By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Squared off against one another on Gillette Stadium turf for the first time since the infamous birth of Deflategate in the 2015 AFC Championship Game, it’s been more of the same in this absurdly one-sided rivalry, as the New England Patriots have got off to a strong start against Indianapolis Colts.
In what was an entirely too easy first half for the Patriots, it’s been quarterback Tom Brady that’s led the charge with a 23-for-27 start for 203 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown on his patented quarterback sneak play.
On the other side, meanwhile, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has done his best to keep up, with completions on 11-of-17 passes for 96 yards. No. 1 running back by default, Nyheim Hines, has contributed just 22 yards on eight carries.
But the most egregious error of the first half undoubtedly came when Luck was under pressure and tried to force a pass into no man’s land, where it was intercepted by Patrick Chung with under a minute to go in the half.
That was more than enough time for the Patriots to get into scoring range, and add points by way of a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with just 13 seconds left.
The Colts’ deficit should not be this daunting, of course, but a miss by Adam Vinatieri on his first attempt of the night has not helped their situation.
It’s been enough for the Patriots to carry a 24-3 lead into halftime.
Here are three thoughts from the opening 30 minutes of action…
Julian Edelman returns to action
The Patriots did not waste a second getting wide receiver Julian Edelman, who missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL and the first four games of the 2018 season due to a PED violation, back involved in their offense.
On their first play of the game, and with weapons (weapons!) at Brady’s disposal, the 41-year-old quarterback immediately found Edelman for what was a nine-yard pickup that kicked off a 75-yard, game-opening scoring drive.
Later in the first, Brady found Edelman deep for what would have been a massive gain, too, but No. 11 dropped the wide-open look. And overall, that drop stands out as Edelman’s lone mistake of the half, as he appears conditioned, and has already been a weapon in the punt return game.
At the half, Edelman has hauled in three of his four targets for 28 yards.
Sony Michel showing power running game
With 44 yards on 11 carries through the opening two quarters, Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel is not currently projected to come even close to matching his 112-yard performance against the Dolphins last week.
But you are certainly seeing what Michel can do with a power-running game, as he’s twice blasted through Indy defenders (and left ’em reeling) with downfield strides. Given the ease with which the Patriots are passing the ball, they’ll happily take any sort of powerful contributions from the first-year Michel.
Andrew Luck got absolutely demolished
This isn’t even a thought, really, but look at what Colts franchise centerpiece Andrew Luck survived in the first quarter.
The Colts will get the ball to begin the second half.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.