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The Colts Influence




Indianapolis Colts At New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium  November 15, 2006

Game 9

 November 15, 2006





















Date: 11/5/2006
Indianapolis Colts At New England Patriots 
at Gillette Stadium

Start Time: 8:20 PM EST

Game Day Weather
Clear and cold
Played Outdoor on Turf: Grass


Referee: Ron Winter (14)
Line Judge: Tom Stephan (68)
Field Judge: Bill Lovett (98) Umpire: Roy Ellison (81)
Side Judge: John Parry (132)
Replay Official: Ken Baker  
Head Linesman: Tom Stabile (24)
Back Judge: Jim Howey (37)
Video Operator: Jim Grant


It used to be Indianapolis made the mistakes and couldn't handle New England's pressure. Now, it's the Patriots' Tom Brady throwing more interceptions than the Colts' Peyton Manning, and the Colts departing Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a 27-20 victory to improve to 8-0.

 Indianapolis entered the game with the only perfect record after Chicago lost to Miami 31-17 earlier Sunday.

The Colts became the only team to start consecutive seasons at 8-0 since the Green Bay Packers did it three straight years from 1929-31. And for the first time in his brilliant career, Manning has thrown for 300 yards in three consecutive games.

It's the second November in a row that the Colts have staked a claim as the AFC's team to beat. On November 7 2006, they won here in Gillette Stadium, 40-21 to stay unbeaten. They eventually secured the No. 1 playoff seed.

The Colts had plenty of help from a defense that had been far from perfect all season. With four interceptions. The Colts began the day tied for 21st in points allowed. But the first sign the defense would be a positive factor came when Antoine Bethea ended the Patriots' first drive with an interception in the end zone.

Indianapolis Colts defensive back Antoine Bethea (41) intercepts a pass by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the first quarter of their football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in Foxborough, Mass. At rear is Indianapolis Colts defensive back Jason David. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Colts, Wide Reciever Marvin Harrison burned the Patriots with eight receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

Bob Sanders returned to the Indianapolis Colts' defense Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

The team's Pro Bowl safety was credited with a team-high 11 tackles, several in his usual authoritative style, and produced one of the Colts' season-high four interceptions of New England quarterback Tom Brady in a 27-20 victory.

The rest of the defense seemed to feed off Sanders' intensity. It finished with five takeaways - the four interceptions and a fumble recovery by tackle Raheem Brock.

Sanders had practiced only once all week, and at 6:48 p.m., Dungy still had no word. The coach had to turn in his list of eight inactive players at 6:50 and he expected Sanders to be on it, but Sanders wanted to play, insisted he could play. The decision was made. Sanders played the entire game.

"The defense is really designed with him in mind," Dungy said. "We have a lot of defenses where he's the free hitter and that free hitter has to make the tackles, and when he's making them, they're 3- and 4-yard gains instead of 6- and 7-yard gains. That changes the whole complexion of the defense, but more than anything, I think, is the energy he brings us and the confidence.

"He lifts everybody's play."

Sanders had missed the previous five games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in September.

It looked like this one might turn into the shootout when both teams quickly racked up two touchdowns each in the first half. But as the game progressed, turnovers, penalties and three missed field goals -- one by Stephen Gostkowski and two, yes, two, by Adam Vinatieri -- kept both teams from establishing any type of momentum.

A steady Manning kept the crowd quiet for most of the game and threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts, who began the game with five interceptions in seven games, intercepted Tom Brady four times. They allowed no touchdown passes, only two scoring runs by Corey Dillon and two field goals by rookie Stephen Gostkowski.



New England won the toss and elected to receive, and Colts elected to defend the South goal. Adam Vinatieri kicked it off 68 yards to New England's 2 as running back, Kevin Faulk returned it 17 yards before he was dropped by Marlin Jackson and Tyjuan Hagler. Patriots start off at their 19 yard line.

Patriots Ball

Patriots first two plays went nowhere as runningback, Corey Dillion was hit for a loss of 2 and Brady threw incomplete on the second play. A penalty was called on the play as Reche Caldwell was called for Offensive Pass Interference for a loss of 9 yards and No Play. Then the Patriots found their rhythm as Brady was leading them down the field. Dillion ran for 10, a 15 yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson gave them the First Down. Brady then threw a 9 yard pass to wide receiver, Chad Jackson. Laurence Maroney ran for 12 yards to only bring it back as NE Guard, Billy Yates was called for a False Start. Brady used Maroney again to run the ball 6 yards and Dillion ran it twice for gains of 7 and 4 yards. The Patriots appeared as if they were headed to put points up on their first drive, except Brady, on an ill-advised deep pass to Gabriel was picked off as Colts rookie safety Antoine Bethea just drifted over and caught it in the end zone and ran it back for 38 yards to the Colts 32.

Colts Ball

This drive looked in jeopardy when Peyton threw incomplete to Marvin on the first play and incomplete to Reggie on the second. To top their mishaps, my buddy Tarik Glenn was called for what? Yes, False Start! C'mon Tarik, your killing me! All is good as Peyton and Marvin made up for the losses when The Colts were faced with a third and fifteen as Manning scrambled to his left and chucked the ball long and into the middle of the field. Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark were both in the area, as Harrison brought it down for a 44 yard completion putting them on the Patriots 29 yard line.

Photo: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

Patriots, Rodney Harrison was hurt (arm) on the play and did not return. Next play, Utecht mimicked Tarik as he was called for a False Start. No biggie, Colts are still fired up as Dominic Rhodes runs it to the right for a gain of 7 before finding Marvin again for 9 yards. Addai made two runs of 4 and 1 yards while Peyton and Marvin connected again for 8 yards and the second one in the end zone from five yards out for a 7-0 lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

Matt Detrich

Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison (88) catches a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in front of the Patriots Ellis Hobbs (right) in the first quarter.

The touchdown was No. 114 in Harrison's career as he became the Colts all-time leader, passing Lenny Moore.

Patriots Ball

Patriots start off at their 32 after Vinatieri kicks off for 67 yards.

First and Ten and Brady hits T. Brown for 6 yards and is immediately penalized with a taunting call, (Honestly, it seemed like a bogus call. After falling out of bounds with the ball, he flipped the it back in the direction of the sideline judge. Apparently, the judge thought Brown was tossing it in the direction of the Colts Rocky Boman and threw his flag.) 15 yards enforced. If it's any consolation, it was his 534th reception tieing Stanley Morgan for a Patriot career record. Brady continued to pass the ball as he threw all over the field to anyone that was open as he hit Maoney for 1, 4 and 2 yards, threw deep and connected with Gabriel for 39, Dillon for 9 and completed two passes to K. Faulk foe a gain of 5 and another for 14 yards to end the first quarter on The Colts 5 yard line.

Second Quarter

Patriots Ball
continued . . .

Patriots continue their dive in this second quarter as Dillon runs up the middle for 4 yards, one yard short of a touchdown as Dillon runs it in for a touchdown on the next play, extra point is good making it a tied ball game 7 - 7.

Patriots, Gostkowski kicks it off for 69 yards as Terrance Wilkins runs it back for 17 yards to their 18 yard line.

Colts Ball

Peyton, Reggie Wayne,  Joseph Addai  and Dallas Clark took no time as they marched down the field for 82 yards in a little over 4 minutes as Peyton hit Reggie Wayne, feasting on Patriots coverage for gains of 18, 16 and 33 yards. A 7 yarder from Dallas Clark and a 7 yard run by Addai and another for 2 that took him into the endzone to make it a 14 - 7 lead.

Patriots Ball

Patriots used a lot of running plays on this drive as they marched down the field for 66 yards in a little under 6 minutes to end up with Corey Dillon running it in from 4 yards out and again tieing the ball game at 14 - 14.

Colts Ball

New England's coverage team didn't do any favors by allowing a 70-yard return to Terrence Wilkins on the ensuing kickoff.

Matt Kryger
Colts wide receiver Terrence Wilkins (10) makes a long kickoff return in the second quarter.

 That gave the Colts first and 10 at the Patriots 29. A pass interference call on Chad Scott moved the ball to the 9-yard line. After Addai was stopped for a 1-yard loss, Junior Seau broke into the backfield for a 9-yard sack of Manning. That set up a third and goal from the 17 but Asante Samuel was called for an illegal contact to change the scenario to first and 10 from the 12. Manning hooked up with Wayne for 7 yards as the two-minute warning with Indy second and 3 from the 5.

Manning looked to Wayne twice more but came up empty.

With a slight wind blowing in his face and puffing out the banners commemorating New England's three titles and his once adoring fans booing  in the stands, Vinatieri put his new team ahead as he was good on a 23-yard field goal to make the score 17-14 with 1:46 remaining.

Patriots Ball

The Patriots had one last shot before the half as Brady was leading the Patriots back down the field.

At around the minute mark, Brady was faced with a fourth and 1 that his sideline decided to try for. He ran a keeper and was lost in the pile-up in the middle of the field with the refs giving him the spot and the first down. The Colts challenged but the ruling on the field stood.

New England's final possession before intermission ended with Brady's second interception of the game as his pass deep over the middle was picked off by Bob Sanders at the Colts' 3-yard-line.

Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders (21) intercepts a pass from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second quarter of their football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in in Foxborough, Mass. At left are Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett and New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Colts Ball

With 16 seconds left in the half, Peyton Manning takes a knee to end the first half with Colts ahead 17 - 14.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts during the second quarter of their football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)


Third Quarter

Colts Ball

Patriot's kickoff as Terrance Wilkins returns it for 31 yards and Colts start the second half at their 31 yard line.

Manning opened the second half with a 36 yard completion to Harrison down to the Patriots 33. The Colts sputtered from there and on came Vinatieri for a 37-yard attempt which he missed wide right to the delight of Patriots fans in attendance.

Patriots Ball

On Patriots first play of their drive, Corey Dillon ran up the middle for 4 yards as he proceeded to fumble the ball.

Matt Kryger
Colts DE Raheem Brock (right) tackles Patriots running back Cory Dillon (28) and forcing a fumble in the third quarter.

 Colts, Raheem Brock picked up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone while Patriots looked on, thinking the play was over. New England challenged the play believing at the very least, Brock was down by contact where he recovered the fumble when Matt Light fell on him. That's the way the ref saw it after the review as well.

Colts Ball

The result was Indy getting the ball right back, first and 10 from the 31. However, the Colts could not convert the opportunity into points as the Patriots defense came up big with Rosevelt Colvin registering a 9-yard sack on second and 10 and Manning throwing incomplete on third forcing the first punt from either team in the game.

Patriots Ball

The Colts got the ball right back after the Patriots were forced into their first punt after four plays.

Colts Ball

This time Manning got back on track. Two big plays, a 29-yard pass to Harrison and a 35-yarder to Dallas Clark as Manning rolled to the right, brought up first and goal at the 5.

Two plays later, Peyton Manning connected with Marvin Harrison for a touchdown on a play that simply covered 4 yards.

Matt Detrich

Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison keeps his concentration on the ball as he splits Patriot defenders (from left) Mike Vrabel and Ellis Hobbs to pull in a touchdown pass in the third quarter.

It may very well stand through time.

"That's one of the better ones I've seen him make," Colts coach Tony Dungy said Monday, still marveling in spite of himself at Marvin Harrison's latest and greatest acrobatic catch.

In case anyone missed it, Harrison was locked in man coverage in the end zone, and Peyton Manning's pass came in behind him. Harrison bent his body back to tip the ball with his left hand, twisted to pull it in, then planted his right foot and dragged his left before falling out of bounds.

"I've seen him do some phenomenal things in practice. You kind of get used to seeing it in the game," Dungy said. "Nothing really takes my breath away in the game because you've seen so much of it before. But to change momentum like that and come back on an under-thrown ball, to have the ability to tip it, catch it, regroup, get your feet down, think about all those things, then do it athletically, that was a big-time play."

Colts fans may recall another gem from Harrison's 11-year career, his one-hander at Tennessee in 2003. The 42-yarder appeared to be overthrown, but he leaped and brought it in with only his right hand.

"This one was tougher, much tougher," Dungy said of Sunday's grab. "The one-hander, that's just a matter of getting your hand in the right place and catching it and concentrating. This one, you had to do a lot."

Matt Kryger
New England head coach Bill Belichick can't believe the outcome of the game after the Colts scored a touchdown in the third quarter.

And what a catch it was, a 4-yarder to push the Colts ahead 24-14 with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

Afterwards, Marvin Harrison was called for taunting in the end zone. On a long football Sunday littered with yellow flags and shameless expressions of self-celebration, nothing was half as shocking as the Colts' receiver drawing a penalty while celebrating his uncommon grace.

The Colts say it's the first time Harrison has ever committed this variety of flagrant foul. He's been in the NFL 11 years, too, 11 years at a position overrun by all the shouters and showboats and standup comics on a perpetual hunt for a quick setup and a cheap laugh.

This makes Marvin Harrison's 115th Touchdown. Harrison is about to dust Walter Payton on the career touchdown charts, with Jim Brown on deck.

Patriots Ball

New England got three points back on a 49-yard field goal making it 24-14.

A pass interference call on the Colts Marlin Jackson gave New England first and 10 at the Colts 31, Brady went incomplete on three straight passes to bring on the attempt of the 49-yard field goal.

Colts Ball

Terrence Wilkins fumbled the return that followed on a play forced and recovered by Artrell Hawkins.

Patriots Ball

Colts, Bob Sanders' impact was most evident during a head-on collision with Patriots running back Laurence Maroney in this drive. It was the biggest hit of the game.

Maroney is 5-11, 220 pounds, and as he pounded toward right guard, Sanders streaked in from the Colts' right side and launched. Maroney dropped like a rock for a 2-yard loss. What should have been a big break for New England ended in a missed 36-yard field goal attempt by Gostkowski with the game late in the third quarter.

Colts Ball

The Colts were on the verge of opening their lead up and in Patriots territory after starting the drive on their own 26.

Fourth Quarter

Colts Ball
continued . . .

Nevertheless a 7-yard sack by Colvin and Mike Vrabel brought up a second and 17 from the New England 30. Manning then looked to his right and threw right into the arms of Chad Scott who returned it to the Patriots 46.

Patriots Ball

Once again, New England could not take advantage of the turnover. After an incomplete on first down, Brady had his ball tipped by Robert Mathis and Cato June came up with the pick. It was Brady's third interception of the game.

Colts Ball

This Colts drive was not looking too good as Rhodes ran for no gain on their first play and Peyton threw incomplete on the next. However on 3rd and 10, Peyton found Utecht deep on the left for a gain of 16 yards. First and ten and Addai could not move the ball, however, Patriots, Colvin drew a Personal Foul and 15 yards were enforced. First and ten and Addai runs it for 2 yards as Peyton threw incomplete on the next two plays. The series ended with a Vinatieri 31-yard field goal which gave the Colts their 10 point lead back at 27-17.

Patriots Ball

Patriots drove from their 39 to the Colts 8 but failed to come up with a touchdown. The most the Patriots could make out of the drive was a 26-yard field goal making it 27 - 20 with 6:01 left to play.

Colts Ball

The three points seemed to be hardly enough as Manning brought his troops right back into scoring position with a 10-yard pass to Harrison and another 13 yards to Ben Utecht on his following series. At the two-minute warning, Vinatieri lined up to make it a two score game with a 46-yard field goal attempt. Incredibly, the ex-Patriot who had lined up so many times before at this stadium missed for the second time in the game.

Patriots Ball

The Patriots had one last chance with 1:55 left  to tie the game and send it into overtime. After a 25-yard completion to Watson to get things rolling, the Patriots' desperation drive ended just as a Brady's pass fluttered through the hands of running back Kevin Faulk and was intercepted by Colts linebacker Cato June, his second interception and Brady's fourth in the game.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field after a fourth-quarter interception against the Indianapolis Colts during their football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Colts Ball

With 1:18 left on the time clock, Peyton takes a knee twice to end the game at 27 Colts - Patriots 20 and The Colts remain undefeated at 8-0.

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots stands on the field before a game the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 5, 2006 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Game Notes 


The Colts rushed for a season-low 53 yards Sunday, 2.1 per carry

Dungy moved into a tie with New England coach Bill Belichick for 26th place on the career victory list. Dungy is 115-66-0 (.635) in 11 seasons. Belichick is 115-81-0 (.587) in 12 years, but he has won three Super Bowl titles to Dungy's none

Terrence Wilkins had kickoff returns of 70 and 43 yards but lost a fumble on the latter.

Cato June had two interceptions in the game

Colts linebacker Gary Brackett sustained a strained hamstring early in the third quarter and did not return. Rookie Freddie Keiaho replaced him and had six tackles.

Marvin Harrison continued to add his name to the Colts' record book. His 5-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the 114th of his career. That broke Lenny Moore's club record for overall touchdowns.

Harrison finished with eight receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. His 115 career TDs rank No. 8 in NFL history.

New England

It was the first time in his career that Brady threw four interceptions at home.

New England wide receiver Troy Brown had five catches in the game for 37 yards and is now the all-time reception leader for New England with 538. The previous record holder was Stanley Morgan with 534


The Colts return home next week to host Buffalo

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