Luck's comeback leads Colts past Titans 27-23

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-10 04:25

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indianapolis took a small step toward a far bigger goal Sunday - making the playoffs.

All they need now is one more win.

With Chuck Pagano watching inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the third straight home game, and a sold-out crowd ready to celebrate, the Colts rallied behind Andrew Luck's stable play and Adam Vinatieri's strong right foot to rally from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 27-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

``It feels great,'' outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. ``Obviously, night and day compared to last year. The feeling around the locker room is tremendous, but that being said, by no means am I or are we satisfied with where we are.''

That feeling could change soon.

Sunday's losses by Cincinnati and Pittsburgh put the Colts on the cusp of another remarkable milestone in this stunning turnaround season. With one win in their final three games, Indy (9-4) would become the second team in league history to lose 14 or more games one season and make the playoffs the next. Miami did it in 2008.

And shockingly, just getting in isn't all that's at stake for the Colts. There's still a long shot chance they could win the division - if Indy sweeps its final three games, two against Houston, and the Texans lose either Monday night at New England or Dec. 23 against Minnesota.

But the Colts are so young, they're still trying to figure out all the nuances about this playoff chase.

``I'll talk to Reggie (Wayne), talk to coaches that have been there,'' Andrew Luck said. ``They'll tell us how it is.''

The hotshot rookie has spent the first 13 weeks showing everyone how good he is, and though the numbers weren't sensational Sunday, the result was pretty much the same.

Luck already has six fourth-quarter comebacks this season, one more than Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and Vince Young in 2006 - the highest single-season total by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It came on the same day he passed Peyton Manning for the most yards passing by a rookie in Colts history and moved into second among all NFL rookies, trailing only Carolina's Cam Newton (4,051 in 2011). Luck has 3,792 yards with three games to play.

The milestones don't end with Luck.

Wayne caught six passes for 64 yards and one touchdown, passing Andre Reed for 10th on the career receptions list. Wayne is at 956, five more than Reed. And Vinatieri added to his legacy as the NFL's best clutch kicker with the 53-yarder to give Indy the lead with 6:23 left and a 40-yarder to seal it with 3:48 to go.

Indy has now won a league-high eight one-possession games.

Winning this way is no big deal to the Colts.

``Everybody on the team - offensively, defensively, special teams - just plays football. They're not worried about the scoreboard too much, not worried about what's going on,'' Luck explained. ``They're aware of the situations, and we just go out there and play football to the best of our abilities. It's just not overthinking all the situations.''

If Tennessee (4-9) didn't understand that much before, they certainly do now, after another stinging defeat at the hands of the Colts.

A year ago, the 0-13 Colts derailed the Titans' playoff plans. In October, Indy did it again, rallying to force overtime, winning the coin toss and then running right down the field. It ended with Vick Ballard's twisting dive into the end zone.

This time, Tennessee could only blame itself.

Cassius Vaughn picked off Jake Locker and scored on a 3-yard interception return to give Indy a 21-20 lead late in the third quarter. Locker's second pick of the day set up Vinatieri's shorter field goal, and then came the biggest mistake of all.

With the Titans down four and 3:22 to play, Chris Johnson ran 6 yards for a first down. The problem: Coach Mike Munchak and Locker both thought Johnson had been ruled down short of the first down. After the chains moved, Locker ran a quarterback sneak for zero yards, then threw two incompletions and the Titans punted. They never got the ball back.

Locker was 22 of 35 for 262 yards with one TD and the two picks, but Munchak took the blame.

``We were in no huddle and we gave him the code word for a sneak because originally when he went down, it didn't appear that he had the first down,'' Munchak said. ``Obviously, when they marked it, he already had the play and he just ran it. We were trying to contact him, but with all of the chaos, he just assumed that he still needed the first down.''

Luck and the Colts had their share of miscues in the first half, including Luck's poor decision to throw the ball as he was being pulled to the ground. Will Witherspoon picked it off and ran it back 40 yards to give Tennessee a 17-7 lead late in the first half. Rob Bironas made it 20-7 with a 31-yard field goal in the final minute.

Indy rebounded in the second half, though.

Luck opened the third quarter by leading the Colts on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Delone Carter's 1-yard TD run. Luck finished 16 of 34 for 196 yards with one TD and two picks.

The game turned when Pat McAfee booted a 52-yard punt out of bounds at the Titans 1 and Vaughn jumped in front of Nate Washington and picked off the pass as he dived into the end zone.

All Tennessee could muster after that was a 25-yard field goal from Bironas, while Luck and Vinatieri did their usual thing and put the Colts on the verge of the playoffs.

``That's him. He's resilient,'' interim coach Bruce Arians said of Luck. ``I can't say enough about him because I think that's what separates him from the young quarterbacks is the ability to overcome bad plays.''

NOTES: Titans receiver Kenny Britt had a season-high 143 yards on eight catches, while Johnson ran 19 times for 44 yards. ... Ballard ran for a season-high 94 yards after the team rushed for only 12 yards in the first half. ... The Titans are 0-5 all-time at Lucas Oil Stadium. ... Indy played the second half without C Samson Satele (ankle) and RT Winston Justice (biceps). ... Titans TE Jared Cook left with a right shoulder injury.


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt CasselOct 4 07:22p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot), QB Matt Cassel, OT La'El Collins, DE Randy Gregory (ankle), DE Ryan Russell, TE Geoff Swaim and WR Lucky Whitehead are inactive for [ More ]

Eugene SimsOct 4 03:32p

The St. Louis Rams have declared OT Andrew Donnal, RB Chase Reynolds, OT Darrell Williams, DL Eugene Sims, SS Mo Alexander, QB Sean Mannion inactive for Week 4.

Davante AdamsOct 4 03:32p

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams (ankle) has been declared inactive for the Week 4 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Davante AdamsOct 4 03:22p

The Green Bay Packers have declared QB Brett Hundley, OT Bryan Bulaga, WR Davante Adams, CB Demetri Goodson, LB Jake Ryan, OG Lane Taylor, FS Morgan Burnett inactive for Week 4.

Vernon DavisOct 4 03:22p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Brandon Thomas, WR DeAndrew White, OL Ian Silberman, RB Mike Davis, DL Mike Purcell, CB Shareece Wright, TE Vernon Davis inactive for Week 4.

Andre EllingtonOct 4 03:22p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared RB Andre Ellington, OT D.J. Humphries, WR JJ Nelson, QB Matt Barkley, LB Shaquille Riddick, C Ted Larsen, DT Xavier Williams inactive for Week 4.

Charles JohnsonOct 4 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Andrew Sendejo, WR Charles Johnson, TE Chase Ford, LB Edmond Robinson, CB Jabari Price, DL Justin Trattou, QB Taylor Heinicke inactive for Week 4.

Omar BoldenOct 4 03:22p

The Denver Broncos have declared DL Kenny Anunike, LB Lerentee McCray, TE Mitchell Henry, S Omar Bolden, OG Shelley Smith, QB Trevor Siemian, OT Ty Sambrailo inactive for Week 4.

Robert TurbinOct 4 02:52p

The Cleveland Browns have declared LB Craig Robertson, DL Desmond Bryant, TE Emmanuel Bibbs, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, RB Robert Turbin, LB Scott Solomon inactive for Week 4.

Jacoby JonesOct 4 02:42p

The San Diego Chargers have declared OG Chris Watt, CB Craig Mager, WR Jacoby Jones, SS Jahleel Addae, OT King Dunlap, OG Orlando Franklin, LB Tourek Williams inactive for Week 4.

Ladarius GreenOct 4 02:42p

San Diego Chargers TE Ladarius Green (concussion) is officially active for the Week 4 game against the Cleveland Browns.

Michael CrabtreeOct 4 02:02p

Oakland Raiders WR Michael Crabtree (leg) suffered a right leg injury during the team's Week 4 game.

Tony RomoOct 4 01:12p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (clavicle) rehab appears to be on schedule, and he has been given a timetable of seven to eight weeks. Romo is looking at the [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 4 12:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (knee) may not play in the Week 4 game against the St. Louis Rams, because the team may want to hold him out until he is completely recovered.

LeSean McCoyOct 4 12:42p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) could be sidelined for three to four weeks if does not want to return until he is fully healthy. McCoy recently underwent an [ More ]

Dwayne AllenOct 4 12:02p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) has been declared inactive for the Week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Taiwan JonesOct 4 11:52a

The Oakland Raiders have declared LB Ben Heeney, DL Benson Mayowa, DL C.J. Wilson, OG Jon Feliciano, DB Keith McGill, OT Matt McCants, RB Taiwan Jones inactive for Week 4.

LeSean McCoyOct 4 11:52a

The Buffalo Bills have declared FS Aaron Williams, DL Alex Carrington, OG John Miller, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Sammy Watkins, LB Tony Steward inactive for Week 4.

Jay CutlerOct 4 11:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler (hamstring) is officially active for the Week 4 game against the Oakland Raiders.

Andrew LuckOct 4 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the Week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Brandon ThompsonOct 4 11:52a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared DL Brandon Thompson, TE C.J. Uzomah, FS George Iloka, WR Greg Little, DT Marcus Hardison, DL Margus Hunt, WR Mario Alford inactive for Week 4.

A. Seferian-JenkinsOct 4 11:52a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, CB Johnthan Banks, TE Luke Stocker, SS Major Wright, WR Russell Shepard, QB Ryan W. Griffin inactive for Week 4.

Aaron MurrayOct 4 11:52a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, TE Brian Parker, LB Dezman Moses, OT Jah Reid, DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches, CB Steven Nelson inactive for Week 4.

DeMarco MurrayOct 4 11:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring) is active for the Week 4 game against the Washington Redskins.

Tevin ColemanOct 4 11:42a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared WR Devin Hester, C Gino Gradkowski, TE Jacob Tamme, OT Jake Long, WR Justin Hardy, CB Ricardo Allen, RB Tevin Coleman inactive for Week 4.

Alshon JefferyOct 4 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Alshon Jeffery, QB David Fales, C Hroniss Grasu, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, OT Jermon Bushrod, RB Ka'Deem Carey, P Patrick O'Donnell inactive for Week 4.

Jaelen StrongOct 4 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared LB Akeem Dent, WR Chandler Worthy, OL Greg Mancz, WR Jaelen Strong, RB Jonathan Grimes, DL Kourtnei Brown, FS Lonnie Ballentine inactive for Week 4.

Jerricho CotcheryOct 4 11:42a

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, RB Brandon Wegher, OT Daryl Williams, S Dean Marlowe, WR Jerricho Cotchery, WR Kevin Norwood, LB Luke Kuechly inactive for Week 4.

Andrew LuckOct 4 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared QB Andrew Luck, OT Denzelle Good, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Greg Toler, DL T.Y. McGill, OG Todd Herremans, RB Tyler Varga inactive for Week 4.

DeSean JacksonOct 4 11:42a

The Washington Redskins have declared WR Andre Roberts, CB DeAngelo Hall, WR DeSean Jackson, DL Kedric Golston, LB Perry Riley, QB Robert Griffin III, OT Tom Compton inactive for Week 4.

Bilal PowellOct 4 11:32a

New York Jets RB Bilal Powell (groin) left the Week 4 game early because of a groin injury and is considered questionable to return.

Julius ThomasOct 4 11:32a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared OG Brandon Linder, LB Chris Smith, RB Denard Robinson, TE Julius Thomas, WR Marqise Lee, DL Sen'Derrick Marks, FS Sergio Brown inactive for Week 4.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group