The Lamar Hunt Trophy, center,
is displayed during an Indianapolis Colts news conference in
Indianapolis, Friday, Jan. 19, 2007. The winner of the Colts and New
England Patriots football game Sunday will be presented with the trophy.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Start Time: 6:44 PM EST
Game Day Weather
Played Indoor on Turf: FieldTurf
Outdoor Weather: 34 degrees, fog and light snow showers
Referee: Bill Carollo (63)
Line Judge: Byron Boston (18)
Field Judge: Rob Vernatchi (75
Umpire: Tony Michalek (115)
Side Judge: Larry Rose (128)
Replay Official: Bob Boylston and Dean Blandino
Head Linesman: Gary Slaughter (30)
Back Judge: Scott Helverson (93)
Like Moses when he
parted the Red Sea and led the Israelites in safety while the hosts
of Pharaoh perished in its waves.
The Patriots wall
of defense was parted by the Colts as Addai led the Colts to safety
into the Super Bowl while The Patriots perished in the Colts glory!
If you missed this Sunday
night AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and
Indianapolis Colts, you missed one for the ages. In fact, the entire
playoffs this year have been electrifying. But this game in
particular had all the earmarkings of a potential classic going in,
and it didn't disappoint.
Early on, though, that didn't
appear to be the case.
Down 21-3 to New England late
in the second quarter, the Indianapolis Colts faced odds bordering on
the impossible. Their playoff history isn't dotted with second-half
comebacks and the Patriots, winners of three Super Bowls in the past
five years, simply don't blow leads.
Especially 18-point leads.
With Marvin Harrison and
Reggie Wayne bottled up by the New England secondary, Peyton Manning
and the Colts needed to get creative at times to get past the
Patriots with a 38-34 victory in the AFC championship game Sunday night.
Certainly, it was not all by
design, but it sure was effective.
Indianapolis had a defensive
tackle (Klecko) score one touchdown, a center (Saturday) score
another and even Manning scored on a rare quarterback sneak.
Indianapolis Colts put
32 points on the board in the second half executing the biggest
comeback in the history of NFL conference championship play
and beat the New England
Patriots 38-34 to earn their ticket to Miami for Super Bowl XLI.
THE PATRIOT FANS CAN GO CRY
OVER THEIR CLAM CHOWDER AND TELL ANYONE THAT WILL LISTEN HOW GREAT A
TEAM THEY HAVE.
THE SAME TEAM THAT PULLED THE
BIGGEST CHOKE IN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY.
Joseph Addai capped Manning's
late drive with the winning score, a 3-yard run with one minute left
to help the Colts complete the rally and send them to Indianapolis'
first Super Bowl.
Colts have made 2 Super Bowl appearances
Super Bowl III (1968)
Super Bowl V (1970)
becoming Super Bowl
Champions: V (1970)
that was when they resided in Baltimore
Bob Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis.
Essentially, it wasn't a
sealed victory, thus far! Patriots did have 1 minute to produce a
comeback touchdown, which is not an underestimated performance of The
Patriots. After Indy's last touchdown, Manning was on the sideline,
his head down - he couldn't bear to watch.
The Indianapolis Colts
quarterback said he sought some divine intervention before the New
England Patriots' final drive.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
"I said a little
prayer on that last drive," Manning said after game. "I
don't know if you're supposed to pray for stuff like that, but I
said a little prayer."
. . . and then
The Patriots had two timeouts
to work with. The ball was at the Colts 45. New England called
timeout with 24 seconds remaining.
Brady then looked to Watson.
Jackson broke on the ball. Marlin Jackson read it all the way and
intercepted a Tom Brady pass with 16 seconds to play to clinch the
Indianapolis Colts' 38-34 victory in the AFC Championship Game.
A roaring RCA Dome sellout
crowd of 57,433 erupted. The stands shook. So, too, did an ecstatic Jackson.
Marlin Jackson just lay down
and started wiggling.
Game over, and the RCA Dome
crowd - on edge and raucous throughout - celebrated, shaking the
stands and sending the Colts players, coaches and personnel into euphoria.
When he had flopped around
enough in the euphoria, the Indianapolis Colts' lanky cornerback
picked himself up from the FieldTurf and did a jig. He danced down
the middle of the field. Jackson was in no hurry to hop off.
"I was walking it
out," he said of celebrating the most important interception
of his two-year career, a turnover in the final seconds to clinch the
Colts' 38-34 victory over New England in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
"I was excited. I
couldn't help it. I knew we were on our way to the Super Bowl."
One kneel down later and
Manning ripped off his helmet to celebrate.
Dungy and the Colts will face
the Chicago Bears and his good friend Lovie Smith in Miami in two
weeks. Together they are the first black (African American) coaches
to make the Super Bowl in its 41 years.
In the NFC
title game played earlier on Sunday in Chicago, the Bears reached
their first Super Bowl in 21 years by beating the New Orleans Saints 39-14.
"I was thinking,
'That is the game - we're on our way to Miami,''' Jackson said. "It
was a combination where they run trips to the right and they curl
up. I just sat in between them and read the quarterback. I knew we
had it. We just all feel excited right now. We're going to Miami."
Said Colts safety Bob
Sanders, "Time stopped for me. Everything just paused and
stopped. I kind of froze for a second, because I didn't think it was
over, but it was over.
"Time just stopped
for me. I kind of looked up to the sky and thanked God."
For once, Tom Brady didn't
have the answer.
In our mind's eye, covering
80 yards in 54 seconds with two timeouts is right in Brady's
wheelhouse. After all, hasn't he always come through?
Call Sunday's heart-stopping,
gut-wrenching 38-34 New England loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the
AFC Championship Game a lesson in reality.
The reality is, it's different when you need a
touchdown on the last drive, not a field goal.
The reality is, when your defense stops making plays and asks you to
score 40 points to win, the trick isn't as easy as it looks.
The reality is, that when you've been as inconsistent as Brady has
been through the course of the season, summoning perfection in the
final moments isn't an automatic.
And so Brady showed he was human, throwing an interception into the
waiting arms of defensive back Marlin Jackson on the Colts 35-yard
line with 20 seconds left.
It was a poor decision by the three-time Super Bowl winner, a
desperation throw that came on something less than a desperation
play. It was first down and the Patriots still had a timeout to burn.
They never got a chance to take a shot at the end zone.
What was Brady thinking when he headed out to the field for that
The same thing millions of fans in New England were thinking.
"We've got to score. We need a touchdown," said Brady.
"Time was an issue. It wasn't like there was two-and-a-half
minutes left. You've got a minute. It's tough."
Things started out well enough, with Brady hitting Benjamin Watson
for 19 yards on second down, and Heath Evans for a 15-yard gain on
the next snap. After a timeout, Brady came back out with the offense
poised for magic.
But on the next snap disaster struck.
"I was trying to go to Ben and he undercut it," said Brady.
"I tried to force it in there. In hindsight, you always wish
that you threw it away. I was just trying to get rid of it quick."
And when the confetti started streaming down from the top of the RCA
Dome a minute later, the Pats walked off stunned. They had become so
accustomed to pulling these games out that any other result seemed illogical.
But it actually made a great deal of sense. Check the history. For
the most part, the Pats won their three world championships with
Brady and the offense playing complementary roles to the defense.
Prior to Sunday, the most postseason points the Pats had given up
under Bill Belichick was 29 to Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The
most they had ever had to score were the 32 they put up on the Panthers.
The Patriots aren't a shootout kind of team. Never have been.
Probably never will be under Belichick.
Tedy Bruschi was asked what was going through his mind when he saw
Brady walk out onto the field for the final drive.
"I was confident," Bruschi said. "But their defense
made the play to win the game and ours didn't."
By Michael Felger
The Boston Herald
ended 27-of-47 for 349 yards with a touchdown and an interception for
Indianapolis, which had its playoff runs cut short by Brady and New
England both in 2003 and '04. Manning also added a rushing touchdown,
while Dallas Clark hauled in six catches for 137 yards.
Brady went 21-of-34 for 232 yards with a touchdown and a pick for the Patriots.
New England wins the toss and
elects to receive while The Colts elects to defend the East goal.
Adam Vinatieri kicks it off
for 64 yards to Patriots 6 yard line as Ellis Hobbs brings it back
for 18 yards to their 24 before he is met with Colts Marlin Jackson
and Rocky Boiman.
Patriots succeeded in moving
the chains once on their first drive before they were forced to punt.
Todd Sauerbrun punts 49 yards
to Colts 13 as Terrance Wilkins ran it back for 16 yards before he
was pushed out of bounds at Colts 29 yard line.
Peyton started the series off
handing the ball off to Joseph Addai as he ran to the left side for a
gain of 6 before he was knocked out of bounds by Ellis Hobbs. Next
play, this time Addai tried to run to the right to only gain a yard
Third and ONLY 3 yards to go,
Peyton fires a long haul to Joseph Addai down the sideline, yet
overthrew the Runningback to bring out Hunter Smith as he punts 52
yards to Patriots before a penalty was called on Colts, Tyjuan Hagler
for Illegal Motion, 5 yards, enforced at Colts 36 - No Play.
Hunter punts it away again
for 44 yards to Patriots 25 as Kevin Faulk signals for a fair catch.
Brady hits WR, Reche Caldwell
for a gain of 18 yards before he was knocked out of bounds Robert Mathis.
First and ten and Maroney is
nailed for loss of 2 yards by Gary Brackett who was injured on the
play. His return is Probable.
Faulk ran the ball on
Patriots next 2 plays with gains of 3 and 8 yards.
New England faced a fourth
and 1 and a deafening crowd from the Colts 48 during their second
possession of the game. The Colts defense lined up tight, defending a
Brady sneak but the call was to Dillon who found all kinds of room
off right tackle and he rumbled 35 yards to the Colts 13. A Maroney
run for 9 brought up second and 1 from the 4 where Brady kept for 1
and a first down.
On the next play, when
Patriots' rookie running back Laurence Maroney and quarterback Tom
Brady botched the exchange on a handoff near the Colts' end zone and
the ball shot forward. At least four Colts players dove for the ball
but somehow none of them came up with the recovery. Suddenly the ball
rolled into the end zone where Logan Mankins picked it up for the
unlikely touchdown for a 7-0 Pats' lead.
Patriots kicker, Gostkowski
kicks 70 yards from to Colts end zone for a Touchback.
Peyton and The Colts start
off at their 20 yard line as Peyton hits Marvin Harrison for 8 yards
before he ran out of bounds. Addai got 8 yards himself as he ran
though the line on the next play. First and ten. Peyton throws a
short pass to Marvin, however Asante Samuel broke that play up.
Second and Ten and Peyton finds Reggie Wayne to his left for a gain
of 13 yards. Addai ran for 3 on the next play and then Peyton tried
to go deep on the next play to Harrison but fell short. Third
and Seven and Peyton finds Dallas Clark for a gain of 12 yards and a
First Down. Peyton hands off to Addai as he gained 4 yards and then
found Utecht over the middle for a gain of 5 and ten Addai picked up
the easy 1 yarder for another First Down.
Colts are on The Patriots 26
yard line knocking on the door to the end zone. The crowd is hyped.
However, The Colts struggled as Ryan Diem was called for Offensive
Holding, bringing the ball back 10 yards.
First and twenty and Peyton
tries to hook up in the End Zone to Wayne, however Hobbs batted the
Addai got 11 yards on the
next play but wasn't enough for a First Down as the Colts had to
settle for 3 on a Vinatieri 42-yarder after Manning led the 14-play
drive that started at his own 20.
3 Patriots 7
Vinatieri kicks 71 yards to
Patriots -1 as Hobbs runs it back for 29 yards to their 28 before he
is met with the ravoc of Darryl Reid and Tyjuan Hagler.
seconds left in the First Quarter as Dillon runs the ball up the
middle for a Patriots 2 yarder and finishing the quarter with Brady
hitting Watson for 7 yards as Bob Sanders pushes him out of bounds.
continued . . .
second quarter got underway with the Patriots third and 1 at their
own 37. Brady kept for the first down and then connected with Heath
Evans on a swing pass for 10 yards to the 49. Maroney carried twice
for 5 and 8 yards and things were looking good for the Patriots on
this drive. But an incomplete and a Dillon run for a loss of 1
brought up third and 11. Faulk caught a screen but only for 5 yards
and now Brady faced a fourth and 6 from the Colts 34.
lined up and then called timeout. When play resumed, New
England went for it and Brady found Troy Brown over the middle for
the first down and more. Brown's yards after the catch brought him to
the 7 where Dillon almost looked like he could have walked in for the score;
-3 Patriots - 14
kicks it 69 yards to the Colts 1 as Wilkins runs it back for 25
yards before he fumbles the ball, luckily though, it was recovered by
Colts' Tyjuan Hagler at The Colts 28 yard line.
Indianapolis Colts wide
receiver Terrence Wilkins (10) tries to break the tackle of New
England Patriots cornerback Antwain Spann (31) in the second quarter
of the AFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007, in
Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Rhodes was in for Joseph Addai as he ran the first play for a gain of
3 yards, however, that's as far as the Colts drive went.
when the playoff jitters came to haunt Manning once again. On his
second play after getting the ball back, he looked to Harrison in the
right flat but Samuel read it all the way. In a flash he was in front
of Harrison with the ball in his hands and nothing but green between
him and six points.
interception return put New England up 21-3
with 9:25 left in the first half.
The New England defense
showed no mercy, forcing Manning out of the pocket and into a slide
on first down for a loss of 1 after the Colts got the ball back. On
second down, Colvin shot through the middle for a sack of 11. After a
delay penalty on Indy brought up third and 24 from the 3, which was
bullshit as Peyton signaled for a timeout but never received it.
Manning looked deep down the
sideline to Harrison but once again, Samuel was there for the break-up.
Colts are forced to punt as
Hunter Smith kicks it for 53 yards to Patriots 44, as Troy Brown
returns it to the Colts 48 for 8 yards.
On the Patriots first play of
this series, Maroney was met by Bob Sanders for a loss of 3 yards.
Brady then started passing the ball around to Brown for 5 yards,
Watson for a whopping 14 then to Caldwell for another 5.
Again they tried to run
Maroney to only loose another yard as he was hit by Gary Brackett and
A penalty on Brown stalled
the next Patriots drive. On third and 6, Brady connected with Ben
Watson for the first down but Brown was flagged for offensive pass
interference when he ran into the Colts defender off the line. The
call set New England back 10 yards and they never recovered, as Evans
did gain 4 yards for The Patriots, on the next play Watson was
flagged for illegal Motion, 5 yards, enforced at Colts 38 - No Play.
Third and Twentyone and Brock
comes in for the kill and sacks Brady for a loss of 6 yards having to
punt the ball back to Indy with just over three minutes remaining in
Sauerbrun punts 37 yards to
Colts 12 as Wilkins signals for a fair catch at Patriots 31.
Patriots', Antwain Spann was
injured during the play. His return is Probable.
With a little over 3 minutes
left in the half, Manning went into his hurry-up and starting from
his 12, heated up with passes to Wayne, Harrison and Aaron Moorehead,
moving swiftly down the field as the Patriots gave prevent cushion. A
12-yarder to Dallas Clark took things down to the Patriots 6 yard
line with 24 seconds left. On first and goal, Dominic Rhodes was
stuffed for a loss of 2. Next, Clark had a sure touchdown bang off
his chest and incomplete. With 15 seconds left, Manning was running
out of time. Wayne was in single coverage with Hobbs and Manning
tried to lead him but the ball fell over the reach of the Colts wide
receiver as a flag flew. The call was pass interference on Hobbs but
after a referee conference, the flag was picked up since it was clear
to at least one of the refs that Wayne tripped with no contact coming
from Hobbs. The incomplete brought up fourth down and another
Vinatieri field goal to close out the first half proceedings with the
holding a mammoth 21-6 lead.
Vinatieri kicks off for 45
yards to Patriots 25 as Chad Jackson muffs the catch, but was lucky
to have it recovered by Troy Brown at their 20.
With 7 seconds on the
clock, Brady takes a knee to end the First Half.
6 Patriots - 21
Colts fans look worried as
their team falls behind the New England Patriots in the first half.
- Robert Scheer
"I just told them we
had to keep our poise and take it one drive at a time," Dungy
Manning said Dungy's steady
approach helps steady the team.
"That calm look he
has on his face," Manning said. "He's calm when
you're down 21-3. He's just a cool customer and I think that spreads
to the team."
Saturday's Words Motivated
Colts Throughout Championship-Game Victory
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy's
not one for fiery speeches, pre-game, halftime or otherwise.
But he knows a good speech
when he hears it.
And on Saturday night, he
heard one from Colts center Jeff Saturday.
Saturday, a two-time Pro Bowl
selection and a leader of the Colts' offense, spoke to the team late
Saturday night. This was after the Colts' final meeting of that, and
it came after Dungy's final words to the team.
He said, 'This is our
time! We've got to make it happen!"
Saturday recalled it in
detail . . .
"I started by telling
all the guys how much respect I had for each one and I believe in
them," Saturday said. "We all knew this was our
opportunity. I kind of made a parallel to the move, 'Miracle,' with
Herb Brooks and what he said. The thing I tried to emphasize the most
is, 'This is our time, this is our team. We just need to step up and
make it happen.'
"Guys did it."
Throughout the second half,
as the Colts scratched and clawed their way back from a 21-3
first-half deficit and into their first Super Bowl in their 23-year
history in Indianapolis, Dungy made sure Colts players didn't forget
"All I did at that
time was go up and down the sidelines and tell the guys, 'It's still
our time - we got plenty of time left,''' Dungy said.
Indy got the first crack at
offense in the second half and in a drive that lasted nearly seven
minutes; Manning finally put six points on the board going 76 yards
in 14 plays. Running by Rhodes started things off for 2 yards.
Manning then found Marvin Harrison for 7 and then Rhodes again for a
First Down and some.
Next play of the series,
Rhodes again, this time finding a hole and breaking away for 10
yards, another First Down.
Rhodes again for 2 on the
next play and then Peyton found Marvin open again for a pick up of 13
yards, First and Ten.
Rhodes again, this time for 5
yards. On the next play, Peyton threw incomplete to Reggie Wayne.
however they made up for it on the next play for a gain of 12.
First and Ten and Peyton
wings one over to Rhodes for 4 yards, then one over the middle to
Aaron Moorehead for a gain of 8 with Colts again knocking on The
Patriots door with a First and Goal at the 9 yard line.
Addai runs the ball on the
next 2 plays picking up 4 yards on each carry. Colts at The Patriots
1 yard line.
Third and 1, the ball is
snapped as Peyton Manning plows forward for the Touchdown!
13 Patriots - 21
Vinatieri kicks off for 63
yards to Patriots 7 as Maroney runs it back for 11 yards before he is
hit by Darryl Reid at the Patriots 18 yard line.
Brady takes the snap and
throws a short pass to Caldwell incomplete. Faulk runs the ball up
the middle on the next play for 8 yards as Robert Mathis prevents him
from getting the First Down. Third and Two, and Brady finds Evans on
the side at the line of scrimmage and is hit by Antoine Bethea and
Jason David, knocking out of bounds for no gain.
As Indy and its crowd were
looking like their back in this game with the three and out by New
England further gave hope to the home team as Todd Sauerbrun boomed a
58-yard punt and the Colts had the ball back on their 24 down by only
Suddenly, it was if the
Patriots defense that had played so stout in the first half, never
came out of the locker room.
Manning engineered a
7-play drive starting it off with a deep pass to Dallas Clark for a
huge 25 yards. Colts and the The RCA Dome are fired up. Colts kept it
on the ground this time with Rhodes breaking through for a whopping
Peyton fell incomplete on the
next play to Harrison as Rhodes took the next play for a gain of 5,
however Colts elected to take the penalty on Patriots', Richard
Seymour for Neutral Zone Infraction and 5 yards enforced.
Addai is back in as he picks
up 3 yards on the next play and Colts knocking on The Patriots Door
again at the 19.
As Peyton threw incomplete on
the next play, he throws deep into the end zone, to Reggie Wayne,
who's given Ellis Hobbs the slip and is streaking down the sideline
for a touchdown catch.
But Hobbs stays with Reggie.
He closes on Wayne, chopping his feet to avoid bumping into the
wideout, a sure penalty since his back is to the passer. Wayne's eyes
widen, indicating the ball is on its way. Free from contact, Hobbs
jumps up but doesn't turn to look for the football, which strikes
Hobbs' left biceps from behind and falls to the turf dead.
Penalty flags fly, and
referee Bill Carollo turns on his mic to let everyone know that the
penalty's on the "Defense.
Pass Interference (face-guarding),
Automatic First Down.
Little Side Note
is no NFL rule against face-guarding.
It is legal to face-guard a receiver.
In order to have pass interference you must
have contact. Any act without contact is not considered a foul.
On January 22, 2007, League official admits:
a bad call was made
Not that it matters! Colts
would have scored anyway!
on Colts next play, Peyton
hooked up with Klecko, a former Patriots player who lined up at
fullback and caught a swing pass for a 1-yard touchdown making it a
19 - 21 score.
Colts DT Dan Klecko dives
towards the end zone with his third quarter touchdown.
Indy successfully went for
the two point conversion and the tie, with Manning hitting Harrison
for the conversion
Harrison grabs this two-point conversion to pull things even at 21-21
in the third
to tie the ball game with
21 Patriots - 21
Just when all was looking
good for The Colts with just about 4 minutes left in the Third
Quarter , Adam Vinatieri kicks it off 71 yards, sending it a yard
inside Patriots end zone . . .
Hobbs fielded the kickoff and
headed out and immediately saw daylight up the right side. The speedy
corner was off and not down until he was tackled at the Colts 21 by
On first down Maroney was hit
by Gary Brackett for a loss of 1 yard. On second down, Brady hit
Brown for 17 yards to the 5. Dillon lost a yard on the next play
after being hit by Rob Morris and Caldwell dropped a straight up,
dead in his hands, all alone in the end zone - easy touchdown pass on
second down. On third, Brady had plenty of time as the Colts flooded
the end zone with coverage. Finally, Brady spotted Jabar Gaffney
along the back of the end zone and fired high as the Patriots scored
on a controversial call when Gaffney came down with a leaping
touchdown catch after tip-toeing along the back line of the endzone,
just managing to stay inbounds before jumping for the ball. Gaffney
was hit just as one foot landed in bounds. The play on the field was
ruled a touchdown as the refs determined Gaffney was pushed out of
bounds. Tony Dungy challenged the play and it went into review.
The play stood and the Patriots
took a 28-21 lead while the
Colts lost what could be a valuable timeout in a close game.
Gostkowski kicks for 49 yards
to Colts 21 as Wilkins runs it back for 12 yards to their own 33 yard line.
minute and 25 seconds left in the Third Quarter, Dominic Rhodes ate
up all that time when Peyton dumps a short right pass to Rhodes
for a First Down, Colts at their 33.
Tight end Ben Utecht was
injured during the play when he sprained his right knee. His return
Next play, up the middle,
hitting Rhodes again, this time for 13 yards, another First Down.
Colts are in Patriots territory on their 44 yard line.
Nine seconds left to end the
Third Quarter and Peyton hands it off to Rhodes this time for him to
bust through for a gain of 9, Colts are on Patriots 35.
continued . . .
The Colts offense was at it
again as the game entered the fourth quarter. They were making things
look really easy with Dominic Rhodes
ending the 3rd Quarter with him catching three passes for 11, 13 and
9 yards down to the Patriots 35.
As the fourth quarter opened,
it was second and 1 for Manning and he handed to Addai for 3 and the
First Down. Now with first and 10 from the 32, Manning lofted a
beautiful pass that only Clark could catch and the tight end did just
that 23 yards downfield putting them on the New England 9 yard line
knocking on the Patriots door one more time.
Next play, Rhodes ran for 4
yards to end up on Pats 5 yard line.
On the next play a penalty
call on Patriots' Tight End, JarvisGreen for a Neutral Zone
Infraction put The Colts at half the distance of the goal (3 yard
line) where on the next drive Colts came right back, and proving
that one good offensive lineman deserves another when Peyton's
handoff to Dominic Rhodes misfired, just as Brady and Maroney had
done early in the game. The ball scooted forward and Colts center,
Jeff Saturday got this touchdown, mimicking Patriots Offensive Guard,
Logan Mankins' first quarter score as Colts tie the score at 28
Jeff Saturday (63) scored by jumping on a Dominic Rhodes fumble near
the goal line early in the fourth quarter.
After that drive, Manning
could be seen on the sideline, nursing a sore thumb and talking to
Backup Quarterback Jim Sorgi, and you can plain as day see Peyton
mouth the words, "Be ready!"
But he wasn't coming out.
January 22, 2007
fine," Colts owner
Jim Irsay said in an interview Monday night. "X-rays
The Colts are, however, concerned about
the health of cornerback Nick Harper.
Harper sustained a sprained left ankle
during the first quarter of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. He
did not return to the lineup.
Adam Vinatieri kicks it off
for 73 yards 3 yards inside the Patriots end zone as Hobbs runs it
out to their 27.
Patriots went no where as The
Colts Defense poured it on allowing only a 4 yard pass to Watson,
then Freeney laying out Maroney for a loss of two and on their third
down, Brady connected with Maroney for 6 yards, not enough for a
first as Patriots were forced to punt.
Colts' hard hitting safety,
Bob Sanders was injured during the play.
For the first time
since their first possession of the game, the Colts had the ball and
a chance to take the lead.
That chance was squandered as
Manning tripped dropping back on second and 10 from his 22 for a loss
of 7. An incomplete on third forced the punt and for the first time
in what seemed like a very long time, the Patriots defense stopped
the Colts offense.
Brown fielded the punt and
his return and a penalty on the Colts kick team gave New England
first and 10 at the Colts 43.
Brady went right to his wide
receivers, hitting Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney for 16 and 14 yards
down to the Colts 13. Once there, Brown was called for an illegal
On First and Fifteen,
Caldwell lined up on the far right end of the line WITH NO ONE FROM
THE COLTS COVERING HIM . . .
HE'S WIDE OPEN!
The ball is snapped, the
whole Patriots sideline is screaming and pointing to the wide open,
all alone, one of Patriots lead in receptions wide receiver, Reche
Caldwell - of course, who wouldn't - Brady tosses the ball for what
would have been at least 10 yards but he dropped the easy catch and
the drive stalled.
The second time in this game
an EASY TO MAKE catch.
Brady then threw for 8 yards
to Evans and then threw incomplete to Caldwell on Third and Seven.
Brady walks off the field as
the the Field Goal Team comes on for Stephen Gostkowski to kick a
27-yard field goal with 7:35 left to play.
28 Patriots - 31
The Colts and Peyton Manning
wasted no time as he hit Dallas Clark on the first play of their
drive down the middle seam for 48 yards putting them on the Patriots
23 yard line.
Dallas Clark gains extra
yardage as he is pursued by Artrell Hawkins of the Patriots in the
Photo by Robert Scheer
Colts are knockin' again!
Rhodes runs the next play for
5 yards, however, Peyton throws incomplete on the next.
Third and Five and Peyton
hits Rhodes for 2 yards as Vinatieri comes out and boots a 36 yarder
through the goal post to tie the ball game
- 31 Patriots - 31,
with 5:31 left in the game!
Vinatieri kicks 65 yards to
the Patriots 5 yard line as Hobbs returns another good one for a gain
of 41 yards to the Patriots 46.
On first down Brady
lofted a pass over the Colts linebackers that Graham caught for 25 yards.
4:39 left in the game,
Patriots on Colts 29 as Brady throws 2 incompletions back to back.
Third and Ten and 4:29 left
in the game, Brady from the shotgun fires to Evans for a whole gain
Again, Brady walks off the
field as The Field Goal Team comes on and Gostkowski hits a 43-yard
attempt making the score
31 Patriots - 34
The tension in the RCA Dome
Peyton starts this series
from the Colts 20 yard line after a touchback by Gostkowski. From the
shotgun, Peyton fires an incomplete pass to Clark.
3:46 left, Second and Ten as
Peyton looks for Aaron Moorehead deep down the field as it went out
3:41 left in the game and
it's Third and Ten and Peyton fires another one to Moorehead as it
came up incomplete!
NOW IT'S F@$#ING TENSE!!!!
Smith punts 56 yards to New
Englands 24 as Brown returns it for 16 yards before he is hit by
Kieth O'Neil at the Patriots 40.
On their first down, Patriots
were called for a penalty having 12 men in the huddle, 5 yards,
enforced at Patriots 40 - No Play.
First and Fifteen with 3:22
left on the clock as Brady connects with Caldwell for 7 yards before
Marlin Jackson rips into him.
Second and Eight with
2:39 left and Brady connects with Watson for a gain of 4 before he is
met up with Antoine Bethea and Jason David.
Colts call their second time
out with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.
Third and Four yards to go
for a first with 2:30 left in the game.
A first down could
realistically put away the Colts.
Brady locked on receiver Troy
Brown, who was slanting outside. Colts Safety, Bob Sanders read the
play, broke on the pass and, for a split second, had it in his hands
with nothing but open field in front of him. He couldn't hang on to
it, but it was still a stop.
"I kind of stumbled
for a second but I just wanted to break on it," Sanders
said. "I don't care if I broke it up, caught it or scored; it
didn't matter; it was going to give our offense another chance to put
points on the board."
After a touchback, Colts at
their own 20 yard line, Manning had 2:17 to either tie or take the lead.
OH MY GOD,
Colts head coach Tony
Dungy was unable to watch the Colts' final possession.
Photo by Sam Riche
Peyton Manning lines up in
the shotgun, takes a short drop and rifles a pass to the left side to
Reggie Wayne, who had run a quick out pattern against Patriots
cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Crisp pattern, quick 11-yard gain. First down.
Manning is again in the
shotgun, but this time he's pressured by Patriots end Ty Warren, who
gets past guard Jake Scott. The pass to tight end Bryan Fletcher
falls incomplete as Patriots linebacker Eric Alexander defends.
Second and Ten with 2:08 on
the clock and Peyton again is in the Shotgun Formation. The ball is
snapped, while backpedaling out of the shotgun to avoid Warren's
pressure up the middle, Manning lofts a pass to the left side to
Fletcher, who had drawn one-on-one coverage by Alexander and easily
got past him. Back-up tight end Bryan Fletcher pulls in his only
reception of the game, a 32-yarder.
Colts TE Brian Fletcher
(81) steps out of bounds after he caught a 32-yard pass from Manning
late in the fourth
"This is scary to say
because who knows where his ego will go from here, but that was his
call," Manning said about Fletcher. "He said, 'give
me a corner route on that guy.'
"So we called the
appropriate play to get him on the corner route and they were really
The 32-yard pass to Fletcher
put the Colts in field goal range.
The big gain allows them to
start thinking about scoring 7 for the win rather than just 3 for the tie.
First and Ten on Patriots 37
with 2:01 on the clock and again Peyton is in the shotgun, Manning
hits Wayne, who had run a quick left-to-right slant against Hobbs.
Wayne makes the catch in stride for a 14-yard gain, and adds some heart-stopping
theatrics by temporarily losing control of the ball as Chad Scott
wraps him up. The ball squirts high into the air, but Wayne secures
it as he's being tackled, and the completion becomes a 26-yard gain
due to a penalty on Tully Banta-Cain for making contact with
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
First and Ten knocking on
Patriots Door at New Englands 11 yard line with 1:53 left on the clock.
Colts are now in striking distance.
Joseph Addai powers over the
right side for 5 yards.
Second Down and Five on
Patriots 6 yard line and again with Addai as he runs up the middle
New England calls their first
Third and Two and The Colts
are knockin' HARD on Patriots front door just aching to get in!!!
1:02 remaining in the game
and the rookie seals the deal. Joseph Addai takes a handoff from
Manning and finds a clear path to the end zone as the middle of the
Patriots defense opened up wide running between crisp blocks by
guards Scott and Ryan Lilja and The Colts were one minute away from
being in the Super Bowl!
Joseph Addai #29 of the
Indianapolis Colts runs in a touchdown to take the lead late in the
fourth quarter over the New England Patriots during the AFC
Championship Game on January 21, 2007 at the RCA Dome in
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Addai continued through the
end zone and leaped to the top of the stadium wall, where he was
embraced by fans.
quarterback Peyton Manning celebrates the go-ahead touchdown late in
the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots AFC Championship
football game Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007, in Indianapolis. The Colts won 38-34.
(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Vinatieri extra point is good
. . .
38 Patriots - 34
1 minute left to play and I
myself, although pumped up and excited, was still a little weary.
It's the Playoffs, it's The Patriots.
From the shotgun, Brady on
his first play throws it incomplete.
49 seconds left and Brady
again from the shotgun, fires to Watson for a gain of 19 yards.
"STOP 'EM COLTS!
LET'S GO "D""
31 seconds on the clock and
ticking, Brady with a no huddle in the Shotgun finds Evans for a gain
of 15 yards.
New England calls their 2nd Timeout
with 00:24 left in the game.
First Down in Colts territory
on the 45. Brady in the shotgun fires it over the middle to Watson .
Marlin Jackson spent the
season switching positions, first playing cornerback, then switching
to safety during a rash of injuries.
On Sunday, he got his reward.
Because on Sunday, he made
the play that secured the Colts' first trip to the Super Bowl in 36 years.
With the Colts leading,
38-34, and less than a minute remaining, Jackson - the Colts'
first-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft - cut in front of a pass
from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. His interception at the Colts 35
secured the victory.
New England Patriots
quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field after throwing an
interception in the final minute against the Indianapolis Colts in
the AFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007, in
Indianapolis. The Colts won 38-34
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Indianapolis Colts at 0:16
Manning takes a knee . . .
38 Patriots - 34
THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS ARE
GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!
In the wild, confetti-strewn
scene on the field afterward, owner Jim Irsay accepted the Lamar Hunt
Trophy, and made it clear there's still work to be done.
"It's an incredible
day for us,'' he said. "I just couldn't be happier for
our team and for all our fans.
"We have one more
mission! One more mission in Miami! We're not done yet!''
Plunkett (R) hands the trophy to Jim Irsay, the owner of the
Indianapolis Colts after the Colts defeated the New England Patriots
38-34 the AFC Championship Game on January 21, 2007 at the RCA Dome
in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Indy will now face the
Chicago Bears on Feb 4 in Super Bowl XLI. The match-up will not just
be about Peyton Manning's first trip to the big game or the Bears
first trip since their magical 1985 season. there will be plenty of
focus on it being the first time two African-American head coaches
will face off in the season finale, Tony Dungy of the Colts and Lovie
Smith of the Bears.
Last time they met, Bears had
The Indianapolis Colts
marched into Soldier Field on Nov. 21, 2004, and gave the Bears a
black eye. A big one, A 41-10 thrashing. Edgerrin James ran for 204
yards, Peyton Manning threw for four scores, and both sat out the
entire fourth quarter.
This was Manning's first
come-from-behind win in the playoffs
Three lineman in all scored
touchdowns in this contest
The Colts are now 1-3 in AFC
Championship games since 1970
Manning ranks second on the
NFL's consecutive starts list, behind Brett Favre. He has started 156
consecutive games, including playoffs, in his nine-year career.
In fact, Manning has only
missed one play because of injury - in a 2001 game against Miami.
Dolphins defensive end
Lorenzo Bromell hit Manning with his helmet under the chin strap,
fracturing Manning's jaw and drawing blood. Backup Mark Rypien
replaced Manning, botched the handoff on the ensuing play and the
Dolphins returned the fumble for a touchdown. Bromell was later fined
$15,500 for the helmet-to-helmet hit.
Colts tight end Dallas Clark
has three 100-yard games in this year's playoffs, matching the number
he has in 48 career regular-season games. He's the first tight end in
NFL history with two 100-yard games in the same postseason.
The Patriots hold a decisive
41-27 edge in their all-time regular season series with the Colts,
but have lost each of the last three meetings with Indy.
Las Vegas oddsmakers
installed Indianapolis as a one-touchdown favorite in the Super Bowl
on Feb. 4 at Miami's Dolphin Stadium.