INDIANAPOLIS — Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will travel to Foxboro, Mass. to play Brady’s New England Patriots on Saturday night (8:15 p.m.).
While it will be the fourth postseason meeting between New England and the Colts, it will be the first head-to-head playoff match-up between Hall of Fame-bound Brady and Indianapolis second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
The two franchises squared off in a regular season game at Gillette Stadium last year with the Patriots coming away a 59-24 victor. Brady completed 24 of 35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns in that game. Luck, meanwhile, connected on 27 of 50 passes for 334 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Indianapolis players and coaches had to wait until the conclusion of the Chargers/Bengals game before knowing their next playoff opponent. The Colts advanced to the divisional round of the postseason with a wild 45-44 come-from-behind victory over Kansas City at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night.
Had Cincinnati won on Sunday, Indianapolis would have visited Denver’s Mile High Stadium for a rematch with the AFC West champion Broncos. The Colts won this year’s meeting with Denver, 39-33 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, speaking to the team’s media during a teleconference prior to the conclusion of the San Diego/Cincinnati game, didn’t care which Pro Bowl quarterback – Brady or Peyton Manning – his team faced this week.
“Either way it’s a huge undertaking and a huge challenge as we know,” he said, adding that the Colts have a lot of work to do in order to clean up mistakes from the Kansas City win. “Two of the best that ever played the game. We’ve faced both. We know both. Again, it’ll be a huge challenge. As far as a difference between the two of them, they’re both great quarterbacks. I know that. They’re both winners. Got Super Bowl rings to prove it. It’ll be a huge challenge.