Colts 35 – Lions 33
With just four seconds remaining on the game clock at Ford Field, quarterback Andrew Luck had just enough time to execute one more play in an attempt to bring his Colts back from a 5-point deficit. He took the snap, surveyed his surroundings, and threw a short pass to wide receiver Donnie Avery. Wide open, Avery ran through a hole in the Detroit defense and entered the end zone, sealing a dramatic comeback win for the Horseshoe. Down 33-21 with less than 7 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, “incredible” hardly begins to describe the victory for the Colts, who now control their own playoff destiny as the current leaders of the AFC Wildcard race.
Andrew Luck continues to rewrite the rookie record books. Luck is now the first quarterback drafted first over all to have a winning record in his first year with the team. Moreover, he became the first rookie to throw four 300-yard games, and he continued to add to his over all rookie passing yards record.
Luck actually threw 3 very bad picks on Sunday in Detroit, but his 4 touchdown passes and 391 passing yards more than made up for it. What sets Luck apart from other rookies is his ability to regroup after making poor decisions. He is virtually unaffected by defensive pressure and non-executed plays.
And Luck utilized all of his receivers. His 4 touchdown passes went to 3 different teammates: Donnie Avery, Coby Fleener, and LaVon Brazil. Fleener’s and Brazil’s scores were the firsts of their respective young careers, with Fleener’s stirring up memories of his and Luck’s partnership in college at Stanford. Fleener has been out the previous few weeks with a nagging shoulder injury. His production should only go up from here.
On the ground, Vick Ballard scored his first ever rushing score, running it in from 11 yards out early in the third quarter. Ballard easily had the most productive game of his career, rushing for 41 yards on just 9 carries.
The defense struggled, but they did just enough to allow the Colts to make their comeback late in the game. All things aside, who doesn’t have difficultly containing Calvin Johnson? The Lions wide receiver racked up 171 yards on the day due to some poor coverage from corners. Otherwise, though, the Colts defensive unit held their own. Robert Mathis recorded his first ever interception, and the group never let the Lions earn more than a field goal after a takeaway.
Adam Vinatieri was not needed for a single field goal on Sunday, but his 5 extra point attempts had no problem reaching the back center of the goal posts. Punter Pat McAfee, however, was much busier. He took the field 8 times on Sunday afternoon, and he averaged an impressive 50 yards per punt, which included a long 61-yarder.
The Colts continue to downright astonish, and they will take their 8-4 record home next week when they face the Tennessee Titans for the second time this season. Horseshoe Hero will have the game recap for you then. Expect the unexpected.
Stay #CHUCKSTRONG, Colts fans!