"We had a great defensive game plan and I just did my job," said Law, who matched A.J. Duhe's record for the most interceptions in an AFC championship game.
A familiar formula was the prescription for the Patriots' second trip to the Super Bowl in three years - coach Bill Belichick's complex defensive scheme,
's precision passing and the kicking of Vinatieri, who tied a record for most field goals in a playoff game.
New England (16-2) extended its winning streak to 14 games and will play the
in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston on February 1.
The last team to win more consecutive games in a single season was the 1972
, who were a perfect 17-0.
"I'm fortunate to be coaching these players," said Belichick, who improved his playoff record to 5-0 since taking over as Patriots coach in 2000. "We had so many guys who made big plays for us today."
Cold weather and snow flurries were again part of the recipe for the Patriots, who are 6-0 in snow games at home and 4-0 in AFC title games.
After throwing for 681 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions and leading the Colts (14-5) to 79 points in their first two playoff games, Manning had fits with Belichick's assortment of blitzes and disguised fronts. The NFL's co-Most Valuable Player was picked off four times and threw just one touchdown. The only other time Manning was intercepted four times was in a 41-20 loss to San Francisco on November 25, 2001.
"Just never quite found a rhythm," said Manning, who was 23-of-47 for 237 yards and slipped to 1-5 against the Patriots under Belichick. "Certainly, I didn't play the way I wanted to play. You know, anytime you throw interceptions, that is on the quarterback. I just made some bad throws, some bad decisions."
Law, New England's Pro Bowl cornerback, made it especially difficult for Manning by virtually negating Harrison, Indianapolis' five-time Pro Bowl receiver who had just three catches for 19 yards. Safety
and defensive end
also starred on defense.
intercepted a pass by Manning in the Patriots' end zone on Indianapolis' first possession and forced a fumble. Green had three of New England's four sacks.
"They did a good job defending us but we did things we haven't done in the playoffs - turn the ball over," said Indianapolis' Tony Dungy, who was bidding to become the first black head coach to reach the Super Bowl. "But give them credit.
certainly did an outstanding job on
Law returned his first interception six yards to the New England 41, leading to Vinatieri's second field goal of the game. Law left his receiver to grab an overthrown pass intended for running back
at the Indianapolis 31 late in the third quarter and recorded his third interception in the fourth quarter, picking off a pass intended for
at the New England 11 with 8:17 left.
Brady, the Super Bowl XXXVI MVP, improved his career record to 39-12, including 5-0 in the playoffs. He once again was the model of efficiency, completing 22-of-37 for 237 yards and a touchdown with an interception, his first in New England's last 10 home games.
Brady immediately set the tone, completing 6-of-8 passes for 50 yards on New England's opening drive and capping it with a seven-yard touchdown pass to
6:44 into the game.
Although it was the only time the Patriots reached the end zone, they moved the ball most of the day, totaling 349 yards.
provided the perfect balance with 100 yards on 22 carries.
Best known for drilling the winning 48-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI, Vinatieri converted kicks of 31, 25, 27, 21 and 34 yards. He kicked the go-ahead 46-yard field goal with 4:06 left in New England's 17-14 divisional playoff win over Tennessee last week.
New England also scored a safety when a snapped ball sailed over the head of Colts punter
, who purposely kicked the ball out of the end zone with 4:08 left in the second quarter. Smith did not have to punt at all in Indianapolis' first two playoff games, but his first attempt resulted in a safety and increased New England's lead to 15-0.
When the Colts finally broke through, James carried the load with 43 rushing yards on a 12-play, 52-yard drive to open the third quarter. Fittingly, James capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Manning connected with tight end
on a seven-yard scoring play with 2:27 left to pull the Colts within 21-14. But Vinatieri's final field goal sealed the win with 50 seconds remaining.