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NFL notebook: Indianapolis Colts sign former New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch

Associated Press

The Colts signed former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch six days before playing his ex-team in the divisional round.

The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Branch had 518 catches for 6,644 yards and 39 touchdowns over a career spent mostly with the New England Patriots.

Branch also has 64 receptions for 948 yards and four touchdowns in 17 postseason games. He won two Super Bowls and was MVP during the Patriots’ third title run.

To make room, Indianapolis (12-5) put starting cornerback Greg Toler and defensive end Fili Moala on injured reserve.

Pats place Spikes on IR

The New England Patriots placed linebacker Brandon Spikes on injured reserve because of a knee injury.

The move that ends the season of the team’s second-leading tackler comes five days before the Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC divisional-round playoff game.

The Patriots drafted Spikes in the second round in 2010 out of Florida.

Wild cards draw millions

The NFL’s wild-card weekend drew huge television audiences.

The four games averaged 34.7 million viewers for the most-watched wild-card weekend on record.

The San Francisco 49ers’ 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers had 47.1 million viewers Sunday on Fox to make it the most-watched wild-card game on record. The previous high was 42.4 million for the 2011 Steelers-Broncos game.

The two Saturday games averaged 30.8 million viewers on NBC, a record for the Saturday wild-card games. The New Orleans Saints’ 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles was the most-watched Saturday wild-card game ever with 34.4 million viewers.

The one game that wasn’t as close, the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 win over the Bengals, still drew 30.9 million viewers on CBS.


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