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Sunday night the Indianapolis Colts (4-3) had lost 10 consecutive road games dating back to last season, and they were ready to take a win any way they could get it.
For Andrew Luck and the Colts it took two 80 yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and overtime combined to seal the team’s first victory away from Lucas Oil Stadium in more than half a season on Sunday against their division rival, the Tennessee Titans (3-5).
Indianapolis running back, Vick Ballard, went airborne and semi-back-flipped toward the end zone on a 16 yard catch and run on the first and only possession of overtime to end the contest.
It was Luck’s only touchdown pass of the afternoon, but the timing was impeccable.
“I threw it and I saw a Titans uniform flash and I thought, ‘Oh, God, this may be the end of the game in the wrong way,’” said Luck, who threw for 297 yards. “What a wonderful individual effort by Vick Ballard to get it in there.”
Both teams put up field goals in the first quarter. Titans quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck, who threw for 236 yards and a touchdown, connected with rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright for a touchdown on a 23 yard pass toward the left sideline of the end zone with only a minute remaining in the first half.
The two sides traded field goals the rest of the way until late in the fourth quarter when Indianapolis trailed 13-6 and was in need of a touchdown to tie the game.
With 10:56 to go in regulation and at his own 20 yard line, Luck took what the defense gave him. He relied on safe throws to open targets, and with 3:24 left on the clock, running back, Delone Carter, made his way into the end zone from one yard out to tie the score.
Running the football was very much a success for Indianapolis. They totaled 171 yards on the ground. In fact, Luck was responsible for 28 of those yards on 6 rushes.
Titans running back Chris Johnson had 99 rushing yards of his own on 21 carries.
The Titans had their opportunity to win the game following Carter’s touchdown, but were forced to punt after moving the ball all the way down to the Indianapolis 41 yard line.
After winning the coin toss and choosing to receive, the Colts allowed running back, Donald Brown, to do most of the heavy lifting in overtime.
But it was a 3rd and 8 conversion that put Indianapolis in position to end the game with a touchdown. Luck found veteran receiver, Reggie Wayne, in the middle of the field for a 20 yard gain down to the Tennessee 16.
Two plays later, Ballard was sprinting toward the end zone on a short pass from Luck, doing all he could to make sure he could get the ball inside the left pylon as he flew around it with his face pointing toward the sky.
The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, and after review the call remained the same. The game was over and the Titans were left shell-shocked at how quickly things appeared to make a complete 180.
“I don’t really understand how we lost the game,” said Hasselbeck.
Tennessee’s hoping that this won’t be the start of a trend, given that they’ll be seeing a lot of Luck for years to come.
Image Courtesy of Official Tennessee Titans