Matt Gay was the embodiment of a marksman in one of the most heroic kicking performances in NFL history, striking a 53-yard game-winner to give the Indianapolis Colts a 22-19 walk-off road victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a 69-minute overtime slug fest.
The Colts fifth-year veteran broke the NFL record with four made field goals from 50-plus yards. Gay connected on all five attempts from 31, 54, and made three consecutive from 53-yards out. He gave the Colts three leads, becoming the fifth kicker to make a game-tying 50-plus-yard field goal in the final two minutes of regulation and later hit the game-winning field goal from 50-plus yards in OT.
M&T Bank Stadium has been home to Justin Tucker for the last 12 years, but the 33-year old missed a potential game-winning 61-yard try in the final seconds of regulation and did not get another opportunity in overtime. Tucker did retake the lead for the Ravens with a 50-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, but on this given Sunday, Gay did what no other person could do.
Indianapolis took its first lead 10-7 after Gay delivered a 31-yard field goal with three minutes remaining in the first half. Gay extended the lead to 13-7 on the Colts first drive of the second half with a 54-yarder and later kicked a 53-yarder through the uprights to regain a 16-14 lead with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter. With one minute left to play, his game-tying 53-yard field goal reset a stalemate and forced overtime.
Colts running back Zack Moss ignited his second career 100-plus-yard game with a 24-yard run behind All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson on the first play from scrimmage. Moss rushed for a career-high 122 yards on a career-most 30 carries in the victory. Colts head coach Shane Steichen described Moss’ running style as unique and the 25-year old reiterated his own intention to be physical against the Ravens’ defense. Gardner Minshew mania struck the end zone and delivered a 17-yard dime to Moss near the front pylon to tie the game at 7-7.
“I think he’s got a low level of gravity just the way his body is set up,” Steichen said. “He finds those creases, and then he’s able to shed those tackles and make guys miss and break those tackles, just with his body type. He’s a heck of a player.”
Baltimore blanketed Indianapolis’ receivers defending in cover zero, allowing nickel Kyle Hamilton to blitz like a bat out of Hell. Hamilton came through off the edge unblocked and sacked Minshew to end consecutive Colts possessions. The Ravens first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft pummeled Minshew into the turf to tie the NFL record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single game before the end of the first half. The former Notre Dame All-American became the tenth DB to do so as Indianapolis refused to communicate and pick up the pressure.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh designed run-pass-options for star quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens scored 12 plays into the first drive as Jackson faked the hand-off, dashed right and cut back inside for an 8-yard touchdown to grab a 7-0 lead. Jackson later led a 10-play, 81-yard touchdown drive and scored a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Ravens a 14-13 lead at the end of the third quarter. Jackson rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, but was held to converting just 6-of-16 third down opportunities.
The Colts played resilient football without rookie franchise quarterback Anthony Richardson, 2021 All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor and starting center Ryan Kelly. The Colts responded after punt returner Isaiah McKenzie committed an unforced error by not securing a fair catch, which allowed the Ravens’ punt unit to pin the Colts offense inside the 2-yard line before the aforementioned safety. A block in the back penalty against Baltimore stopped the clock at 1:55 and saved the game for the Colts as Steichen declined the penalty to force fourth down.
The definition of resilience. pic.twitter.com/rs0EszeGYz— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 24, 2023
Minshew commanded the Colts to the finish line for the third time this season and experienced the proverbial roller coaster. Minshew went from completing ten consecutive passes and leading the charge, to stepping behind the back of the end zone for a safety nearly costing the game. Late in overtime, Michael Pittman Jr., cut inside DB Brandon Stephens on a go route and rose up to make a Moss-like snag over two Ravens defenders for the longest play of the game to set up Gay for the winner.
The Colts (2-1) took a first-place lead in the AFC South and start 2-0 on the road for the first time in a decade. Indianapolis hosts the Los Angeles Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium to begin October.