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Jonas Gray scores four TDs as Patriots bulldoze Colts

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Jonas Gray tied a franchise record with four rushing touchdowns, leading the New England Patriots to a 42-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. Our takeaways:

1. The Pats trampled the Colts' run defense for 234 yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs last year. They had the same game plan Sunday, pushing the Colts defense around with a physical tone set on the first drive. Gray, on the practice squad a month ago, became the first New England player with at least 100 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a regular-season game since Tony Collins in 1983. He churned out tough yardage between the tackles and consistently moved the chains without a single negative run among his 38 totes. The Pats have scored 144 points in their last three meetings with the Colts.

2. The Patriots' defense, on the other hand, suddenly looks stout. They shut down the Broncos' ground attack in Week 9 and held Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson to four yards on 14 carries. For those scoring at home, Gray had nearly as many rushing touchdowns (four) Sunday night as Richardson has (five) in 25 games with the Colts. Gray was signed as a street free agent. Richardson was acquired for a first-round draft pick.

3. The loss was costly for Indianapolis. Tight end Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw were both ruled out with ankle injuries. Bradshaw was sent for X-rays, which is especially concerning considering his long history of foot problems.

4. Coby Fleener turned in the game of his life, getting physical with Brandon Browner and making a series of tough catches. This performance comes one game after posting the third-highest yardage total of his career versus the Giants. Regardless of the severity of Allen's injury, he's earned a bigger role in Andrew Luck's aerial attack.

5. Reggie Wayne touted New England's secondary as the best he has faced in 14 years. They lived up to the hype, shutting down T.Y. Hilton and limiting Colts wideouts to just 10 catches.

6. The Patriots have a two-game lead in the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed. They are averaging 40.5 points per game since the Week 4 blowout loss to the Chiefs and appear to be the most complete team in the league. The Colts, by contrast, are constrained by a one-dimensional offense and a defense that is too easily bullied by quality opponents.

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