The Colts and Lions players and coaches answered questions after Indy's big win. Here are the highlights, along with a few notes and milestones, with information and quotes courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Last Second Comeback
Yesterday, the Colts, down by twelve with 4:02 remaining and still needing a touchdown when they got the ball back again with 1:07 left, pulled out a memorable comeback win. They had suffered through some bad play earlier in the game, but when it mattered most, they were on fire.
It was Andrew Luck’s sixth 300-plus yard game (391 yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), breaking his previous all-time rookie record of five. With 3,596 yards, Luck is also now within 455 yards of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s record for most passing yards by a rookie.
On 4th and 10, with 4 seconds remaining, “rookie” quarterback Andrew Luck scrambled out of trouble and checked down to his fifth option, Donnie Avery, who was running a drag route short of the end zone. Luck, an inexperienced player in a pressure-packed situation, checked down to his last option for the winning touchdown.
OC/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians, explaining the final play, said, “Yeah, he was No. 5. We had basically spread everybody across the back of the end zone and ran Donnie (Avery) across the field as an outlet. I was hoping he’d catch it a little closer to the goal line. But we knew they’d sink everybody back in.
“And I actually thought the game was over on Reggie’s incompletion. It was a great play by Andrew getting out of there, scanning the field. They were, all the receivers going left and Donnie was coming back right.” Based on their cheering, it could be argued that many of the Detroit fans thought the game was over on that preceding play too. It was Luck’s third straight incompletion from the 14-yard line.
But, with four seconds left, the game was not over, not for Luck and the Colts. “Yeah, you know, we were sort of stalled it seemed at that 10 or whatever yard line area, the 14-yard line,” Andrew Luck said about the final play of the game. “It’s tough to just sit back there and try to throw it when they’re dropping in their zones and doing a good job. So, I figured, you know, buy a little time and run around a little, maybe it’ll open up a window.
“You always hesitate throwing the ball not in the end zone, you know, for fear of the clock running out or a guy in bounds like it happened in the Georgia game the night before. So, looking downfield, I guess took the calculated risk that Donnie (Avery) could get there and he did. I’m thankful because, you know, we played some bad ball. I played a lot of bad ball, but I’m thankful for a great defense keeping us in there and then I’m thankful to be on a team that just keeps playing.”
On Staying Confident and Believing
Down two scores, the Colts showed resilience and confidence. They never stopped believing they could win despite the offense’s struggles through most of the game. Recounting a third down tackle that helped get the ball back for the offense once more, CB Cassius Vaughn said, “We knew our offense was going to get going. We never doubted it.”
There was no room for doubt with this group of players. Down by two scores late, the players on the sideline weren’t sitting with their heads down, or pointing fingers at each other, they were talking about what they needed to do to steal a win. “We was on the sideline saying that man we need some big chunks,” said Reggie Wayne. “We need some big chunks. Somebody just make a play. I guess you’re never out of it until it’s all over and guys just kept pushing and pushing. It was ugly. It was terrible. But we find a way to win.”
Notes and Milestones
Levon Brazill’s only catch was a fortuitously timed, highlight reel 42-yarder with less than three minutes remaining in the game. His catch was not only instrumental component in the Colts’ Hollywood ending, but also the first touchdown of his career.
Robert Mathis notched his first career interception during the first half. Although the offense wasn’t able to take advantage, it stopped what was shaping up to be a very good drive by Detroit.
Adam Vinatieri has now scored points in 142 consecutive games, according to the Colts. The offense managed five touchdowns, and with those five extra points, Vinatieri moved into fourth place in scoring among Colts players.
A Few Good Quotes
DE Cory Redding on Calvin Johnson, who looked unstoppable at times during the game: “That dude’s a beast. Every year as long as he’s in the League, I don’t care what he’s doing, he’s got my Pro Bowl vote. The guy’s an awesome kid. I remember him coming in as a rookie and just seeing his work ethic. And what he’s doing now, I expect that because he’s an unbelievable player and does great things. He’s truly a good teammate.”
Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford on whether there was anything good to take away from the game: “Mm-mm (No)”
Reggie Wayne, crediting Chuck Pagano on being 7-1 in one-possession games: “Yeah, we are, man. We are. That’s Coach Pagano from Day 1, just instilling and telling us just to keep fighting, keep fighting, keep playing. Guys, like I said, guys really don’t know any better, man. We just know just to go out there, tell us to run into a brick wall, we’re going to run into a brick wall.
“Guys just never gave up. It was kind of shocking because on that last drive, defense came off the field and they were saying ‘Man, we’re about to win this, we’re about to win this.’ It just goes to show you how this team is, man, how resilient we are. Guys just keep playing and it was a good one.”
Bruce Arians, also on being 7-1 in one-possession games: “Our guys are fighters, man. They’re resilient. They don’t quit. They believe next man up. We were down to no offensive lineman left and A.Q. (Shipley) went in and played his tail off at guard. Guys kept stepping up, offensively, defensively. Guys jumped in that we just learned their names Wednesday, played special teams. Yeah, we find a way to win.”
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