The first Andrew Luck vs Tom Brady matchup will go down as the teacher taking the student to the woodshed.
And it wasn’t pretty.
Luck was off all day, throwing 27-for-50 for 334 yards, but also tossing three picks, two of which were returned for touchdowns as the Pats pounded the Colts 59-24.
Aqib Talib put the Pats up for good at 21-14 with one pick for a score, and Alfonzo Dennard took back another pick 87 yards to put salt in the wound at 45-17.
“They’re good enough,” Luck said. “They don’t need those gifts, but to their credit, they created those and we didn’t.”
The Patriots, the NFL’s highest-scoring team, equaled their single-game scoring record for points with 59 in a game in which the Colts stayed competitive for a half.
“The coaches want us to play aggressive,” said Dennard, whose touchdown made it 45-17. “So that’s what I was doing out there.”
Pats TE Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes Sunday, giving him seven touchdown receptions in his last four games and 10 for the season.
He finished the game with seven catches for 137 yards, but broke his forearm during a late extra point.
“We knew we couldn’t come here and turn the football over and have a chance to win,” Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. “We’ve got a lot of rookies out there so every week is a learning experience. It was a bad learning experience.”
The Patriots (7-3) won their fourth straight game and extended their lead in the AFC East to three games over the other three teams. The Colts had their four-game winning streak stopped by the NFL’s best offense and one of its worst defenses.
The Patriots also scored on a 68-yard punt return by Julian Edelman three plays before Talib gave the Patriots the lead at 21-14.
“I don’t think guys panicked” after that one-two punch, Luck said. “Playing hard is not enough, as evidenced tonight.”
Brady completed 24 of 35 passes for 331 yards and no interceptions. Luck was 27 for 50 for two touchdowns and 334 yards and set an NFL record as the first rookie with five 300-yard games.
For the Colts, it’s an eduction, and with it comes a loss to put them at 6-4 on the season.