Cops: Fans rowdiest at Pats playoff game

A rainy day at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. (Photo by Shaun Towne)

FOXBORO (WPRI) — The rain poured all night long during Saturday’s playoff game at Gillette Stadium, and – according to local police – apparently so did the drinks.

The Attleboro Sun Chronicle first reported and Foxboro Police Chief Edward O’Leary confirmed to WPRI.com that 52 people were taken into custody during Saturday’s second-round playoff game between the hometown New England Patriots and visiting Indianapolis Colts. Of those 52 people, 11 were arrested and 41 were taken into protective custody for excessive drunkenness.

Fan behavior in Saturday’s game was “definitely an outlier,” O’Leary said.

The average number of official disturbances at regular season home games this year, O’Leary said, was just 18, making Saturday’s playoff victory over Andrew Luck and the rival Colts by far the rowdiest Patriots game of the season. With Saturday’s arrests and protective custodies included, the average number of disturbances climbs to 21.5.

As to why so many people were taken into custody, O’Leary blamed a combination of an influx in first-time game-goers and the fact that the game was played on a Saturday night instead of the usual Sunday. Fans, O’Leary said, drank more heavily because they knew they would have Sunday afternoon to recover.

On the field, the Patriots coasted to a 43-22 victory behind four rushing touchdowns from journeyman running back LeGarrette Blount.

O’Leary said the lopsided score also may have played a role in increased raucousness from the crowd. He said, in his experience, close games tend to keep the “nonsense level” down.

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