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Posted by Michael David Smith

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APFor the eighth time in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, the Patriots are heading to the AFC Championship Game.

New England kept it on the ground to beat Indianapolis on Saturday night, with LeGarrette Blount running for four touchdowns and Stevan Ridley running for two more. New England won 43-22 in a game that the Patriots controlled throughout and put out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Blount had a brilliant game, rushing for 166 yards and becoming just the second player in NFL postseason history to score more than three touchdowns in a game. (Ricky Watters of the 49ers owns the all-time record, having scored five touchdowns in a playoff game in January of 1994.)

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw some outstanding passes and showed that he’s one of the most talented young players in the NFL, but he also threw some bad passes and was intercepted four times. The Patriots’ defense frequently gave Luck trouble, and New England linebacker Jamie Collins in particular had an excellent game. It was a win in which the Patriots had plenty to be proud of on both offense and defense.

Now the Patriots will watch Sunday’s Chargers-Broncos game to find out their opponent in the AFC Championship Game. If the Chargers win, New England will host next week’s game. If the Broncos win, the Patriots will travel to Denver for the AFC Championship, and we’ll be treated to a week of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning hype.

But for all the talk about the quarterbacks, if tonight’s game was any indication, the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game plan will include a heavy dose of Brady handoffs. This was a game the Patriots won on the ground.


Keefe was guest of Tom Brady

Danny Keefe, 6, with one of his Bridgewater Badgers coaches, Tom Cooney, as the team gets ready to go on the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro for the New England Patriots game against the Buffalo Bills.

Emily J. Reynolds/The Enterprise

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. —The rain didn’t dampen the spirit of 6-year-old Danny Keefe, who was a special guest of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, our news partners at The Enterprise reported.

Clad in bright yellow rain gear, and surrounded by his teammates, Danny was all smiles as he posed for photographs before the Patriots’ regular season finale against the Buffalo Bills.

Brady invited Danny and his friend, Tommy Cooney, who live in Bridgewater, and their teammates to attend Sunday’s game. The boys each received special gifts from Patriots owner Bob Kraft: a neck tie, a Brady jersey and a football signed by Brady himself.

They walked onto the field with their fathers, Mark Keefe and Tom Cooney; Danny’s brothers, Matty and Timmy Keefe, and teammates Jack Morgan and Danny Doherty.
Danny, the official water coach for the Bridgewater Badgers Peewee football team, made headlines last month when The Enterprise reported his teammates had rallied together to support him after they saw Danny was getting picked on because of the way he speaks.

On Sunday, Danny and his teammates watched pre-game warm ups on the sidelines, posed for photographs with the mascot and two cheerleaders, and were interviewed by television media.

Since his story broke, Danny has been busy on the television interview circuit.

On Dec. 12, the dapper 6-year-old and his friend Tommy Cooney were in Los Angeles to be guests on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”