- 13 Jun 2018, 15:25 #17390
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- LeGarrette Blount wasnt satisfied with three short touchdown runs, not against a team coming off the second greatest comeback in playoff history. So the 250-pound back who makes long runs routine took off on a 73-yarder and carried the New England Patriots to their third straight AFC championship game with a 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. Suddenly, the ground game has replaced Tom Brady as the heart of the Patriots offence. "Once I get into the open field, theyre going to have to chase me," Blount said. "And if they catch me, they do. And if they dont, they dont. They usually dont." They didnt two weeks earlier when he scored on runs of 36 and 35 yards in the regular-season finale against Buffalo. He also returned kickoffs 83 and 62 yards in that 34-20 victory that gave New England a first-round bye. And they didnt on his long touchdown that gave the Patriots (13-4) a 36-22 lead early in the fourth quarter against the Colts (12-6). The Patriots will face the winner of the game Sunday between the Broncos and Chargers. It will be in Denver if the Broncos win, and New England will host it if the Chargers win. "Its just a great achievement," Brady said. "People have counted us out at times this year, but I think weve got a locker room full of believers." Blount tied Curtis Martins team playoff record of 166 yards rushing, on 24 carries, two weeks after rushing for a career-high 189. "Hes got that combination of size, power and quickness and speed," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He can run hard. He can make guys miss and he can go the distance." Blount scored on three 2-yard runs in the first half, then burst through the right side for his 73-yarder. Once he reached the end zone, he placed the ball gently on the ground made soggy by a game-long rain. On the next series, Luck threw his third interception and the Patriots capitalized with Stevan Ridleys second touchdown run, a 1-yarder that finished the scoring with 11:12 left. "Im just disappointed in myself," Luck said. "I cant commit that many turnovers and have a chance to win against a great team like this." 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. The Patriots six rushing touchdowns tied the 49ers total in that game for second most in playoff history. Blounts performance came two weeks after he ran for 189 yards and returned two kickoffs for 145 in a 34-20 victory over Buffalo in the regular-season finale. Billed as a matchup between quarterbacks -- long-time great 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 had 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. "We had our chances, man, to make plays and get our offence back on the field," Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. "Last game, we were able to do that, but it was a great quarterback, a great offence and a great team we were facing (Saturday)." The Colts trailed 21-12 at halftime, then cut the deficit 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. "We just had to keep our foot on the gas pedal," Blount said, "and make sure that they didnt to us what they did to Kansas City." Blounts first touchdown came on New Englands first offensive play after Alfonzo Dennards interception. He scored again on the Patriots second series. Luck responded with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Brazill. Former Patriot Adam Vinatieri set an NFL record with his 59th post-season extra point, making it 14-7. Blounts third touchdown came 4:06 into in the second quarter before Vinatieris 36-yard field goal made it 21-10. The Colts got a break late in the first half when Danny Aikens snap sailed over punter Ryan Allens head, ending up in a safety. The Patriots also got a break that the Colts didnt get a touchdown out of it after Allen failed to concede the safety. Allen fumbled into the air and Indianapolis Jeris Pendleton slapped the ball out of the end zone. "Ryan probably wasnt sure how close they were to him," Belichick said. Allen hurt his shoulder on the play and placekicker Stephen Gostkowski punted the rest of the game. Brady took over Allens holding duties. Indianapolis got the ball on the free kick, but the drive ended with Lucks second interception. Vinatieris 21-yard field goal early in the third quarter made it 21-15. Then the Patriots took a 29-15 lead on Ridleys 3-yard run and his carry for a 2-point conversion. But Luck came right back with his second touchdown pass to Brazill. "We didnt accomplish the ultimate goal," Colts running back Donald Brown said, "but there are definitely some positives to look back on." Brady completed 13 of 25 passes for 198 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Luck was 20 for 41 for 331 yards. Notes: Former NBA star Charles Barkley was in the Patriots locker room after the game. "Im a big fan of his," Belichick said. ... A moment of silence was held for 17-year-old Sam Berns of Foxborough, whose battle with a rare and fatal genetic condition that accelerates the aging process inspired Patriots players and was the subject of an HBO documentary "Life According to Sam." He died Friday. He had been invited by Patriots owner Robert Kraft to be the teams honorary captain Saturday. Dan Marino Dolphins Jersey . 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Everybody does this, of course, in a sport with a 30 per cent success rate at the plate long proven to be a benchmark of excellence.Wimbledon, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Former champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova secured first-round victories Tuesday at Wimbledon. The world No. 1 Williams hurried past fellow American Anna Tatishvili 6-1, 6-2 on the famed Centre Court, while the fifth-seeded former top-ranked star Sharapova won her eighth straight match on tour with a 6-1, 6-0 pasting of helpless Brit Samantha Murray on the No. 1 Court. Williams owns 17 Grand Slam singles titles, including five Wimbledon crowns. The reigning U.S. Open champ is now 71-9 at Wimbledon, including seven trips into the final at the All England Club. Sharapova, fresh off her French Open title three weeks ago, captured her lone Wimbledon title in 2004 by stunning Williams in the final and was the runner- up here in 2011. Up next for the Russian great will be Swiss Timea Bacsinszky. Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska popped seven aces and committed only six unforced errors on her way to a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Romanian Andreea Mitu in less than 50 minutes, Estonian Kaia Kanepi upset seventh-seeded former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2, and ninth-seeded German Angelique Kerber dismissed Radwanskas younger sister, Urszula, 6-2, 6-4. Jankovic has always struggled on the Wimbledon grass, where shes never reached a quarterfinal and has fallen in round one on four occasions. Kerber was a grass-court runner-up in Eastbourne last week. Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki also advanced, as the 16th-seeded Dane posted a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Shahar Peer of Israel, while 19th-seeded Sabine Lisicki beat Israels Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-1 in her first matchh back on Centre Court.dddddddddddd. The German slugger Lisicki lost to the since-retired Marion Bartoli in last years finale at the AEC. The 29-year-old Bartoli was on hand Tuesday to take part in a special coin toss ceremony. She was greeted with a kiss from the chair umpire and a standing ovation from the crowd, her eyes all the while brimming with tears. An upset came when Frances Caroline Garcia took out 14th-seeded former French Open runner-up Sara Errani, of Italy, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5. Errani, who was also an opening-round loser here last year, has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon, including three first-round exits now in seven trips. Also on Day 2, 15th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro charged past Chinese Zhang Shuai 6-1, 6-2; 20th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic, a French Open semifinalist, topped Polands Katarzyna Piter 6-1, 6-4; 25th-seeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet overcame Slovak Anna Schmiedlova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito overcame and upended 28th-seeded two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; American Victoria Duval drove out 29th-seeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; and 31st-seeded Czech Klara Koukalova bested young American Taylor Townsend 7-5, 6-2. Several other women reached round two, including Americans Madison Keys and Varvara Lepchenko and Brit Heather Watson. Keys, fresh off her first-ever WTA title on the grass in Eastbourne last week, downed Puerto Rican Monica Puig 6-3, 6-3, while Lepchenko beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-2 and Watson cruised past Croat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-2. 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