Dec 9 2012, Indianapolis, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and coach Bruce Arians congratulate each other late in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Tennessee 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Colts 27 – Titans 23
The Colts recorded their 6th 4th-quarter comeback of the season Sunday afternoon, overtaking the Tennessee Titans for the second time in 2012 at home in Lucas Oil Stadium. Andrew Luck and Co. turned in yet another sloppy 1st half performance only to come out more polished and determined in the second half. Having now moved to 9-4 on the season, the Colts have all but assured themselves a spot in the playoffs. It’s guaranteed, but the odds are in their favor. Their success can be contributed to a true, unified team effort.
Once again, Andrew Luck struggled in the first half, throwing the ball high, missing some open receivers, and making some poor decisions, including a horrific-looking pick-six right into Will Witherspoon’s chest (The score actually should have been overturned, for Luck was down before he released the ball). The mistakes caused the Colts to fall behind early, and the team walked into the locker room at halftime with a 13-point deficit. But Luck turned the heat on in the final two quarters, making some big plays (Luck seems to play a bold, high-risk/high-reward style of football) and getting his team into scoring contention. In the end, Luck completed 16 of his 34 passes for 196 yards, a touchdown, and 2 INTs.
Part of Luck’s early struggles could be attributed to the O-Line, who struggled against Tennessee’s rush. There were also a myriad of significant offensive injuries. Samson Satele, Winston Justice, Coby Fleener, Delone Carter, and Robert Hughes all left the game at various points throughout the afternoon. By the game’s end, Vick Ballard was the only healthy running back left on the field, but he did a solid job carrying the load, rushing 94 yards on 19 caries. Before Carter left, he contributed the team’s only rushing score of the afternoon on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
On the receiving end, Reggie Wayne was his usual brilliant self, catching a beautiful touchdown in the first quarter and leading the team in receptions (6) and receiving yards (64). A myriad of other receivers got their hands on the ball too. Hilton and Avery had 31 and 50 yards on the day, respectively.
The defense had trouble stopping the Titans through the air, but they again impressively held running back Chris Johnson to a meager 44 yards on 19 carries. There were also some major playmakers. Both corners player impressively. Vontae Davis probably had his best game as a Colt, and although Cassius Vaughn struggled early, he had a big interception in the third quarter that he ran back into the end zone for a score. Darius Butler also recorded an interception that led to a Colts field goal.
The special teams kickers were the stars of the game. Once again, Adam Vinatieri‘s field goal was the game winner. He also kicked a 53-yarder in addition to his 2 PATs, making him a perfect 5-5 on the day. His 9 points accounted for 1/3 of the team’s point total.
Pat McAfee kicked an incredible 52-yard punt in the third quarter to the Tennessee 1-yard line. It was a perfect coffin corner kick, and it would eventually set the Colts up for the touchdown-scoring drive that put them back in the game. On the day, his 4 kicks averaged 53.3 yards. Boomstick!
Next Sunday, the Colts will take on the AFC-leading Houston Texans for the first time this season. The two haven’t seen each other since last year when the then 1-12 Colts beat them in an unforgettable edition of Thursday Night Football. Will the Colts upset their heavily-favored rival? Horseshoe Hero will have the game recap for you after the score is final.
Stay #CHUCKSTRONG, Colts fans!