This time of year is normally my favorite for Throwback Thursday because I can find plenty of Colts playoff wins to write about. Of course, I can also find plenty of defeats.
I was hoping to find a playoff game that the Colts had played today, January 12. And I did find one. However, it was the Super Bowl loss to the Jets. So the fact that I’ve already written about that, and that I didn’t want to write about a loss today, meant I didn’t pick that.
So instead I picked a game that the Colts played two years ago today. It also happens to be the Colts last playoff win.
Two years ago on January 11, the Colts traveled to take on the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos. Behind Peyton Manning, the Broncos had rolled up a 12-4 record en route to the second seed in the AFC.
The Colts had won the awful AFC South for the second straight season, and soundly defeated the Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The Broncos were favored by almost everyone, as it was expected that the Colts wouldn’t be able to stop or keep up with the Manning led Broncos.
Over here at Stampede Blue, a few of us expressed optimism about the game. The Colts had played well against the Manning led Broncos the last two meetings, and (as all fans knew well) Manning had a history of Divisional Round disappointments in his career.
The Broncos took the lead on their opening drive on the game. It only took the Broncos a little over 3 minutes to march 68 yards for the opening score. And it looked like it might be a long day for the Colts.
From there, though, it was all Colts.
Only 46 seconds into the second quarter Boom Herron found the end zone on a six yard run, tying the game.
About mid way through the second quarter, the Colts found the end zone again with an Andrew Luck touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen. Denver would add a field goal right before halftime, making it 14-10.
In the third, the Colts extended their lead to 21-10 when Luck found Hakeem Nicks (remember him?) on a 15 yard strike.
The Broncos pulled within a score again early in the fourth on another Connor Barth field goal. That was as close as the Broncos would get.
The teams would trade punts and turnovers for the majority of the fourth quarter until Adam Vinatieri put the game on ice with 4 minutes to go, giving the Colts a 24-13 lead, which would be the final score.
It was a big day for the Colts defense. They held Manning to 211 passing yards, and only a 56 percent completion rate. They sacked Manning twice, and kept him under duress the entire game, including forcing a fumble.
The team struggled a bit to stop C.J. Anderson, but Denver never seemed to want to pound the ball, despite Anderson running 18 times for 80 yards.
The Colts offense did what it needed to do, but was far from great. Luck threw two touchdowns, but also two interceptions. The running game also wasn’t great, but Herron was effective enough, especially in short yardage.
The Colts would advance to the AFC Championship for the first time since the 2009 season. There, they would meet the New England Patriots, where they would get their clock cleaned for the second straight season.
Denver would go home after a second one and done in three years with Manning. Of course, the next season the Broncos would ride their defense to a Super Bowl title.
The Colts have yet to return to the playoffs.