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Colts/NFL

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Divisional
Saturday
Seattle 23, New Orleans 15
New England 43, Colts 20
Today
San Francisco at Carolina, 1:05 p.m. (Fox)
San Diego at Denver, 4:40 p.m. (CBS)
Associated Press
New England quarterback Tom Brady scrambles away from Indianapolis’ Jeris Pendleton.

Mistakes do in Colts

Associated Press photos
New England running back LeGarrette Blount breaks free from Indianapolis safety LaRon Landry and heads downfield for a touchdown during the second half Saturday, one of four TDs Blount scored.
New England’s Chandler Jones grabs Andrew Luck’s jersey as the Colts’ QB looks to pass.

– LeGarrette Blount ran the Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.

The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.

Blount scored on three 2-yard runs in the first half, then burst through the right side of the line and rambled 73 yards into the end zone, where he placed the ball gently on the ground made soggy by a game-long rain.

He finished with 166 yards on 24 carries.

On the next series, Luck threw his third interception and the Patriots capitalized with Stevan Ridley’s second touchdown run, a 1-yarder that finished the scoring with 11:12 left.

The Patriots (13-4) will face the winner of the game today between the Broncos and Chargers. It will be in Denver if the Broncos win, and New England will play host if the Chargers win.

The Colts (12-6) never led Saturday.

Blount joined Ricky Watters, who had five touchdowns for San Francisco on Jan. 15, 1994, as the only players with four or more in a playoff game.

And the six rushing touchdowns by the Patriots tied the 49ers’ total in that game for second most in playoff history. Blount’s big rushing performance came two weeks after he ran for 189 yards and returned two kickoffs for 145 yards in a 34-20 victory over Buffalo in the regular-season finale.

Billed as a matchup between quarterbacks – longtime great Tom Brady and second-year star Luck – the Patriots’ leader was content to hand off while Luck threw an interception on his second pass and never found consistency. He threw two touchdown passes to LaVon Brazill but also threw four interceptions.

Luck threw three interceptions a week earlier but led the Colts from a 38-10 deficit early in the third quarter to a 45-44 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild-card game.

The Colts trailed 21-12 at halftime against the Patriots and cut it to 29-22 on a 35-yard pass to Brazill with 5:01 left in the third.

The Patriots dominated the rest of the way.

Blount’s first touchdown came on New England’s first offensive play after Alfonzo Dennard intercepted Luck’s pass and returned it 27 yards to the 2.

Blount scored again on the Patriots’ second series in which Brady completed all four of his passes.

But Luck responded with a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by his 38-yard touchdown pass to Brazill, who was guarded closely by Dennard as he made the catch on the left side a few yards from the end zone. Former Patriot Adam Vinatieri set an NFL record with his 59th post-season extra point, making it 14-7.

Blount got his third touchdown with 4:06 gone in the second quarter on a drive in which the Patriots converted all four of their third downs.

Vinatieri cut it to 21-10 with a 36-yard field goal 5:35 before halftime.

The Colts got a break late in the first half when Danny Aiken’s snap sailed over punter Ryan Allen’s head. Allen ran back, recovered the ball at his 3, but fumbled into the air. Indianapolis’ Jeris Pendleton slapped it out of the end zone for a safety, cutting New England’s lead to 21-12 with 2:12 remaining.

Allen hurt his shoulder and placekicker Stephen Gostkowski punted the rest of the game.

Indianapolis got the ball on the free kick, but the drive ended with Luck’s second interception, to linebacker Donta’e Hightower.

Vinatieri’s 21-yard field goal early in the third quarter made it 21-15.

Then the Patriots took a 29-15 lead on Ridley’s 3-yard touchdown run and his carry for a 2-point conversion with 6:18 to go in the third.

But Luck came right back with his second touchdown pass to Brazill.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a 21-yard field goal on Indianapolis’ first possession of the second half to make it 21-15, but the Colts could have had more.

Luck completed consecutive passes of 40 yards to T.Y. Hilton and 16 to Coby Fleener to get the ball to the 4, but New England (12-4) made a defensive stand to keep Indianapolis out of the end zone.

Brady came out on the Patriots’ next offensive play and connected with a wide-open Danny Amendola for 53 yards.

New England moved down the field with an efficient nine-play, 88-yard drive that was capped by Ridley pushing his way into the end zone.

He then made it a two-touchdown game with a 2-point conversion.

But as he did last week against Kansas City, Luck showed he can put up points in a hurry, too.

First, he completed a 46-yard pass to Hilton and then hit Brazill for a 35-yard touchdown strike, his second of the game, with 5:01 left in the third quarter to make it 29-22.

The Patriots, who had a first-round bye and entered 8-0 at home this season, became the first team since the Philadelphia Eagles to reach at least three consecutive conference championship games. Philadelphia reached four straight in the NFC from 2001-04.

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