By Chad Finn, Globe Staff
By the usual NFL measures, it was another outstanding Sunday for Tom Brady.
The stat sheet: Brady finished 29 for 38 for 293 yards, with two touchdown passes (both to Rob Gronkowski) and a 115.4 rating.
The record book: Brady's two touchdown passes gave him 31 on the season, making him just the sixth quarterback in league history with three seasons of 30 or more TD passes. He threw 36 last year and a league-record 50 in 2007. He also passed Johnny Unitas and moved into a tie with Warren Moon for sixth place all-time in touchdown passes with 291.
The scoreboard: Patriots 31, Colts 24. The Patriots had a 31-3 lead and ended up with the win, which of course is always Brady's first priority.
So it was somewhat surprising -- though maybe it shouldn't have been given his competitiveness -- that Brady was quick to emphasize the Patriots' struggles in the fourth quarter during his postgame press conference.
The Patriots picked up just 11 yards in the final quarter -- none via the air. They were 0 for 3 on third down and did not pick up a first down as the Colts outscored the Patriots, 21-0, in the fourth.
"We played good for 45 minutes, and then didn't do anything offensively in the fourth quarter," Brady said. "So we'll here about that tomorrow."
The Patriots thrived while running the no-huddle in the second and third quarters, including a pair of touchdowns -- an 11-yarder to Gronkowski and a 1-yard run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- in the final 2:57 before halftime. Brady emphasized that all 11 players on offense must be on the same page for the no-huddle -- or anything else, really -- to work,
"I thought we definitely did that at times today," Brady said, before turning again to the fourth-quarter struggles. "The middle part of the game was awesome. We just came up a quarter-of-a-yard short on one drive, and never got out of a long yardage situation on the second-to-last drive. We'll try to do a better job of that next week."