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Colts Stun Patriots in Shootout

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The Indianapolis Colts had the biggest comeback in AFC Championship history and beat the Patriots, 38-34. Peyton Manning threw for 349 yards, scored on a run and a pass, and led a last minute drive that shed his image of a bad postseason quarterback.

The Patriots had a monster first half, jumping to a lead of 21-3 thanks to touchdowns by Logan Mankins, a lineman who recovered a fumble and smashed into the endzone; Corey Dillon on a seven-yard run; and Asante Samuel who returned an interception 39 yards.

However, the Colts rallied back, with Adam Vinatieri kicking two field goals and one yard touchdowns by Peyton Manning and Dan Klecko. Manning passed to Marvin Harrison for a two point conversion to tie the game at 21 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

Ellis Hobbs got the Patriots back in the game with an 80-yard sideline sprint on the kick return, setting up a Brady TD pass to Jabar Gaffney to take the lead. The touchdown was replayed several times to determine weather Gaffney had run out of bounds before the catch, but the call stood and New England was up 28-21.

Just 1:26 minutes into the fourth quarter, the Colts’ Dominic Rhodes fumbled the ball at the goal line for the Colts, but a quick move by lineman Jeff Saturday recovered the football in the endzone and tied the game at 28.

With 7:45 left in the game, Stephen Gostkowski booted a 28-yarder to put the Pats on top, but 2:11 later, Vinatieri answered with a 36-yard kick to tie the game yet again at 31.

The Patriots set up another field goal attempt, a 43-yarder, and Gostkowski delivered with a kick to put New England on top, 34-31, with 3:49 left in the game.

After Manning threw three straight incomplete passes and was forced to punt with 3:35 left on the clock, it looked like the Patriots could win it with a couple first downs. The drive started out on a bad note for New England after they had 12 men in their huddle and were given a five yard penalty. Brady completed two passes for 11 yards, but a brilliant deflection by Bob Sanders forced the Patriots to punt it to the Colts with 2:17 left to go.

Starting at the Indianapolis 20, Manning completed three of four passes for 57 yards, a penalty gave them an additional 12, and rookie running back Joseph Addai ran for 11 more. He also finished the drive with a three-yard TD scamper to take the lead for the first time, 38-34, with 1:02 left to play.

Peyton Manning held his head in his hands on the sidelines, too nervous to watch the Patriots’ attempt at dashing his Super Bowl hopes. Tom Brady made a valiant effort on the last drive, getting two first downs and taking it to the New England 40, but his fate was sealed when he was intercepted by Marlin Jackson, and the Indianapolis Colts moved on to their first Super Bowl to play the Bears in Miami.

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About Josh Mandell

  • I still say the Colts are a poor road team.

    One win does not make it so.

    One Super Bowl win does not make it so.

  • “Indianapolis (13-4) at Baltimore (13-3) – 4:30 – CBS
    The Ravens defense should be able to shut down the Colts offense. Also, Indy is a poor road team.
    – RJ Elliott, Jan. 13, 2007

    The Ravens defense DID shut down the Colts offense. The Colts scored a total of 0 TDs in that game. Manning was only 15-for-30 for 170 yards and 2 INTs.

    Indy WAS a relatively poor road team during the regular season, going 4-4.

    Also, I managed to pick the exact spread…just with the wrong winner. Of course, 7 out of 9 “experts” also picked the wrong winner.

    The real question here, MCH, is why a “professional” sports writer like yourself didn’t have the ‘nads to offer his NFL picks even once this season, or post-season.

  • “Peyton won’t choke until at least Week 13.”
    – RJ Elliott, Sep. 7, 2006

    On Week 13, Indy lost to Tennessee 20-17. In fact, they lost three of their last five games.

    Manning’s numbers in the Wild Card round were bad: 1 TD, 3 INTs. Manning’s numbers in the Divisional round were also bad: 0 TDs, 2 INTs.

    I picked the Colts to beat the Pats by 2. They won by 4. I predicted it would be a game for the ages. And it was.

    Er, what was your point again?

  • Who was that guy from Home Depot with the pencil in his ear and a sweatshirt coaching the Patriots?

  • “The Indianapolis Colts had the biggest comeback in AFC Championship history and beat the Patriots, 38-34.”

    Didn’t know that. Great game! I called it almost perfectly!