Colts Win Nail Biter

Give a hand to the old guys.

Relying on a pair of 40-somethings, the Indianapolis Colts rallied
from a pair of two-touchdown deficits to beat the slumping Atlanta
Falcons 24-21 on Sunday.

Adam Vinatieri, the oldest player in the league at 42, added
another winning kick to his sterling resume, booting a 43-yarder
with 52 seconds remaining. The Colts won with 40-year-old Matt
Hasselbeck throwing a pair of touchdown passes filling in for
injured Andrew Luck.

D’Qwell Jackson tied the game with just over 10 minutes remaining
on a 6-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Then, it was Vinatieri who won it for the Colts (5-5), as he’s done
so many times in his brilliant career. In his 300th game, he came
through with his 26th game-winning kick in either the final minute
of regulation or overtime.

The Falcons (6-4) lost for the fourth time in five games after a
5-0 start. This one was on the offense, which totally bogged down
in the second half.

With injured Andrew Luck helping out on the sideline, Hasselbeck
overcame a couple of interceptions and calmly led the winning
drive, covering 56 yards in nine plays. The big play was a short
pass that Frank Gore took 31 yards to midfield.

The Colts came in tied for first in the AFC East despite a
disappointing season that has put heat on the front office and
coach Chuck Pagano. With Luck out up to six weeks with a lacerated
kidney and torn abdominal muscle, Indianapolis came through with
its second straight victory.

Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes for the Falcons, but he also
was picked off three times – including an awful throw from his own
end zone that Jackson snatched. Julio Jones had nine catches for
160 yards.

The Falcons built a 14-0 lead by employing a rarely used offensive
fullback. Fullback Patrick DiMarco, known mostly as a blocker,
tripled his career touchdown output by hauling in a couple of
scoring throws, one from 15 yards out, the other a 1-yarder. Coming
into the game, DiMarco had only one TD in his four-year career.

After the Colts cut it to 14-7 at halftime on the first of two
Hasselbeck-to-Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown passes, Atlanta restored its
two-score cushion on the first possession of the third quarter.
Leonard Hankerson dropped a throw over the middle that should have
been a TD, but got another chance when Vontae Davis was called for
an illegal use of hands.

Two plays later, Hankerson hauled in a 3-yard pass from Ryan for
the score.

The Atlanta offense couldn’t do anything after that, managing only
67 yards and as many turnovers as first downs (three each).
Hasselbeck’s 2-yard touchdown pass Bradshaw capped a 90-yard drive
that was pushed along by three Falcons penalties.

After downing a punt inside the 1, the Colts stacked the line and
dared the Falcons to throw. Ryan took the bait, attempting a
play-action pass over the middle. But Jackson, after feigning that
he was coming up to stuff the run, dropped back into coverage.

Ryan never saw him, Jackson picked off the pass at the 6, and
brought it back for a pick-six that happened in the blink of an eye.

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