- iHaveNet.com: NFL Football
By Dean Michaels, NFL Writer
LeGarrette Blount set a Patriots' playoff record with four touchdowns as New England advanced to its third straight AFC Championship Game with a 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
In his first career playoff game, Blount tied Curtis Martin's record with 166 rushing yards, doing it in 24 touches. He also became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 125 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.
"It means a lot. I'm excited that they gave me the chance to carry the ball enough times to do that, but I've got to say hats off to the offensive line because on a couple of those runs, I didn't get touched," Blount said.
Stevan Ridley carried the ball 14 times for 57 yards and two scores for the Patriots, who won even without a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady completed 13 of 25 passes for 198 yards without an interception, leading the Patriots to their 8th conference championship appearance since he started as quarterback under Bill Belichick in 2001. Brady now has 6,147 career postseason passing yards, the most in NFL history. Peyton Manning is second with 5,909 career postseason passing yards.
The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship Game against the winner of Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers.
If the Broncos win, the showdown will be played in Denver. If the Chargers prevail, the Patriots will host the championship game.
Andrew Luck finished 20-for-41 for 331 yards and two touchdowns but he had four interceptions, bringing his total to seven in two playoff games.
T.Y. Hilton, Luck's primary target, caught for passes for 103 yards while LaVon Brazill was the recipient of Luck's two touchdown passes.
Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri set the playoff record for most PATs when he made his first one in the first quarter. The 41-year-old Vinatieri now has 60 PATs in his playoff career.
Blount put the Patriots ahead, 14-0, after two rushing scores but Luck found Brazill for a 38-yard touchdown pass to bring the Colts within a touchdown.
Blount made it a 21-7 game after a two-yard scoring run before Vinatieri buried a 36-yard field goal and Ryan Allen fumbled through the end zone, cutting the Patriots lead to 21-12 at the break.
With the win, head coach Bill Belichick earned his 19th career postseason victory (19-8, .704). Belichick is now tied with Don Shula (19) for the second-most playoff wins in NFL history, trailing Tom Landry (20) for most in NFL history.
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