Patriots-Colts: Notes, quotes

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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

--The young Indianapolis Colts took the next step in their rebuilding, winning one playoff game this season after losing its only postseason game a year ago.

"At the end of the day, we didn't accomplish our goal, but there are certainly positives to look back on," running back Donald Brown said after the 43-22 loss to the New England Patriots in Saturday night's AFC divisional game.

--Quarterback Andrew Luck, finishing his second NFL season, threw four interceptions in the final loss. But he also showed flashes of how great he can be, passing for 331 yards and two touchdowns and showing remarkable poise in the pocket.

"He played great," Patriots counterpart Tom Brady said. "He threw the ball great. He moves, he runs, he's strong, he's got a great arm. Obviously, the team believes in him. I thought he played real well."

Imagine this kid with a running attack, an offensive line, and what might have happened if tight end Dwayne Allen and wide receiver Reggie Wayne not been lost to season-ending injuries.

--Adam Vinatieri is still the greatest kicker in Patriots history. He returned to Foxborough with the Colts on Saturday night. "It's always a fun place to play," he said. "The fans are electric. You know when you come in here it is going to be a battle and you are playing a really good football team."

He said he spoke to both Brady and coach Bill Belichick. "I have a lot of admiration for both of them. I talked to Tom before the game. We just kind of hung out and talked about family a little bit. As we were leaving, I told Bill good luck with the rest of it and go get them."

At 41, Vinatieri says he wants to keep kicking.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

--Two weeks ago, in the regular-season finale, coach Bill Belichick talked about how running back LeGarrette Blount had carried the team on his back in his career-high 189-yard game against the Buffalo Bills. On Saturday night, Blount ran for four touchdowns, three 2-yarders and then a 73-yard burst through the line.

""I'm loving it," Blount said of his first playoff game. "(To) come out here and get this win against a great Colts team, it just shows how good our team can be."

--Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was forced to also handle the punting duties after Ryan Allen was injured Saturday night, and he did very well.

"You can't prepare for something like that," Gostkowski said. "I'm lucky enough to do a good job and help the team win. It's hard to have too much fun when my compadre is sidelined with an injury, but it's about as much fun as I can have if I'm not kicking field goals."

--Quarterback Tom Brady hasn't had to be the star in the last three Patriots wins, completing only 41 passes while his team totaled 118 points.

"We keep playing like that, the way our defense is getting the ball for us, and really what we've done the last three or four weeks, the running game has just been awesome. It's helped everything out. And it does, it makes it easy when you hand it off and it goes 70 yards for a touchdown.

"That's a great feeling and a great way to score. Hopefully, we can keep doing it. Hopefully, we can do it next week, too."

QUOTES

"We can't make mistakes. A great team like New England will exploit you when you don't play your best football." -- Colts LB Robert Mathis after the loss.

"I said earlier that 31 out of 32 teams are going to end the season with a loss. Unfortunately, we are one of them. We lost to a good team, give credit to them, they beat us today." -- Colts TE Coby Fleener

"No. A Super Bowl (would have made the season a success). We have high expectations for ourselves. It is what it is." -- Colts LB Jerrell Freeman

"I think it was when I played in the Orange Bowl. I don't even do it in practice. They said, 'Get in there and do it,' and I said, 'What do I say?' But we figured it out." -- Patriots QB Tom Brady on the last time he held for a kick.

"I love it. Just the atmosphere throughout the building the whole week, the atmosphere pregame, the atmosphere throughout the game, there's nothing better than that." -- Patriots CB Aqib Talib after the win.

"I didn't look at the big screen until I got free. I looked at it to see if anybody was close to catching me, and they weren't, and the rest is history." -- Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount talking about his 73-yard touchdown run.
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