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Local Sports

January 7, 2014

The next challenge

Patriots look for ways to attack Indy's defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — A defense that allowed 44 points in a playoff game might boost the confidence of its next opponent.

Such generosity rarely leads to wins.

But the New England Patriots aren’t counting on the Indianapolis Colts being that vulnerable again.

“I hope we can find something that we can move the ball with,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday, “but you have to go out there and execute it and do it at a high level.”

Much of the focus in the Colts’ 45-44 AFC wild-card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday went to quarterback Andrew Luck for directing a comeback from a 38-10 third-quarter deficit. The defense that put Indianapolis in that hole got far less attention.

In the first half, the Chiefs marched 82, 79 and 81 yards to touchdowns and 73 yards to a field goal after kickoffs or punts.

Did Belichick spot anything he could exploit when the Patriots host the Colts in a divisional-round game Saturday night?

“We might get an idea or two from that game and the other games they played before that,” he said, “but we’re not going to change our wholesale offense just because we saw somebody else do something. That’s what [the Chiefs] do. We’ll try to find things that we can do that we feel like we can attack the Colts with.”

Things, perhaps, like those the Patriots did last season in a 59-24 win over Indianapolis. That tied a team record for most points scored in a game. But the Colts’ defense wasn’t entirely to blame. New England returned two interceptions and a punt for touchdowns.

Turnovers also plagued the Colts against the Chiefs, leading to 17 points. That was uncharacteristic of Indianapolis, which committed an NFL-low 14 turnovers in the regular season. And the Colts allowed only 186 yards in the second half after giving up 327 in the first.

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