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Colts Big Fourth Quarter Not Enough in 31-24 Loss to Pats

For all the losses that the Colts have suffered in 2011, getting a win over Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots would have been oh so sweet.

Would have.

The Colts Sunday put up a game effort – in the fourth quarter that is. It was not enough, as the Patriots 31-3 lead stood up in topping the Colts 31-24.

The Colts tied the score 3-3 on Adam Vinatieri’s 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter. And the Patriots punted on their next series.

Then Brady got the offense rolling as New England scored touchdowns on its next four possessions, taking a 31-3 lead late in the third quarter.

The Colts had a new defensive coordinator, linebackers coach Mike Murphy, after Larry Coyer was fired Tuesday.

But the Patriots rarely lose in December, no matter their opponent. They’re 38-5 in that month starting in 2001, tops in the NFL. And they’re 19-1 at home in December, with wins in their last 18 games, since Gillette Stadium opened in December 2002.

Trailing 31-3, the Colts rallied with a touchdown run by Donald Brown and scoring passes of 33 and 12 yards from Dan Orlovsky to Pierre Garcon, the last with 36 seconds to go. But Deion Branch recovered the onside kick and Tom Brady took a knee on the final play.

The Colts must beat Baltimore, Tennessee, Houston or Jacksonville to avoid becoming the second NFL team to go 0-16.

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