The last time the Colts traveled to Baltimore in the postseason, the year was 2006.
Memories are fond for Colts fans of an unusually warm January evening that was another chapter in the storied career of kicker Adam Vinatieri.
On a day when the Indianapolis offense struggled to generate touchdowns against the vaunted Ravens defense, it was Vinatieri’s right leg that carried Indianapolis into the AFC Championship.
“I remember then, just as now, they have a really good defense and we had a tough time getting it into the end zone that game,” Vinatieri said. “Fortunately, we made more field goals and had more attempts than they did. It turned out pretty good that day.”
Vinatieri was a perfect five-of-five on field goal attempts, accounting for all of the Colts points in Indianapolis 15-6 AFC Divisional victory.
In the opening frame, Vinatieri connected on field goals from 23 and 42 yards on the Colts first two possessions.
After Baltimore kicker Matt Stover hit a second quarter field goal, Vinatieri added a 51-yarder to end a 13-play drive and give the Colts a 9-3 halftime lead.
The second half began with Vinatieri converting a 48-yard field goal, pushing the Colts lead back to two possessions.
Stover would hit on a 51-yard field goal of his own early in the fourth quarter and Indianapolis would need one more clutch field goal from their potential Hall of Fame kicker to seal the victory.
That would come with 23 seconds remaining in the game as Vinatieri finished off a 13-play, 7:16 drive with a 35-yard field goal giving Indianapolis the 15-6 win.
These were not the Super Bowl winning kicks that Vinatieri is known for but without them, the Colts would have no been holding up the Lombardi Trophy three weeks later.
“In playoff games, you always have a lot of good teams playing. Games become a little tighter. Each individual play maybe means a little bit more and so every opportunity that you get, you have to make the best of it,” Vinatieri said.
On Wednesday, the 17-year veteran addressed his teammates on what playoff football is all about and what the Colts can expect in traveling to Baltimore this weekend.
Back on Jan. 13, 2007, only seven players currently on the Colts roster were even playing in the NFL. Vinatieri is trying to conjure up those same moments this weekend in delivering hopefully another historic playoff run.
“I think a lot of people outside of this building were surprised at where we’re at right now. I don’t think anybody in this room had any anticipations other than where we’re at right now,” Vinatieri said.
“There’s been some ups and downs and some crazy things that have happened this year. Chuck (Pagano) battling through the cancer thing and B.A. (Bruce Arians) stepping in. It’s been an interesting year but it’s been ever rewarding for us all. I think the book is not done being written yet.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, bruce arians, chuck pagano
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