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
  • NWS-PT072514 Patacsil-kmv Logan coaching legend Patacsil dies at 86 Logansport and Purdue University lost a giant among sports leaders Wednesday. Former Purdue great and former Logansport High School wrestling coach and educator Joe Patacsil passed away in his home.When his sons were leading the Berries wrestling pro

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - PT072414 - PT Colts - pic COLTS: Wayne arrives in IndyCar for camp Ed Carpenter woke up to rain Wednesday morning and briefly worried his big opportunity might be lost. But the two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter's fear proved to be unfounded. He delivered Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne safely to Anderson University at the wheel of a two-seat IndyCar.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - PT072414 - PT Tom Lindley column - column sig LINDLEY: Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods Even when Tiger Woods finished 23 shots behind the winner and 69th overall at the British Open, he was one of the featured topics in stories coming out of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • NEWCOM: State parks offer fun times at reasonable prices Summer is in full swing and many people are taking trips as part of their summer vacations. You can venture near to home or far away, but the trip is only as good as you and your family make it. The amusement parks and beaches in Florida are nice, but many of us cannot swing those trips these days. The good news is that there are many good state parks in Indiana to enjoy and they are affordable.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sports briefs for Thursday, July 24 The Logansport 11-year-old all-star team will play in the Cal Ripken Ohio Valley Regional next week in Lexington, Kentucky. A fundraising carwash is planned to help the team offset the trip's expenses.

    July 24, 2014

  • SPL - PT072314 - PT Colts - pic COLTS: Let's go camping There's a different kind of buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to report for training camp today at Anderson University.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-PT072314 - Caston Burrus mug.jpg Caston tabs Burrus as girls hoops coach Caston hired Joel Burrus as its new girls basketball coach at Tuesday’s school board meeting.Burrus, 26, is a coach’s son and already has several years of experience in coaching, all on the boys side. He said he’s looking forward to coaching girls ba

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - PT072314 - PT Ken de la Bastide column - column sig DE LA BASTIDE: Brickyard has many contenders Before the winner of this Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets the chance to kiss the bricks, media members will be complaining about the race.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Wednesday, July 23 Caston High School's athletic department will have sports tickets on sale starting Monday and continuing until Aug. 11. After that, tickets can be purchased in the bookstore or at the first home events.

    July 23, 2014

  • SPL - PT072214 - PT Tom Lindley column - pic LINDLEY: Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season There’s plenty to enjoy about the Southeastern Conference’s annual cattle call in Hoover, Alabama, where media of every description join players and coaches from each of the league’s 14 football teams to discuss the coming season. The best aspect is that it serves as the official kickoff of the new season. The long wait is over.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

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
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     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.