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Colts vs. Lions final score: Lions win 39-35 on late field goal despite Andrew Luck’s heroics

NFL: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In his first game since last November, the magic of Andrew Luck was on display for the Indianapolis Colts, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough for the Colts. Luck led the Colts back from an 18-point deficit to tie it, then led the Colts back again to take the lead with under a minute left, but the Lions hit a game-winning field goal to win it.

Luck and the offense got off to a slow start, and the defense was equally as bad. Indianapolis fell behind 21-3 in the second quarter before Luck caught fire. The Colts went on a 75-yard two-minute drill to get a score right before half, making it 21-10. Then after the defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, the Colts went on a 95-yard drive that, with a two-point conversion, made it 21-18. The Lions responded with a touchdown of their own, and then midway through the fourth quarter the Colts marched 94 yards to tie it up at 28. The Lions then responded with a very nice 85-yard drive to re-take the lead, 35-28 (with a missed extra point proving to be key). And then, with their backs against the wall, the Colts responded with a 75-yard scoring drive to take the lead, 35-34. The defense just couldn’t hold the lead, as they gave up some quick yardage to the Lions so that they could hit the game-winning field goal with just eight seconds left. If you’re wondering about the score being a bit off, it’s because the Colts’ last-ditch desperation lateral play resulted in a safety. Final score: Lions 39, Colts 35.

The story of the day was clearly the offense, as Luck caught fire and put the team on his back. It was his first real game action since the team’s week nine game last year, and he certainly passed the test. Luck completed 31 of 47 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover (also adding 21 yards rushing on three carries). Luck was absolutely tremendous today, doing everything he possibly could in the second half to win the game for the Colts. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, it wasn’t quite enough. Phillip Dorsett (4 catches for 94 yards), T.Y. Hilton (six catches for 79 yards), Donte Moncrief (six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown), Dwayne Allen (four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown), and Jack Doyle (three catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns) all stepped up in the receiving game as well to aid Luck.

The Colts defense wasn’t great, but that was honestly to be expected - especially with so many injuries. They gave up 21 points in the first half, but in the second half they actually made a couple of nice stops. They forced a couple of three and outs and got very timely plays by Hassan Ridgeway, Erik Walden, and Rashaan Melvin, among others. The biggest problem of the day was the final drive, as the Colts couldn’t get a stop when they needed it the most. Missed tackles proved crucial, and the defense simply couldn’t keep up with the Lions’ passing offense. That last drive in particular will sting, I’m sure. In the first half, the defense was terrible overall. In the second half, they were only terrible when they desperately needed a stop.

Adam Vinatieri also aided the Colts’ cause, hitting two field goal attempts (from 50 yards and from 40 yards), extending his consecutive field goal streak to 27 in a row.

It was a tough loss for the Colts, but the encouraging news is that Andrew Luck is back and looks like Andrew Luck. He was phenomenal, and if he can replicate that moving forward he’s in for one heck of a season. Hopefully, the Colts defense steps it up a bit in future games.