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Colts Outlast Broncos in Closing Seconds: Week 8 Game Balls

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

A popular cliché in sports is that it isn’t always pretty, but a win is a win.

That was exactly the case for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, as they were neither sexy nor spectacular but managed to grind out a difficult win at home against a Denver Broncos team—whose defense at least appears to be much better than their now 2-6 record.

The Colts narrowly outlasted the Broncos, winning 15-13 by a go ahead field goal in the closing seconds of regulation.

Speaking of field goals though, let’s get to those well deserved game balls:

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Adam Vinatieri

It was a shaky start for the legendary 46 year old kicker, who badly missed a 45-yard field goal wide right on the Colts opening drive—raising fair questions of “here we go again.”

Vinatieri then drilled a 55-yard field goal to close the first half, followed by a successful 45-yard field goal midway through the 3rd quarter and all appeared to be well with the Colts kicking game yet again.

That is, until Vinatieri scratched the extra point on the Colts lone touchdown drive late in the third quarter. The extra point miss by the veteran appeared to be critical, as the Colts trailed the Broncos 13-12 instead of being tied—giving fans flashbacks of Indianapolis’ opening regular season loss to the Los Angeles Chargers—which should’ve been won, had it not been for a handful of Vinatieri misses.

However, Vinatieri persevered—maybe even redeemed himself in this one, nailing a 51-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the game—reminding fans of why he’s still the GOAT and truly has ice inexplicably pumping in his veins.

Ball game.

Vinatieri’s 2019 season started out poorly to say the least, but he has since rebounded.

He was inconsistent yet again on Sunday—and some of his kicking woes from earlier this season once again reared their ugly head. However, credit the grizzled veteran for sticking it out and nailing two big 50+ yard field goals—none bigger than his final one—which gave the Colts a victory against a struggling opponent which they simply “had to have” at home (especially to stay atop the AFC South).

This season may very well be Vinatieri’s “Farewell Tour” with the Colts given some of his up-and-down kicking, but let’s take the time to tip our cap to appreciate greatness—as it’s another great game-winning field goal in an illustrious career that’s already had a lot of them (and on even bigger stages) for what’s nothing short of a Canton-bound resume.

Simply put, it’s been a fun ride watching the future Hall of Famer—especially if this is in fact his last hurrah.

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jacoby Brissett

Brissett didn’t put up the gaudy stats that the Colts saw last weekend, but he had easily his best play of the season—when just under the 2 minute mark in the 4th quarter—he somehow escaped Broncos superstar pass rusher Von Miller close to Indianapolis’ own end zone, before scrambling out of the pocket, and on the move, delivering an absolute strike to T.Y. Hilton for 35 yards:

It very well might finish as the best play of the Colts entire season, as it was very “Luck-like” and showed that Brissett can be much more than a ‘game manager’—as that spectacular, unscripted play should only be cast for an M-V-P.

The play helped set up Vinatieri for the win.

But game managers don’t make that play. In fact, very few quarterbacks in football realistically can. It was a truly special play for what’s been a special season for the young quarterback.

For Brissett’s overall line on Sunday, it wasn’t flashy, but he was effective.

He completed 15 of 25 throws (60%) for 202 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 85.8.

The now 5-2 Colts have simply found ways to win more games than they’ve lost, and the team as a whole seems to follow the lead of its captain quarterback, Jacoby Brissett—who’s been instrumental in their success—on such surprising early season short notice to boot.

Fumble aside, Brissett rarely makes turnovers and seems to have an acute ability to make winning plays down the stretch—whether it’s delivering laser throws under duress or making plays with his legs (he quietly amassed 34 rushing yards in this one).

The equally big bodied, big armed quarterback has shown tremendous poise and can simply make plays—even if they were fewer and harder to come by in this one against a still tough Broncos defense.

Whatever it takes to win.

That’s been Brissett and the Colts’ motto all season.

It was once again Sunday.

NFL: OCT 27 Broncos at Colts Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Colts Defense

All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard could’ve earned a game ball individually by his own right, wracking up 10 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and a QB hit in Sunday’s win—but it only seems fitting to give a game ball to the Colts defense as a whole this week.

Justin Houston.

Khari Willis.

The Colts defense got some big plays from some big time players.

Yes, the Colts defense faced an inept Broncos offense that is led by a past his prime Joe Flacco and just traded its Pro Bowl veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. (Not to mention, has a rather porous offensive line).

Still, anytime a defense holds the opposition to 13 points—whether it’s Joe Flacco or Joe Montana behind center—it’s an impressive feat.

It was the Colts defense that consistently got stops and forced the Broncos offense to punt a whopping 7 times in this one.

It was the Colts defense that got off the field with 1:48 left in the game and gave the offense a chance to win this one outright—which they did, following Vinatieri’s game-winning kick.

Credit should be given, when credit is fairly due, and the Colts defense was pretty darn good in this one—albeit against a bad offense—but they don’t pick who they play after all.