So, not quite what we expected. Not the result, mind you, but how we got the result. Jonas Gray ran for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Patriots 42-20 victory in Indianapolis in his debut performance, and the Patriots ran for 244 yards total.
I think most of us expected Tom Brady to throw for 4 touchdowns against a Indianapolis Colts defense ranked 27th against the pass before this game and 2 rushing touchdowns mixed in there as well. No one expected Gray to hit nearly 200 yards on his own and be the go-to guy tonight, but I'm sure most of Patriots nation is glad he did. I think a lot of fans, myself included, expected Brady & Co. to exploit the Colts struggling pass defense, given the way Brady has been playing in the last 5 games. Brady came out tonight and struggled (he threw 2 picks in the 1st half), forcing the Pats to rely on the run, and Jonas Gray was up to the challenge tonight.
Jonas Gray's performance is reminiscent of Lagarrette Blount in the Divisional Round against Indy back in January of this year - Blount ran for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was the same type of power running gaming, and the Patriots had success with it again, winning that game by a score of 44-23. Clearly there is something about running the ball against Indianapolis. With this win, the Patriots are now in prime position for the #1 seed in the AFC East, but face a tough stretch ahead - they come home to face the Detroit Lions, then go on the road to face the Green Bay Packers (a prospect that honestly scares me). With the emergence of Gray, though, it adds another dimension to the Pats offense and makes them that much tougher.