Mr. Clutch did it again for the Indianapolis Colts – and no, I am not referring to quarterback Peyton Manning although in Sunday night’s game between the Colts and San Diego Chargers he had a hand in one of his patented, late-game drives. Mr. Clutch in this case was kicker Adam Vinatieri; with time expiring, Vinatieri booted a 51-yard field goal between the uprights, sending Indianapolis to the heart-stopping 23-20 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium.
The first quarter only had one score, a 23-yard FG by Vintieri giving the Colts a 3-0 lead going into the second quarter; the chargers would take a lead on a touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Vicnent Jackson, giving San Diego a 10-3 lead. But Manning would strike back with a TD pass of his own, a 13-yarder to Anthony Gonzalez, tying things up at 10; Manning would turn a Rivers turnover into paydirt as he threw a 1-yard TD pass to Dominic Rhodes, giving Indianapolis a 17-10 lead with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Colts would pad their lead to 20-10 on another FG by Vinatieri with 11:48 remaining in the game; but the Chargers would score the next 10 points – a FG by Nate Kaeding and a Rivers to Jacob Hester TD pass, knotting the game up at 20 with 1:30 left. Manning would drive the Colts down the field which was kept alive by a 14-yard reception by Marvin Harrison, which followed a lengthy review by the officials that took a first down away from Indianapolis.
The Colts called their last timeout with 15 ticks left on the clock; Joseph Addai would rush for a yard then Manning would spike the ball, setting up the game-winning FG by Vinatieri. Manning had a decent effort, going 32-of-44 for 255 yards with 2 TD’s and an interception while Rivers went 24-of-31 for 288 yards with 2 TD’s. Addai led the Colts rushers with 70 yards on 16 carries while catching 7 passes for 31 yards; LaDanian Tomlinson led the Chargers rushing attack with 84 yards on 21 carries while catching 3 passes for 30 yards.
Gonzalez led all Colts receivers with 6 receptions for 95 yards and a TD while Harrison added 6 catches for 44 yards; Chris Chambers led all Chargers receivers with 6 recptions for 61 yards while Jackson caught 2 pases for 57 yards and a score. Indianapolis (7-4) plays again on Sunday when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns while San Diego (4-7) remains home to host the Atlanta Falcons – also on Sunday.