts' home turf.
"I think you have to be able to find different ways to win depending on the matchup you get and you have to devise a game plan that you think is going to work," Brady said. "Once you get in there, you see if it works and if it's going good, you kind of stay with it but you've got to be able to adjust."
The Patriots (8-2) have made the adjustments look easy.
They've won six straight and topped the 40-point mark four times since getting blown out at Kansas City on Sept. 29.
And since losing starting running back Steven Ridley with a season-ending injury to his right knee, coach Bill Belichick has reverted to his mix-and-match tactic and come up with some surprising answers — none more so than Gray, a third-string running back who was on the verge of not making the team out of training camp.
After running 32 times for 131 yards and no scores all season, Gray, who played college football at Notre Dame, came out of nowhere to overpower the Colts (6-4).
How good was he? Gray's four TD runs matched the entire total of the rest of the NFL on Sunday.
"I never look for the home run a whole lot. I kind of just want to set the tone and run downhill and get the extra yardage," Gray said.
Indy's defense never found the answer.
New England reached the red zone five times and scored touchdowns on all five possessions. The Patriots punted only once all night. And even Andrew Luck, who was 23 of 39 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, couldn't bail out the Colts this time.
"That will be the theme we take from this game: We've got to score touchdowns in the red zone," an exasperated Luck said. "It's up to us to fix what we did wrong and move on."
Here are some other takeaways from Sunday night:
PLAYOFF POSITION: New England now has the inside track to the top seed in the AFC. After beating Denver and Indianapolis, with a bye in between, the Patriots have a one-game lead on the Broncos and a two-game lead over the Colts and Browns. The Pats also have tiebreakers over the Broncos and Colts thanks to head-to-head wins.
DOMINANT DEFENSE: Belichick always has a defensive surprise for the Colts. What he did for most of Sundays' game was match Darrelle Revis 1-on-1 with Reggie Wayne, use extra defenders against T.Y. Hilton and dare the Colts to run. It worked flawlessly. Indy ran 17 times for 19 yards.
PROVING GROUND: The Colts still have control of the AFC South, but there are still big questions about this defense. Fans want to know what they can expect — the defense that shut out Cincinnati or the one that gave up six touchdown passes to Ben Roethlisberger and 42 points to New England?
RECORD WATCH: Next week, Luck will be on his own record watch. After his eighth straight game with 300 or more yards, Luck can tie Drew Brees' NFL record against Washington next week.
INJURY CONCERNS: Tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle) and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (lower left leg) did not return Sunday night after leaving the game. Bradshaw is expected to have an MRI. After the way the defense played, the Colts can't afford to lose either player.
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