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Throwback Thursday: Miracle in the Motor City

Posted Jul 11, 2013

Intro: In a year of heart stopping comeback victories, the Colts 35-33 buzzer beating win in Detroit tops the list.



INDIANAPOLIS – Playing 60 minutes of football is a mantra heard around virtually every NFL locker room on a weekly basis.

Saying it is one thing.

Executing it is completely different.

Down 12 with over two minutes remaining against the Detroit Lions, the Colts engineered a thrilling comeback behind the resiliency of quarterback Andrew Luck.

After throwing three interceptions, Luck put those behind him in orchestrating 85- and 75-yard touchdown drives.

“If you show me your most resilient guy in the NFL, I will introduce you to my quarterback, Andrew Luck,” said tight end Dwayne Allen.

“I’ve never been around a quarterback with that amount of resiliency to play the game he plays. He goes through the ups and downs of the rollercoaster, then still be able to take the deep breath, tell everyone to shut up in the huddle and, ‘Let’s go win this.’ ”

The first step in achieving such a victory came when Luck found rookie LaVon Brazill for a 42-yard touchdown with 2:39 remaining.

Following another second half stop by the Colts defense, Luck and the offense came back on the field with 1:07 remaining at their own 25-yard line.

On the 75-yard game-winning drive, Luck scrambled for 25 yards. He also found Allen for a 10-yard reception and Reggie Wayne for a 26-yard catch in traffic.

All that set up the final heroics of a fourth-and-10 from the Lions 14-yard line and just three seconds on the clock.

Luck patiently waited for the play to develop, before eventually rolling to his right and finding Donnie Avery on a drag route.

Avery did the rest, turning up field and finding the end zone with Luck the first one there to greet him.

“Andrew just made a heck of a play to Donnie at the end,” Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians said to Colts Radio.  “We ran everybody left and Donnie across the field. He was kind of the last option. Andrew did a great job of extending the play and got us in the end zone.”

OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT:
The names Luck, Ballard, Hilton and Allen dominated the rookie headlines for the Colts but it was a pair of other first-year players who scored their first NFL touchdowns against the Lions.

Early in the second quarter, second-round pick Coby Fleener utilized a mismatch on a linebacker and went up for a 26-yard touchdown reception.

The Lions game was Fleener’s first in over a month and he showed how improved his shoulder injury was with a “jackhammer” celebration following his first NFL touchdown.

Following Fleener’s lead, rookie LaVon Brazill got in on the action late in the fourth quarter.

Just like Fleener, Brazill’s lone catch of the day went for a score.

Brazill’s 42-yard touchdown cut the Lions lead to 33-28 with 2:39 left in the final frame.

DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT: In a career that has racked up over 90 sacks, Robert Mathis wrecked havoc on the defense in another way against the Lions.

With Detroit looking to build on a 23-14 first half lead, Mathis put an end to that with a second quarter interception of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Mathis’ interception was the first of his NFL career and continued to validate the transition the “pass rusher” made to the outside linebacker position in 2012.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Interim head coach Bruce Arians was one happy coach following Indianapolis’ dramatic 35-33 victory, giving the Colts their third road win of the season.

“I could not be prouder. It was a great team win,” Arians said. “The defense stopped them at the end, and the offense came back. We straddled the fence today, but they don’t stop fighting. There’s no quit. It’s the most resilient bunch of guys I’ve ever been around.”

INTERESTING FACT: The 14-yard old touchdown reception by Avery with no time left turned back the clock over 20 years for Colts fans.

Avery’s final play touchdown, marked the first time since Sept. 30, 1990 that the Colts won a game with a touchdown on the final play of regulation.

In 1990, former Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau found Bill Brooks on a six-yard touchdown pass for a 24-23 victory.

PHOTO GALLERY OF FROM THE COLTS BUZZER BEATING VICTORY OVER THE LIONS 

VIDEO OF COACH PAGANO’S EMOTIONAL POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM SPEECH
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