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Colts vs. Patriots 2015 final score: 3 things we learned from New England's AFC Championship win

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The Patriots crushed the Colts in a downpour Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl. Here's what we learned from the beatdown.

The New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl after trouncing the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in the AFC Championship on Sunday. Outside of a second-quarter interception and subsequent touchdown drive, the Colts never threatened the Pats. Beneath sheets of rain, the second half belonged entirely to New England. The Patriots went on a 35-0 run, and that was that.

Tom Brady was solid despite the inclement weather, going 23-of-35 passing for 226 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. But as with the last time the Pats faced the Colts, it was the running game that shined brightest. LeGarrette Blount bludgeoned the Colts for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. For the game, the Patriots won time of possession 37:49 to 22:11. Late in the second half, the Colts' defense stood little chance against the Patriots' offensive line.

The biggest disappointment on the Colts' end was the disappearance of the passing game. Receivers once again struggled to get open and hold on to passes. This time, however, Andrew Luck was unable to make up the difference with his arm. The Colts' play of the game occurred on an impressive third-down catch for a 36-yard gain by T.Y. Hilton on the Colts' scoring drive.

That play accounted for 29 percent of Luck's passing yards on the day.

The Patriots advance to face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, and it's hard to argue they aren't worthy participants after their two wins in the postseason.

1) Tom  Brady gets in trouble when he locks on Rob Gronkowski

If there is truly a weakness to the Patriots' offense, it's perhaps the team's lack of depth in the receiving corps. When Julian Edelman briefly left the game with a hip injury, Brady tried REALLY hard to get the ball to Gronkowski, and the Colts were ready.

Gronkowski was targeted four times in the first half, and was held without a catch. Worse, Brady tried to force a ball to his double-covered tight end in the second quarter and was intercepted at the goal line. The Colts turned the turnover into their only touchdown of the game.

Of course, the interception meant little in the grand scheme, but it could be an ominous sign against a more opportunistic Seahawks defense in the Super Bowl.

2) The Colts needed to be perfect on offense

And they weren't close. Joe Flacco proved last week that the Patriots are vulnerable when they can't get a pass rush, and they didn't harry Luck too badly Sunday. Whether due to the rain or his receivers dropping passes, Luck was never able to get the Colts' offense going.

Not that Luck is blameless. He also threw a bad interception to Darrelle Revis in the third quarter ...

... and had another in the fourth. For the game, Luck went 12-of-33 passing for 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. That is not nearly good enough on a team that relies on him so heavily.

3) The Super Bowl matchup is a fun one

The Patriots' offense was remarkable in the second half when you factor in the weather. Bill Belichick once again rolled out unique formations, reiterating that perhaps no one can out-prepare him in the playoffs.

But Pete Carroll may be able to come close. And as a team, the Seahawks are perhaps the most close-knit group in the league. Seattle was fantastic down the stretch of its comeback win. Much like the Patriots on Sunday, the Seahawks simply handled adversity much better than their opponents.

The Seahawks' defensive reputation will be put to the test against one of the league's best offenses. Based on Sunday's results, this year's Super Bowl should be much more fun that last year's.