The Patriots and Colts will meet for the 67th time, as the former AFC East rivals square off in the playoffs for the second consecutive season and for the second time in 2004. The teams squared off in this year's season opener in addition to last season's AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium and a memorable regular-season shootout in November 2003. But a rivalry between the teams is nothing new. The Patriots and the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts played twice each year from 1970 to 2001 as members of the AFC East, with the exception of the 1982 strike year. New England has had more success against the Colts than any other team in the NFL, with the Patriots' .637 winning percentage ranking as their highest against any team they have played more than 10 times. New England is 16-4 against Indianapolis since 1993, and has won 13 of the series' last 15 games, including the last five in a row dating back to the 2000 season. The games have tended to be high-scoring affairs, as the Patriots have scored 20 or more points against the Colts in 14 of their last 15 meetings and have scored 38 or more points in three of the last five clashes.
PATRIOTS - COLTS QUICK HITS
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick is 6-1 against the Colts as the head man in New England and is 8-3 against Indianapolis as a head coach overall.
- Patriots QB Tom Brady is 5-0 against the Colts and owns a completion percentage of 67 percent in his five games against Indianapolis.
- Patriots K Adam Vinatieri is 30-31 in his career for a field goal percentage of .968 against the Colts.
- The Patriots have not lost a home game to the Colts since a 14-point defeat on Nov. 19, 1995.
- The Patriots and Colts have combined for more than 50 total points in each of their last five regular-season meetings.PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will lead their offensive teams against each other for the sixth time and for the second consecutive year in the playoffs. Brady has compiled a 5-0 record against the Colts, helping the team put up an average of 34.2 points per game in games he has started. Brady's first NFL start came against Indianapolis in a 44-13 win on Sept. 30, 2001. Brady recorded the highest passer rating of his career (148.3) against the Colts on Oct. 21, 2001. The Patriots defense has had past success against Peyton Manning and the Colts offense, leading New England to wins in nine of the 11 games Manning has started against the Patriots.
2003 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
The last time these two teams met in the postseason, a trip to Super Bowl XXXVIII was on the line as the Patriots and Colts fought for the AFC Championship. The Patriots struck first with a Tom Brady touchdown toss to David Givens in the first quarter. Kicker Adam Vinatieri added six points with 31- and 25-yard field goals during the second stanza to give New England a 13-0 lead.
The Colts put together a 12-play, 52-yard drive in the first half of the third quarter to get on the board with an Edgerrin James rush for a score. The Patriots quickly answered with another Vinatieri field goal, this one from 27 yards out. With 1:36 left in the third quarter, Vinatieri booted yet another field goal, a 21-yarder, putting New England up 21-7 and moving them a quarter closer to a Super Bowl berth. The Colts shifted to a no-huddle offense in the fourth quarter and finally hit paydirt with a Peyton Manning to Marcus Pollard touchdown pass with 2:30 remaining, cutting the Patriots' lead to 21-14. A 34-yard field goal, Vinatieri's longest on the day, with 55 seconds to go sealed the Patriots' AFC Championship title, 24-14.
The Patriots have an all-time record of 66-41-1 (.616) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against each team. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (20-16-1), Indianapolis (42-24), Jacksonville (4-1) and Houston (1-0). New England has won each of its last seven games against AFC South teams, including a 6-0 mark in 2003, sweeping the division in the regular season and defeating Tennessee in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game and Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game.
PATRIOTS IN DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
The Patriots have compiled a 5-4 all-time record in divisional playoff games, including a 3-1 home mark in such contests. Recently, Patriots divisional playoff games have been close contests, with New England grinding out three-point victories in 2001 and 2003. The Patriots have won three of their last four divisional round games and have been victorious in four of their last six such contests.
RECENT PATRIOTS-COLTS GAMES
The Patriots have enjoyed recent success against Indianapolis, having won 16 of the last 20 games between the clubs. New England has won five consecutive games against Indianapolis, and has won 13 of the last 15 tilts. The Patriots are 15-4 against the Colts since Robert Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick began his NFL coaching career 30 years ago as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975 under head coach Ted Marchibroda.
- Patriots assistant head coach/offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia was the offensive line coach for the Colts from 1989-90. Outside of those two seasons, Scarnecchia has been on the Patriots sidelines for each year since 1982.
- Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely got his first NFL coaching job as the special teams and tight ends coach of the Colts. He spent five years with the organization.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his first NFL start against the Colts and completed 13 of 23 passes for 168 yards in a 44-13 victory on Sept. 30, 2001.
- Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin grew up in Indianapolis and attended Broad Ripple High School in the city. He went on to attend Purdue University, where he was a three-year starter.
- Patriots tackle Brandon Gorin was born on July 17, 1978, in Muncie, Ind., and earned first-team all-state honors as a defensive tackle at Southside High in Muncie. Gorin was a three-year starter at right tackle for the Purdue Boilermakers.
- Patriots tackle Matt Light earned four letters at Purdue University (1996, 1998-2000), earning All-Big Ten conference first-team honors in 2000.
- Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson was born on Aug. 17, 1980 in Merriville, Ind. where he attended Merriville High. He earned an All-Duneland Athletic Conference selection, Conference MVP, two All-Indiana selections and Defensive Player of the Year honors.
- Patriots guard/center Gene Mruczkowski attended Purdue University, where he started all 49 games of his four-year career at guard or center.
- Colts strength and conditioning coach Jon Torine played football at Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he received his bachelor's degree in exercise science.
- Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney was born in Hartford, Conn., and attended Bloomfield High School, where he was a SuperPrep, Prep Football Report, USA Today, New Haven Register, Hartford Courant and Blue Chip Illustrated All-American selection.
- Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks was the secondary coach for St. Louis in 2001, when Patriots linebacker Don Davis was a member of the Rams' Super Bowl XXXVI team.
- Patriots wide receiver David Givens and Colts defensive back Gerome Sapp were college teammates at the University of Notre Dame.
- Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch and Colts defensive back Anthony Floyd were college teammates at the University of Louisville.
- Patriots safety Je'Rod Cherry and Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn were college teammates at the University of California.
- Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson and Colts wide receiver Aaron Morehead were college teammates at the University of Illinois.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Colts defensive tackle Josh Williams were college teammates at the University of Michigan.
BY THE NUMBERS
THE KRAFT ERA
The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.885 win pct).
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.646 win pct).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.632 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.750 win pct).
WHAT A RUSH
The number of yards per rush the Patriots averaged in 2004.
The last season in which the Patriots averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry as a team, dating back 19 years to the 1985 team's average of 4.13 yards per carry.
The number of points the Patriots scored this season, a total that ranks second in franchise history, just four points behind the team mark set in 1980.
The number of points the Patriots allowed this season, the second fewest in franchise history for a 16-game season.
The Patriots' total points differential in 2004, a mark that led the NFL and set a new franchise record, besting the 140 mark set in 1976.
The average number of points per game the Patriots allowed in 2004, a number that ranked third in franchise history and tied for second in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The number of times in the 20 seasons since Bill Belichick was first named a defensive coordinator (NYG, 1985) that his teams have allowed fewer than an average of 20 points per game.
The number of consecutive seasons the Patriots have ranked among the league's top two teams in scoring defense. Last season, the Patriots led the NFL by allowing 14.9 points per game.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in total offense.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in rushing offense
The number of seasons since the Patriots had such a highly-ranked rushing offense, dating back to 1985.
The number of years since the Patriots were last ranked in the top 10 in offense, dating back to when they were ranked seventh in 1996.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in total defense.
The number of NFL teams ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense in 2004 (New England and Denver).
The number of yards rushing Corey Dillon gained this season, setting a franchise record and career high and placing him third in the NFL despite having missed a game due to injury.
The number of games this season in which Dillon has passed the century mark in rushing yards, tying the Patriots franchise record and establishing a career high.
The average number of yards Dillon gained in the 15 games he played in this season, giving him the best yards-per-game played average among all NFL rushers.
The number of touchdowns Dillon recorded, a career high.
The number of rushing attempts Dillon recorded in 2004, setting a career high and placing him second in Patriots' history.
The average number of points the Patriots allowed at Gillette Stadium this season.
The number of sacks the Patriots registered this season, tied for the second most in the NFL and establishing their highest sack total since also recording 45 sacks in 1997.
The number of Patriots defenders who registered at least one sack on the season.
The number of games this season in which the Patriots held opponents to fewer than 300 net yards.
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 25 points or more.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 21 points or more.
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Consecutive games in which Matt Light has started at left tackle.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover differential.
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored in the second quarter.
Consecutive victories at Gillette Stadium (19 games including playoffs).
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.