FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A little guy who came out of nowhere overshadowed the NFL’s biggest stars.
Sure, Tom Brady outdueled Peyton Manning in their annual meeting, a 31-28 New England victory over Indianapolis on Sunday. Yet it was Danny Woodhead, a 5-foot-8 running back from Division II Chadron State, who got most of the attention – if you could find him. The Colts couldn’t.
Woodhead scored on a weaving 36-yard burst, showing power, speed and agility. Seconds after his brilliant third-quarter run, Woodhead made a sensational tackle on the ensuing kick return.
“I do everything to make the play, whether I’m a runner, a receiver or on a kickoff,” said Woodhead. “Maybe (I carry) a little chip, but I’m not too worried what everybody thinks about my size, weight or height. My worry is about doing my job, whatever that might be.”
His job is being versatile, something his teammates appreciate.
“He can kind of hide behind the guys, but on the special teams that just shows you what type of football player he is,” said Deion Branch, who caught seven passes for 70 yards.
Brady was brilliant for the second straight week, coming off a 350-yard, three-touchdown performance against Pittsburgh. Brady had only six incompletions in 25 passes and threw for two TDs as the Patriots built a 17-point lead and held on.
Brady felt the Patriots let it get too close before James Sanders’ interception at the New England 6 with 31 seconds remaining clinched the win.
“Certainly in the fourth quarter we had some opportunities to go up three touchdowns on them, a couple of other third downs which we could’ve converted,” Brady said.
When they didn’t, Manning pounced.
“We were in an uptempo mode the last seven minutes,” Manning said. “We almost scored three touchdowns. But you’re playing against the clock.”
Patriots 31, Colts 28
NE—Welker 22 pass from Brady (Graham kick), 8:00.
NE—Hernandez 8 pass from Brady (Graham kick), 13:15.
Ind—Robinson 1 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 7:53.
NE—Green-Ellis 5 run (Graham kick), 3:34.
Ind—Wayne 11 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), :04.
NE—Woodhead 36 run (Graham kick), 1:11.
NE—FG Graham 25, 10:23.
Ind—White 5 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 7:57.
Ind—White 18 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 4:46.
|Total Net Yards||467||346|
|Time of Possession||29:21||30:39|
RUSHING—Indianapolis, D.Brown 17-68, J.James 3-3. New England, Green-Ellis 21-96, Woodhead 7-69, Morris 2-5, Brady 4-(minus 2).
PASSING—Indianapolis, Manning 38-52-3-396. New England, Brady 19-25-0-186.
RECEIVING—Indianapolis, Wayne 8-107, Tamme 7-60, Garcon 5-62, Collie 5-60, White 5-42, J.James 4-24, D.Brown 3-40, Robinson 1-1. New England, Branch 7-70, Welker 5-58, Woodhead 4-21, Gronkowski 1-25, Hernandez 1-8, Green-Ellis 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.