FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Alfonzo Dennard watched himself on the video board as he raced 87 yards with an interception for a touchdown. He wanted to see if the star rookie who threw the pass might catch him.
The way the Patriots were playing — with their usual strong offense, big plays on defense and a punt return touchdown — there was no way Andrew Luck and the Colts could overtake them.
And a former Buc acquired in a high-profile trade gave the Patriots the lead for good.
The Patriots, the league's highest-scoring team, equaled their record for points in a game with a 59-24 win on Sunday.
"The coaches want us to play aggressive," said Dennard, whose TD made it 45-17. "So that's what I was doing out there."
But there was some bad news for New England, too.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski left with an arm injury with about four minutes left. Comcast SportsNet New England reported that X-rays showed Gronkowski had a broken forearm. NFL Network reported that he would miss 4-6 weeks.
He caught two touchdowns, giving him seven in his past four games and 10 this season, and finished with seven catches for 137 yards. The Patriots' other valuable tight end, Aaron Hernandez, is out with a sprained right ankle.
The first matchup between three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and star rookie Luck was no match. Brady threw for three touchdowns. Luck threw three interceptions.
"They're good enough," Luck said. "They don't need those gifts, but to their credit, they created those and we didn't."
Patriots newcomer Aqib Talib — whose productive but troubled tenure with the Bucs ended with a trade this month — returned an interception for a 59-yard touchdown in his New England debut after completing his four-game suspension for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
"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."
New England equaled the team mark for points set in a 59-0 win over the Titans on Oct. 18, 2009.