Cassius Vaughn’s interception return for a touchdown gave the Colts their first lead on Sunday afternoon but it was one offensive drive that got the comeback started, and another that gave Indianapolis the lead for good in earning its seventh victory in the last eight games.
Carter’s one-yard touchdown run
The scene: Down 20-7, the Colts take over following halftime at the 20-yard and a Rob Bironas touchback.
The anatomy of the drive: Fourteen plays, for 80 yards in 6:24. After converting just one-of-five third-downs in the first half, the Colts had three of them on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Key play: Reggie Wayne converted two third-downs on the drive but the third-and-11 at the Titans 38-yard line was truly spectacular. Wayne lined up to the right of Andrew Luck as a slot receiver. As Luck escaped pressure and rolled to his right he threw the ball up for Wayne and the 12-year veteran broke free from double coverage and hauled in his 28th third-down reception on the season.
The score: On a third-and-goal from the one-yard line, running back Delone Carter punched it in with offensive lineman Tony Hills in the game as a tackle eligible. The Colts had their three tight ends lined up on the left side of the line of scrimmage and Carter ran behind them for his second one-yard touchdown of the season against the Titans.
Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal
The scene: Down 23-21, the Colts take over following a Bironas 25-yard field-goal and a touchback, placing the ball at the Indianapolis 20-yard line.
The anatomy of the drive: 10 plays, for 45 yards in 4:05. The drive included the Colts overcoming a second-and-15 and a second-and-10 as Indianapolis converted three first downs in regaining the lead.
Key play: With the Colts facing a second-and-16 from their own 28-yard line, Luck went right back to wide receiver Donnie Avery. On the previous play, Avery couldn’t corral a high pass and took a hit from Titans cornerback Ryan Mouton. Avery got up slowly from the hit but on the next play he went high in the air again to gather an 18-yard reception and keep Indianapolis away from a third-and-15.
The score: Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal matched his season long and the 39-year old showed he still has plenty of distance left. The kicking game was terrific all afternoon and Vinatieri connected on both of his field goal attempts and is now seven-of-12 on the year from 40+ yards.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, Delone Carter, donnie avery, Reggie Wayne, Tony Hills
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With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week Colts.com will take a look at how the first-year players performed.
Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had just one catch for 11 yards on the afternoon. However, the timeliness of Allen’s one grab was significant. With the Colts facing a second-and-10 with 2:25 remaining, Allen hauled in an 11-yard catch, allowing the Colts to take three kneels to complete the win.
Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard had 19 carries for a season-high 94 yards on Sunday but the numbers don’t do him justice for his durability shown in the second-half. Ballard was the Colts lone running back for the entire fourth quarter and fought through a stinger to finish off the 27-23 victory.
LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill had just one catch for eight yards against the Titans but it came in the fourth quarter and helped set up Adam Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal with 6:23 remaining.
Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for nine yards on Sunday and was apart of a three-tight end set that helped the Colts cap off the victory.
T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton had two catches for 50 yards on Sunday including a 36-yarder that showed off his top-end speed after the catch and set up the Colts first touchdown. Hilton now has 41 catches for 638 yards on the season.
Delano Howell, S: Howell played his second game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Titans.
Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 16-of-34 for 196 yards for one touchdown and two interceptions on Sunday afternoon. Luck engineered his sixth fourth quarter/overtime comeback for the Colts, which ties an NFL record for rookie quarterbacks. He also passed Peyton Manning for the second most passing yards (3,792) for a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer and offensive tackle Bradley Sowell were inactive against the Lions.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bradley Sowell, Coby Fleener, Delano Howell, dwayne allen, LaVon Brazill, Nate Palmer, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
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