Indianapolis rallies late to beat Seahawks 34-28
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck spent most of Sunday’s game watching Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch run around.
So when the Colts’ quarterback finally got a chance to make some plays, he rallied Indianapolis in the fourth quarter for yet another victory.
He threw two touchdown passes and led the Colts on two time-consuming scoring drives in the fourth quarter, taking the lead on Donald Brown’s 3-yard TD run with 8:55 to play, to hand Seattle its first loss of the season, 34-28.
“This is the most resilient team that I’ve ever been around,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “They’ve got more grit than anybody, any team I’ve been around.”
This season has certainly tested the Colts (4-1).
Since a closer-than-expected Week 1 win over Oakland, the Colts have lost three offensive starters with season-ending injuries and a Week 2 game for their first home loss in nearly a year.
Somehow though, Indy rebounded with three straight wins, including victories over NFC powers San Francisco and Seattle. Now they have sole possession of the AFC South lead for the first time in the post-Peyton Manning era, too.
And all this came on a wacky day.
Both teams scored off a blocked kick. The Seahawks (4-1) ran for 218 yards, averaged 6.4 yards per carry, had better field position and ran more than three dozen plays in Colts territory as they played keep away through the first three quarters.
None of it mattered to Luck. He still found a way to win.
On the decisive drive, he took advantage of a pass interference call against Richard Sherman, got another break when Pagano won a challenge on a third-down spot that turned fourth down into a first down.
After consuming nearly seven minutes, he gave the ball to Brown, who squirted through the middle for the go-ahead score.
Luck then hooked up with his favorite receiver Reggie Wayne on a 2-point conversion pass and took nearly five more minutes off the clock to set up Adam Vinatieri for a game-sealing 49-yard field goal.
Luck finished 16 of 29 for 229 yards with two touchdowns and picked up his ninth fourth-quarter comeback win in 21 career games.
“A win is a win, if it was ugly, if it was great,” Luck said. “To come back, you hold on for dear life, but a chance to beat a good team in front of our home fans, to get back on track at home, we take a lot of pride in that.”
It came at Seattle’s expense, snapping a nine-game regular season winning streak that dated to Nov. 25.
But Sunday’s loss seemed almost inexplicable as last week’s win at Houston.
Seattle dominated the first half, seemed to be in control most of the game, and Wilson went 15 of 31 for 210 yards with two TDs before throwing an interception on the Seahawks’ final play. He also ran 13 times for 102 yards.
Lynch ran 17 times for 102 yards, and the defense limited Indy to just 317 yards of offense, 120 of that coming in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks also blocked a punt that bounced into the end zone and was recovered out of bounds for a safety, one of many missed opportunities for the NFC West leader.
“We knew we were off to a good start,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We could feel that we were ready to go and playing well and all that. But settling for a field goal and not getting any points on the blocked kick — that would have been a much different margin.”
“We really struggled on third down,” Carroll added. “That was the difference. Those turned into field goals.”
Seattle started with a field goal and a 10-yard TD pass from Wilson to Golden Tate. McAfee’s blocked punt made it 12-0 barely 10 minutes into the game.
Luck got Indy back into the game with a 73-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton, and the Colts took the lead when Delano Howell returned a blocked field goal 61 yards for a score.
The Seahawks regained the lead 19-17 at halftime and appeared to be in good shape after two quick field goals in the third quarter.
But after taking a 25-17 lead, Luck rallied the Colts again — and this time, he made sure Wilson & Co. got to watch it all from the sideline.
“I don’t think, anybody’s built better to win these close games, especially down the stretch, especially in the fourth quarter than this team,” Pagano said.
Notes: Hilton caught five passes for a career-high 140 yards and two scores. ... Colts defensive end Robert Mathis was credited with his 100th career sack when he forced a fumble at the end of the first half. He added another in the second half. .... Reggie Wayne caught six passes, leaving him four short of the 1,000-yard mark. ... Seattle was missing three of its starting offensive linemen for the second straight game. ... The two TD passes by Luck matched the total Seattle had allowed in its first four games.
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