INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts had a glimpse of a possible victory Sunday. Then New England quarterback Tony Eason and the Patriots' defense went to work.
"We're glad to get out with a victory," New England Coach Raymond Berry said. "We fell behind but kept our poise and came back. We just took one play at a time and played better in the second half and shut them down."
The Patriots, playing without five injured starters, trailed at halftime before Eason rallied them to a 30-21 win with a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes.
New England improved to 7-3 with its fourth straight victory, while the Colts fell to 0-10.
Eason completed 19 of 33 passes for 240 yards. His touchdowns went for two yards to Irving Fryar and eight yards to Willie Scott, wiping out the Colts' early 11-point lead and keeping them the only winless team in the NFL.
Tony Franklin, whose field goals of 38 and 31 yards accounted for New England's only points in the first half, added a third field goal from 24 yards out early in the final quarter.
The Colts surprised the favored Patriots with the passing of rookie quarterback Jack Trudeau and two first-half touchdowns.
The Colts built a 14-3 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Randy McMillan in the first quarter and a one-yard run by Trudeau in the second period.
Trudeau, who finished with 236 passing yards, completed 19 of 36.
But repeated penalties on the Colts and four pass interceptions by New England, including two by Steve Nelson, kept Indianapolis from scoring in the second half until the closing minutes of the game.
"The only victory is when the final gun goes off," Indianapolis Coach Rod Dowhower said. "Until then, you don't even think about it.
"Our inconsistencies on offense caught up with us, and defensively, their speed hurt us."
Nelson's second interception was returned 17 yards to the Indianapolis one, and Mosi Tatupu ran twice before scoring from the one midway through the final period. Then Indianapolis went 61 yards for its last touchdown, a 19-yard pass from Trudeau to Matt Bouza with 35 seconds to go.
The 21 points marked a season high for Indianapolis, but the Colts were hurt by 7 penalties for 85 yards.