6 Keys from Patriots loss to Colts in Frankfurt
The Patriots strung together their longest opening drive of the season to open the game, however, a third-down sack inside the red zone forced them to settle for a 37-yard field goal that handed the Pats an early 3-0 lead. The sack was an early harbinger of third-down problems to come.
The 13-play, 61 drive featured big plays from Mike Gesicki, who secured a tough catch on an initial third-and-7, and Ezekiel Elliott, who took a screen pass for 19 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson also racked up 19 yards on three carries.
It was a pretty good start for the Pats considering how some of their starts have gone this season, but it was frustrating to settle for three points instead of seven, as the interior push from big-time problem DeForest Buckner helped blow up the final third-down play.
The Colts would carry some momentum over from that red zone stop, with Gardner Minshew picking up a big third-down conversion on a 30-yard scrambling throw to former Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie along their way to the end zone. Running back Jonathan Taylor was an issue for the Patriots defense on the drive, picking up 31 yards on the ground as well as the drive-capping touchdown on a fourth-down attempt from the one-yard line.
It was a 14-play, 75-yard drive that almost saw the Patriots force an initial three-and-out but instead lasted over seven minutes. Indy took a 7-3 lead as the Patriots were left to figure out how to contain Taylor and the big plays.