The Indianapolis Colts improved to 5-5 on the season on Sunday with a 24-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, and the team stayed in first place in the AFC South. While it hasn't been a great season for Indianapolis, they're still .500 through ten games. It is very safe to say this about the Colts: they wouldn't be at 5-5 if it weren't for the two oldest players in the NFL.
40-year old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made his third start of the season today against the Falcons and the Colts improved to 3-0 in those starts. Hasselbeck has completed 71 of 108 passes (65.7%) for 708 yards (6.7 yards per attempt), five touchdowns, and two picks for a 91.9 passer rating. In a season where so many backup quarterbacks have had to play and many have struggled, having a guy like Hasselbeck ready to step in and play well when called upon is huge.
And then there's 42-year old kicker Adam Vinatieri, who just continues to impress. Since missing his first two field goals of the year, Vinatieri has hit 12 in a row, including two game-winning kicks - both in games started by Matt Hasselbeck. Today, Vinatieri hit a 43-yard kick with under a minute remaining in the game to win it for the Colts.
The Colts wouldn't be 5-5 without Matt Hasselbeck and Adam Vinatieri. The Colts learned from the mistakes of the previous era and invested heavily in a backup quarterback, something that has kept them alive this year as they remain in first place in the division and in line for a playoff spot. And if it weren't for Adam Vinatieri, the Colts wouldn't be at 5-5 either as he's hit two game-winning kicks and several other big ones.
In his postgame locker room speech, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano gave both Hasselbeck and Vinatieri game balls, but before giving it to the kicker he yelled, "we will have Bingo night on Thursday night!" The Colts might as well, as even though they've had other players stepping up, two of the players who have done so the most are the two oldest players in the NFL. They're showing quite clearly that age is just a number.