Tom Brady Makes More History, Leads Patriots To 38-24 Win Over Colts

Brady fires 3 TDs, including 500th of regular season career, while his connection to Josh Gordon marks 71st different TD target.


FOXBORO — Tom Brady was not about to let the Colts spoil the return of his best friend Julian Edelman. But the Patriots quarterback did steal the show in a 38-24 win over the Colts at Gillette Stadium on Thursday Night Football.

What better way to welcome his best buddy back to the Patriots than to make NFL history. Brady fired a 34-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon in the fourth quarter to help hold off a Colts comeback bid. It was the 500th of Brady’s regular season career and the 71st different player to catch a touchdown from Brady, breaking the previous record held by Vinny Testeverde.

Brady finished was 34-of-44 for 341 yards and three touchdowns and a TD run. He was intercepted twice but both interceptions were the result of glaring ball security mistakes by his receivers.

Edelman, in his first game of consequence since Super Bowl LI, caught seven passes on nine targets for 57 yards. The Patriots improve to 3-2 on the season and have 10 days before concluding their 3-game homestand with a Sunday night showdown against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Oct. 14 at Gillette Stadium.

The short-handed Colts were without No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton, tailback Marlon Mack and starting tight end Jack Doyle. On defense, starting slot corner Kenny Moore was also out.

On the first drive of the game, Tom Brady fed Edelman with a bullet of a pass on a quick hitter off the line of scrimmage for nine yards. The crowd, which was charged up for Edelman’s return, roared with approval.

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Brady was picture perfect on the opening drive, completing all nine pass attempts for 78 yards and a 1-yard touchdown to Cordarrelle Patterson on the in-cut, the same play the Patriots ran for Danny Amendola on the game-tying 2-point conversion of Super Bowl LI.

The total dominance continued on defense, as the Patriots forced a 3-and-out from Andrew Luck, highlighted by a jailbreak sack split between Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung, with Jonathan Jones looking on. That forced a punt that Julian Edelman returned 15 yards to the Colts 49.

Edelman did show some rust when he dropped a third-down pass down the left sideline when he was wide open down the Colts 25. The Patriots punted and pinned the Colts down at their own 6. The Colts responded with an impressive drive, marching all the way down to the Colts 21. But Patriots legend Adam Vinatieri yanked his 38-yard attempt and it clanked off the left upright.

The Patriots took advantage of their good fortune from their former kicker, driving 72 yards in eight plays, capped off by Tom Brady’s dive over the pile for a quarterback keeper touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

The Colts did manage another drive of 39 yards that resulted in a 54-yard Vinatieri field goal, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 14-3.

The Patriots finished out the first half with a methodical drive down the field, going 68 yards in 11 plays. But a hold by Marcus Cannon pushed the ball back to the Indy 13, where the Patriots had first and goal. But Brady made up for it when he threw a pass to a wide open James White in the left flat. White made his way in from six yards out for a 21-3 lead.

Patrick Chung picked off Andrew Luck at midfield with :38 remaining in the half. The Patriots were able to get to the Colts 28 where they settled for a 45-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 24-3 halftime lead.

Brady’s halftime stats were spectacular. He completed 23-of-27 passes for 207 yards, two touchdowns and a TD keeper.

It looked like more of the same to open the second half when the Patriots forced the Colts to punt on their first possession. But after a punt pinned the Patriots at their own 5, Brady could not engineer a first down. That resulted in a punt and a 33-yard Chester Rogers return to the Patriots 35. Luck needed just four plays to find paydirt for the first time, a 14-yard Luck-to-Ebron connection in the left corner of the end zone with Devin McCourty in coverage.

The Patriots appeared headed for their customary touchdown answer drive to end any doubt. But a Brady pass went right off the hands of Chris Hogan and into the waiting arms of Matthias Farley for the turnover. Inexplicably, Farley and the Colts defenders ran to the goal line in the south end zone and posed for a mock picture, taunting Patriots fans.

But the Patriots got their revenge soon after when McCourty yanked the ball out of the arms rookie back Jordan Wilkins at midfield. The Patriots again appeared ready to capitalize, only to see the Colts force a fumble from Gronkowski at the Colts 6 that was ruled the second interception of the night on Brady. Najee Goode picked up the ball out of the air and returned it to the Colts 20.

Andrew Luck marched the Colts 80 yards in 10 plays, featuring a pair of key third down conversions to Eric Ebron. Luck found third string tight end Eric Swoope on a slant from 13 yards for a touchdown with 12:48 left that suddenly made it 24-17 New England.

But Brady answered. He directed a six-play, 75-yard drive, capped off when he had loads of time in the pocket and threw to the right corner of the end zone from 40 yards out. Gordon ran to the spot, beat two Colts defenders and came down with the ball for the score that made it 31-17 with 9:19 left.

On the next drive, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones converged on Zach Pascal and Jones picked off the ball and returned it 28 yard to the Indy 34. On the next play, Sony Michel got to the left sideline and went in untouched for a 38-17 lead. Luck added a 1-yard TD pass to Ebron with 1:11 remaining to make it 38-24.