Did the Minnesota Vikings Give the Indianapolis Colts a Victory?
The Indianapolis Colts got their first win of the season last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. The win was also the first career win for new head coach Chuck Pagano, new general manager Ryan Grigson, first-year quarterback Andrew Luck, and the rest of the rookie class, as Indianapolis Colts. This reloaded Colts team did in two weeks, what it took almost all of last season to do. Their first win was a big one at home, but the Colts also got a little late-game help from their opponents.
The Vikings took the lead on the game’s first drive, scoring on a 53-yard field goal. After a good looking start on a long first drive, the Vikings seemed to slow down and stall on both sides of the ball. Not only did the team sputter in scoring attempts, they also shot them selves in the foot with penalties, helping to gift wrap a victory for this inexperienced Colts team in their home opener.
Luck and the Colts took the field on their first drive, and ended an 80-yard 12-play opening drive with a touchdown to take the lead for the first time. Even though the Vikings would close the gap with another field goal on their next drive, the Colts would never relinquish the lead. The Colts would hold off a late Vikings surge, eventually winning the game 23-20, after Adam Vinatieri’s 24th game-winning field goal. The score was not totally indicative of how over-matched the Vikings seemed on the field, and a closer look shows that the Vikings did a lot of personal damage to keep themselves from a better shot at winning.
The Vikings held the Colts to a three-and-out on their own goal line late in the third quarter. Down 20-6 after allowing 13 straight points, Minnesota stung themselves with a block in the back penalty after a booming 64-yard punt by Pat McAfee. On the very next play, the Vikings were backed up by a late hit penalty. A few plays later, the offense was called for holding, and the Colts forced a punt.
The Vikings forced another three-and-out on the next Colts drive., and got the ball back early in the fourth quarter. On the first play of that drive, wide out Percy Harvin was called for offensive pass interference. Defensive end Jared Allen was also called for a late hit on Andrew Luck, and the Vikings helped to save a Colts drive by getting flagged for roughing the punter. All in all, the Vikings would have 11 penalties for 105 yards.
The Vikings would score fourteen points in the fourth quarter to tie the game late, but never got over the hump. The end result was a huge victory for a young team looking to grow and flow together. Did the Colts win the game, or did the Vikings lose it? The answer is a little bit of both, but no one in a Colts jersey is complaining.