FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — LeGarrette Blount ran the Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback victory, beating the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 on Saturday night.
Blount scored on three 2-yard runs in the first half, then burst through the right side of the line and rambled 73 yards into the end zone, where he placed the ball gently on the ground made soggy by a game-long rain. He finished with 166 yards on 24 carries.
On the next series, Luck threw his third interception and the Patriots capitalized with Stevan Ridley’s second touchdown run, a 1-yarder that finished the scoring with 11:12 left.
The Patriots (13-4) 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. The Colts (12-6) never led.
“It’s just a great achievement,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “People have counted us out at times this year, but I think we’ve got a locker room full of believers.”
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. And the six rushing touchdowns by the Patriots tied the 49ers’ total in that game for second most in playoff history.
Blount’s big rushing performance came two weeks after he ran for 189 yards and returned two kickoffs for 145 yards in a 34-20 victory over Buffalo in the regular-season finale.
“He’s 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.”
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.
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