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Sam Von Tobel breaks down the Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Tennessee Titans this past weekend.
Was it a fumble? Let the debate begin! A potentially game changing fumble by Colt’s tight end Dwayne Allen was not called in the waning seconds of Sunday’s game at Tennessee.
Whether it was a fumble or not, here are the facts: the Colts win in overtime 19-13.
Coming into the game, the Colts had dropped ten straight games on the road. Their last road victory came the day after Christmas in Oakland in 2010.
As usual, the Colt’s run game was stagnant even with starter Donald Brown back in the lineup after missing time with an injury. As usual, the team had handed the keys to Andrew Luck, who, as usual, ran for his life behind a shaky offensive line.
Add to the mix self-inflicted wounds such as dumb penalties, poor decision making on the part of Luck resulting in an end zone interception, and a missed assignment that resulted in a blocked field goal before the half. With all of this, the 13-6 Tennessee lead with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter seemed insurmountable.
With the game and a much needed divisional road game on the line, the Colts took a 70 yard march down the field that chewed up over seven minutes. The drive featured some clutch and precise throws from Luck as well as some signs of life from the run game. The drive culminated with second year running back Delone Carter picking up a fourth and one at the Tennessee eight yard line and finishing off the drive with a diving one yard touchdown.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who had a fine day throwing for 236 yards and a beautiful touchdown pass, managed drive the Titans to the Indianapolis 41 yard line before missing a wide open Jared Cook for a game breaking touchdown and were forced to punt.
With two timeouts and 56 seconds remaining on their own six yard line, the Colts attempted to keep it safe and take the game to a fifth period until they picked up ten yards on a third down to wide out Donnie Avery. With one last timeout and some confidence, the Colts ran one more play which will no doubt be picked at in the media for the rest of the week.
A dump down pass to Dwayne Allen appeared disastrous, as it seemed as though Allen was stripped before his elbow or knee was down with clear recovery near the Colt’s 20 by the Titans. The referees, however, called that Allen’s forward momentum was stopped when the ball came loose. Such an instance cannot be reviewed and overturned. Titans’ fans in attendance at LP Field were understandably irate as Luck took a knee on the next play and took the game to overtime.
Winning the coin toss, the Colts received the ball first and implemented a new strategy: power run game. So far in this game, the Colt’s ground attack had been anything but. However, the coaches must have seen something late in the game that they liked and could exploit. Enter Donald Brown, who had 39 of his 80 yards rushing on this drive. Facing a key third and eight at the Titan’s 46 yard line, Luck found his old faithful target Reggie Wayne for twenty yards. Wayne ended with a team high seven receptions for 91 yards.
A beautiful play call sealed the deal for the Colts. Luck faked the run to rookie running back Vick Ballard, then threw back across the field to him he stampeded ahead, and then leaped at about the four yard line and barrel rolled over the pylon for the 16 yard touchdown. The touchdown cut Luck’s cold streak of two games without a passing score; he finished with 297 yards, a touchdown, and a pick.
Controversy or not, this was a huge win for the Colts. Sitting pretty at 4-3, they are right in the middle of the hunt for a Wildcard spot as it seems Houston is not likely to relinquish their divisional lead. Luck continues to impress, and the team’s run game has shown improvement the last few weeks.
The only glaring weakness lies in the defense that still struggles against the run who gave up over 100 yards, and is allowing some receivers to get open in the secondary. They have shown, however, that they are capable of getting the job done and the season is far from over.
The Colts are home next week for another rookie quarterback matchup when Ryan Tannehill and the 4-3 Dolphins come to Lucas Oil.