On the Colts' first offensive drive of the second half, quarterback Andrew Luck led the team quickly down the field. The Colts trailed 24-7, but a score here would get them right back into the game. A pass interference penalty placed the Colts inside the Broncos' ten yard line, giving them a first and goal from the eight.
On first down, Trent Richardson gained four yards on a carry. On second and four, Luck completed a pass to Dwayne Allen for one yard. On third and three, Luck hit Hakeem Nicks for a gain of two, and Nicks was stopped inches shy of the goal line. The Colts would have fourth and goal from inside the one yard line.
Immediately, Luck hurried the team to the line. He took the snap and tried to sneak it in, but instead it was the worst looking quarterback sneak you'll see and the Colts were stuffed. They came away with zero points. In a game filled with missed opportunities, this one was the worst and the most glaring.
"Bad, bad decision and it cost us seven points or three points or whatever would have happened if I take a timeout, change the play, whatever it is," Andrew Luck said Monday when speaking with the media. "Stupid decision, won't make it again. Learn from it and keep trucking along and have a good week of practice coming up."
Why was it a stupid decision? "Stupid decision because they loaded the box and were prepared for it," Luck said. "We didn't necessarily have the personnel on the field for that type of play... I made the wrong decision in that case."
So, looking back on it, would Luck have taken a timeout? "Yeah, take a timeout," Luck said. "Obviously you don't want to waste timeouts in a game like that when you're behind. There were a lot of things I wish I would have done in retrospect, but that's the nature of sports. You make decisions. You have to live with them for better or worse. I'll learn from this one and won't make the mistake again hopefully."
In hindsight, the decision was a bad one. The Colts should have taken their time and not rushed things, and in such a key spot it would have been worth it. There's certainly a benefit to doing the sneak quickly to catch the defense off guard, but the Colts weren't going to catch the Broncos off guard there and they weren't ready themselves. It was a key moment in the game and it was a bad call.
Honestly, part of me wonders whether Luck was channeling his inner Peyton Manning and going fast so that Chuck Pagano wouldn't have had the option to kick the field goal, but that might just be me. The decision to go for it on fourth and goal was absolutely the right call. The decision to run the hurry-up quarterback sneak? Not so much, and Andrew Luck knows it.
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