FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — So, the New England Patriots will meet the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.

Kind of fitting, don’t you think?

The Seahawks – coached by Pete Carroll, the man who preceded Bill Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots – are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since New England did it in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

The Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers for the NFC title in a brilliantly dramatic game Sunday afternoon, winning in overtime after the Packers squandered a certain victory.

The Patriots needed no dramatics in beating the upstart Indianapolis Colts and their young quarterback Andrew Luck on Sunday evening.

New England mauled Indianapolis, 45-7, in the rain and wind at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots either simply over-powered the Colts with hard-running, fundamental football, or tricked them with a tackle-eligible pass that went 16 yards for a touchdown to Nate Solder and other exotic multiple formations.

This was a mismatch from the start. This was the type of performance that you can only dream about when you’re preparing to play.

Offense, defense, special teams. Every facet of the team performed at its highest level.

“It’s fun,” said fullback James Develin, who scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter. “That’s football at its best, when everything is rolling like that. We’re just having fun out there.”

“We certainly didn’t expect this type of result,” said Matthew Slater, New England’s special teams ace. “That’s a good football team we beat tonight. And you’ve got a quarterback over there, a young man who’s going to be a great player in this league for a very long time.

“So when the game goes the way it did tonight, it kind of catches you off guard.”

This was a team that many gave up on after four weeks of the regular season, when New England was 2-2 after a 41-14 loss at Kansas City.

“Some doubters? Everybody wrote us off,” said cornerback Kyle Arrington. “It’s a testament to the character of the guys on this team. We told each other, ‘Remember what this feels like. We never want to feel like this again.’ ”

And they didn’t. New England proved over the course of the season it was the best team in the AFC. And now it’s heading to another Super Bowl.

“Hopefully we can finish it this time,” said Arrington.

It was another brilliant game plan by the coaching staff, right from the beginning. The Patriots changed their pass coverages on almost every play – although Arrington spent most of the night on the dangerous T.Y. Hilton (holding him to one catch – a spectacular diving 36-yarder – in six targets). Darrelle Revis opened on Reggie Wayne, covered Hilton a couple of times, and took turns on tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Donte Moncrief. Luck didn’t know which way to go and finished with a miserable performance, completing just 12 of 33 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions. His quarterback rating was 23.0.

The Patriots kept the Colts off-balance by running LeGarrette Blount at them over and over and having Brady throw his quick passes. Then they hit the Colts with the unexpected: Rookie tackle Cam Fleming came in many times as an extra lineman – and eligible receiver – causing the Colts to think, after last week’s trickery against the Baltimore Ravens, that he might be a target. Instead it was Solder, a tight end when he began his career at the University of Colorado, who caught what might have been the decisive touchdown pass of the game from Brady.

It was third-and-1 from the Colts 16 when Solder reported as an eligible receiver. He lined up on the left, released to the flat and was uncovered. Brady tossed it to him, he caught it and had only green turf between him and the end zone until he plowed through two defenders at the goal line.

Or maybe it was Brady’s touchdown pass to fullback Develin that made it 14-0 in the second quarter that got the Colts thinking. After all, Develin – who played football at nearby Brown University in Providence – caught only six passes all season.

You don’t know what to expect from this team. And that’s what makes it so hard to defend. That’s what makes the Patriots so much fun to watch.

“I think when we have all three phases together and playing well, we’re a pretty good football team,” said Slater. “You see the result. We’re AFC champions.”

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