Colts 19 - Titans 13
With a little over 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Andrew Luck led the Colts, trailing 13-6, on a comeback drive, moving down the length of Tennessee’s field in 14 plays over the span of 7 clock-eating minutes. After Delone Carter tied the contest on a 1-yard run, Luck worked his magic again in overtime, sealing the win with a screen pass to Vick Ballard, who practically defied the laws of physics while crossing the goal line. The Colts won their first overtime and first road contest of the year on Sunday. In just 7 games, the team has doubled its win total from all of last season. They’ve also won three of their past four outings, all in honor of their still ailing head coach Chuck Pagano, who was released from the hospital last week to receive his second round of treatment for leukemia. The Colts are Chuckstrong, and that’s something to celebrate.
While at many times throughout this game the offenses on both teams sputtered, Andrew Luck never lost his cool. He once again displayed greatness, especially in his remarkable presence and awareness in the pocket. On the day, Luck completed 26 of his 38 passes for 297 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He almost had a rushing score to add to that stat line, but he got stuffed on his way to the end zone late in the first quarter. Luck has played just 7 games in his NFL career, but he has already led the Colts to two comebacks and three game-winning drives.
The Colts’ run game is also on the rise. With Donald Brown back in the lineup after missing 2 weeks with a knee injury, the Colts had a balanced and productive rushing attack when also throwing Vick Ballard and Delone Carter into the mix. Carter recorded the only rushing score, but Donald Brown led the way on the ground with 80 yards on 14 carries, including one 19-yard run. Ballard, a rookie, was the team’s second-leading rusher with 55 yards on 12 carries and a 17-yard run. Ballard also had a game-winning touchdown worthy of SportCenter’s Top Play of the week. After catching a short screen pass from Luck, Ballard ran about 10 yards before leaping over three defenders 4 yards out from the goal line, spinning in mid-air, to reach the end zone. It’s hard to really appreciate the play without actually watching it.
Reggie Wayne once again led the way on the receiving end, catching 7 passes for 91 yards (I have a feeling this statement may begin to sound like a broken record). He is on track to record career highs this year, and he has played 12 seasons in this league.
Jerrell Freeman was an absolute beast on defense, recording 11 solo tackles and 3 assists. Sophomore Drake Nevis, who missed a good portion of his rookie season due to injury, also recorded a sack, as did Jerry Hughes, who is playing the best football of his career. The defensive unit held the Titans to just 13 points and prevented them and their star running back Chris Johnson, who has been returning to form as of late, from scoring a rushing touchdown. The group as a whole is definitely improving.
The wind, contributions of Hurricane Sandy, made kicking a much more difficult task than usual. Adam Vinatieri uncharacteristically had a field goal blocked, but he also successfully converted on two other attempts, including a 44-yarder. He was also perfect on his PAT attempts.
The Colts will welcome the Miami Dolphins to Lucas Oil next Sunday with a 4-3 over all record and a 1-1 division record in the AFC South. There are still many games left to be played this season, but I cannot help but be encouraged by the Colts’ current play. I will absolutely not utter – or even think about – the “P” word (see Jim Mora rant) until several more games are won, but I believe in this team!
Stay CHUCKSTRONG, Colts Nation! Be sure to check back in to Horseshoe Hero here next Sunday for my recap of the game against the Fins.