The New England Patriots took a big step toward the AFC East title by triumping the Baltimore Colts, 35-14, in Memorial Stadium today.

The Patriots took a two-game lead over Miami as the Dolphins lost earlier in the day to the New York Jets.

The Patriots now have a 10-3 record and play at Dallas next Sunday. The Dolphins are 8-5 and play the Redskins in Washington.

The Colts, defending division champions, dropped to 5-8.

The Patriots had built a 21-7 lead by halftime.

Bill Troup started at quarterback for the Colts, in place of injured Bert Jones, and defensive back Mike Haynes intercepted Troup's first pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

The Colts retaliated on Steve Grogan's second pass, when Lyle Blackwood intercepted and returned the ball 21 yards for a touchdown.

The Patriots went 62 yards to score before the first period ended, on a 23 yard pass from Grogan to wide receiver Harold Jackson after Grogan had thrown 38 yards to wide recover Stanley Morgan, to the Baltimore 24 yard line.

In the second quarter, Morgan returned a punt 37 yards to the Baltimore 11 and, on the next play, running back Andy Johnson rushed for the touchdown and the 21-7 lead.

The Patriots increased their advantage to 28-7 in the third quarter on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Grogan to Morgan.

The Colts then went 84 yards to acore, on a 19-yard pass by Troup to fullback Ron Lee. Toni Linhart's conversion cut New England's lead to 2314.

Baltimore got down to the New England four-yard line early in the final period, but on third down Troup missed wide receiver Glenn Doughty, who was all alone in the end zone. On fourth down, running back Don McCruley dropped Troup's shoe-top pass at the goal line and the Patriots took possession.

The Patriots ended any remaining suspense after that by going 82 yards for a touchdown, scored on a four-yard run by fullback Sam Cunningham.

Grogan ran 24 and 17 yards and running back Horace Ivory 12 to put the ball in scoring position. David Posey's conversion made it 35-14, New England.