Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

AFC: Blount leads Patriots' rout of Colts

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — LeGarrette Blount had three 2-yard touchdown runs in the first half and a 73-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to lead the Patriots to a 43-22 win over the Colts in an AFC division game Saturday night.

The Patriots are in the AFC title game for the third consecutive seasons and eighth time under quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

"It's just a great achievement," said Brady, who was 13-of-25 for 198 yards. "People have counted us out at times this year. But I think we've got a locker room full of believers."

The Patriots host the game if the Chargers win today but go to Denver if the Broncos win.

Blount temporarily broke New England's playoff record with 169 rushing yards. But on his final carry (No. 24), he lost 3 yards and tied Curtis Martin's record of 166 set Jan. 5, 1997.

He did break Martin's franchise record for rushing touchdowns — regular season or playoffs — and he became only the second player in NFL history to score more than three touchdowns in a playoff game. Ricky Watters scored five (all rushing) for the 49ers in a 44-3 victory against the Giants in the division round Jan. 15, 1994.

Blount spent three seasons with the Bucs. In 2012, he ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns — total. In April, they traded him for running back Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick.

In his first 14 games for New England, Blount didn't gain more than 65 yards and ran for three touchdowns — total. But he went for 76 and two touchdowns in Week 16 against the Ravens, then 189 and two against the Bills to help New England clinch a first-round bye.

"He's got that combination of size, power and quickness and speed," said Belichick, whose 19th playoff win tied him with Don Shula for second all time, one behind Tom Landry. "He can run hard. He can make guys miss, and he can go the distance."

Stevan Ridley rushed for two touchdowns. And the Patriots' six rushing touchdowns were one short of the playoff record set by the Bears in a 73-0 win over the Redskins in the 1940 title game.

Blount's short touchdown runs put the Patriots up 21-3. His long touchdown run made it 36-22 2:05 into the fourth. On the ensuing possession, the third of Andrew Luck's career-high four interceptions was returned to the Colts 18 by rookie linebacker Jamie Collins. Five plays later, Ridley ran it in from 1 yard.

Luck, who threw three interceptions last week against the Chiefs, finished 20-of-41 for 331 yards and two touchdowns.

Comments
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

NFL playoff chase

Playoff chaseNFCPos. Team Rec Div ConfDivision leaders1. Eagles-E-* 12-2 5-0 10-12. Vikings-N-z 11-3 3-1 8-23. Rams-W 10-4 4-1 7-44. Saints-S 10-4 3-1 7-3Wild card5. Panthers 10-4 2-2 6-46. Falcons 8-5 2-1 7-2Contention7. Lions 8-6 4-1 7-48. Seahawks...
Updated: 5 hours ago
NFL Week 15: What we learned

NFL Week 15: What we learned

First the Phillies sign ex-Rays reliever Tommy Hunter. Then Eagles backup QB Nick Foles steps in for MVP candidate Carson Wentz and throws four TD passes in a 34-29 come-from-behind win at the Giants. What a week for Philly fans, huh? The win clinche...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Published: 12/16/17
Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Published: 12/16/17
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Published: 12/16/17
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Published: 12/16/17