Pharos-Tribune

Local Sports

December 9, 2012

Colts reach brink of postseason after another comeback win

INDIANAPOLIS — Same sum, different math.

The Indianapolis Colts’ improbable run continued Sunday with a 27-23 victory against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The game hewed close to a familiar script on many themes. Indianapolis improved to 8-1 in games decided by one score or less, and it was the seventh straight home game to come down to the final drive.

But the Colts (9-4) tweaked the ending a bit this time around. It was the defense making the big, game-changing plays and the offense holding on to the lead late.

“It was a great team win again, and like I said earlier, there won’t be any blowouts with this team,” Indianapolis interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “This team is too young. We just try to figure out a way to win every week, and so far we’ve been able to do that.”

The latest victory brings the Colts to the brink of the postseason. Losses by the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) on Sunday gave Indianapolis a two-game lead for the AFC’s fifth playoff spot with three regular-season games to play.

The formula for the Colts clinching a playoff spot remains convoluted, taking into account possibilities such as the 6-7 New York Jets winning out and the Bengals and Steelers playing to a tie in their Dec. 23 meeting.

Indianapolis also will remain alive in the race for the AFC South title if the 11-1 Houston Texans lose tonight against the 9-3 New England Patriots.

With so much uncertainty remaining in the picture, it’s best the Colts remain focused on tending to their own business.

Against Tennessee (4-9) that meant overcoming a rugged first half that left Indianapolis with a 20-7 deficit.

Andrew Luck was responsible for part of that margin, throwing his third interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter with the Colts trailing 10-7.

Replays appeared to show at least one of Luck’s knees — if not both — was down before he released the football. But referee Peter Morelli didn’t see enough on video to overturn the call.

“I saw it on the [video board],” Luck said. “I was hoping that they would call me down. But I probably deserved a pick-six for trying to throw a football in that position going down, right at a defender. So learn from it, and don’t do it again, hopefully.”

The Titans also scored on an 18-yard pass from Jake Locker to Jared Cook on the game’s opening drive and a pair of Rob Bironas field goals in the second quarter.

Locker finished with 262 yards, but he gained just 49 in the second half and was intercepted twice.

“We were ahead of the chains in the first half and we weren’t in the second, and that can make a difference,” Locker said.

Meanwhile, the Colts’ offense sprung to life.

After managing just a 4-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne in the first half, Luck directed an 80-yard drive to start the third quarter that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Delone Carter and cut the deficit to six.

Cornerback Cassius Vaughn erased it entirely exactly three minutes later. On the first play after Pat McAfee pinned the Titans at their own 1-yard line with a 52-yard punt, Vaughn intercepted Locker’s pass and returned it 3 yards to the end zone for a go-ahead score.

Vaughn said Locker had been going to his side on intermediate routes throughout the first half. He gambled the quarterback would try the same thing again and won.

“It was one of them moments where we knew we had to try to make a play,” he said. “We made a play, and that turned the game around for us.”

After the teams traded field goals, Darius Butler grabbed the second interception against Locker. His came at the Titans’ 28-yard line and set up a 40-yard Vinatieri field goal to end the scoring.

Tennessee had one final chance to win. The Titans picked up a first down at their own 30 but believed they had a third-and-short and called a quarterback sneak. Locker was stopped for no gain on the play and then threw a pair of incompletions to force a punt.

Indianapolis took over at its own 10-yard line. Vick Ballard picked up a first down with a 13-yard run, and Luck sealed the game with an 11-yard pass to tight end Dwayne Allen on second-and-10 from the 24.

Luck finished just 16-of-34 for 196 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But he surpassed Peyton Manning’s franchise record for rookie passing yards, and he’s now just 259 yards shy of Cam Newton’s NFL record.

As usual, however, the only record Luck was focused on was 9-4.

“I think it’s the best team game in the world, I really do,” he said. “You have to rely on so many guys and so many different phases of the game. It’s fun when you can get team victories.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • SPT-PT042414 LC BTrack.jpg Kings split with Carroll Lewis Cass had mixed results in a track meet against Carroll Tuesday in Walton. The Kings won the boys event 71-60 and lost the girls event 69-63. In the boys event, Austin Keisling was a triple winner as the Kings got good efforts from some athletes

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - PT042314 - Tom Lindley column - Lindley column sig LINDLEY: Hoops stars may linger on campus a while longer Adam Silver, the new commissioner of the National Basketball Association, scored a public relations victory when he came out in strong support of raising the league's minimum age to 20 years old -- a move that would have talented collegians spending

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-PT042214 Pio v Win SB2.jpg Pioneer wins MWC tilt Pioneer's softball team defeated Winamac 6-2 Monday in a Midwest Conference softball game at Herk Hoffman Field. Megan Smith had three hits including a double and two runs scored for the Panthers (5-5, 1-1 MWC). The Panthers' starting shortstop and l

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-PT042014 - lhs loganland Whitney.jpg Miss Basketball Jennings earns top Loganland honor Whitney Jennings had already made quite a name for herself in basketball circles around town before she even entered high school. There were stories that a little blonde girl was tearing up middle school competition, single-handedly dominating teams.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Logansport baseball splits DH at Penn Logansport's baseball team continued its high scoring ways in a doubleheader split at Penn on Saturday. The Berries dropped the opener 12-7 before winning the game two 8-7. The Berries (5-2) pounded out 26 hits on the day, 14 in the opener and 12 in

    April 20, 2014

  • SPT-PT041814 LHS Tennis.jpg Logan tops Lewis Cass in early season tennis match Logansport's girls tennis team defeated rival Lewis Cass 4-1 Thursday in Walton. The Berries improved to 2-1 on the young season while the Kings dropped to 0-1. Whitney Jennings defeated Gabi Hartley 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, Brooke Bullard defeated

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • No. 7 Lewis Cass baseball falls at HN, 3-2 Lewis Cass' baseball team suffered its first setback of the season with a 3-2 loss at Huntington North on Thursday. Kyle Dwiggins hit a two-run home run for the Class 2A No. 7 Kings (3-1) in the fourth inning. He later doubled. But the Vikings scored

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT-PT041714 - phs AOW Kayte Miller.jpg Miller looking for one more big season for the Panthers Pioneer senior Kayte Miller has enjoyed a lot of success in volleyball and softball during her four-year career. Miller has one more season of softball this spring with the Panthers before she will play the sport at Ancilla College next year. Miller

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-PT041714 - lhs baseball.jpg Logan baseball wins at Taylor, moves to 4-1 Logansport's baseball team held off a late Taylor rally for a 13-9 win Wednesday in Kokomo. The Berries (4-1) were one out away from winning by 10-run rule in the fifth inning before the Titans (1-1) extended the game with two runs to make it a 13-4

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs, April 17 Logansport to honor Jennings on May 16 The Berry Boosters and Logansport High School are having a community celebration to honor and recognize the 2014 Indiana Miss Basketball, Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year and Parade All-American Whitney Jenni

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.