New England took the lead less than 60 seconds later.
On second and 1, Luck overthrew Reggie Wayne and newcomer Talib was in the right place for his first interception as a Patriot.
His runback was impressive, with a cutback near the 35 that allowed him to finish with a 59-yard touchdown.
“The punt return for a touchdown, the interception return for a touchdown, those were awesome,” Brady said. “When you get those type of plays, those are game-changing plays. I don’t remember too many times when we’ve lost games when we’ve gotten returns for touchdowns.”
The Patriots went into halftime with a 24-17 lead, as both teams got field goals in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
The Colts had a chance to get 3 more points, but Adam Vinatieri missed a 58-yard try wide left.
“It [game] started off pretty good,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. “All of the things we said we needed to do to beat this team, we didn’t do. Defensive we really didn’t get off the field on third downs and we didn’t get any turnovers. We have to give credit to New England – they played a heck of a game.”
New England, which had won the opening coin toss and elected to defer, scored on its first possession of the second half, with Edelman getting a 2-yard reception in the end zone.
The game was effectively put out of reach, 38-17, after a Rob Ninkovich strip-sack well inside Indianapolis territory gave the offense a short field. Brady hit Gronkowski on the first play for a 24-yard touchdown.
“He is such a big body and a fluid receiver,” the Colts’ Tom Zbikowski said of Gronkowski. “It’s not like he is going to burn you with his speed but he finds a way to get open every time and they also have a pretty good quarterback that can put it where he needs it.”
The forced fumble was Ninkovich’s fifth of the year, tying Mike Vrabel (2007) for the team record for a season.
“We were trying to make sure [Luck] wasn’t getting out of the pocket,” Ninkovich said. “The game plan was to restrict the pocket, try not to let him make plays with his feet.
“I didn’t see the ball until it was at my feet — I didn’t know if he threw it or what, I just knew I hit him.”