Good to be back after missing last week. The Indianapolis Colts will try to pick up their signature road win today against the Detroit Lions. It will be a tall task facing the NFL's number two total offense.
Vontae Davis is back in the starting lineup. Cassius Vaughn will be starting opposite him, leaving Darius Butler and Josh Gordy as the nickel backs.
As we reported earlier in the week, Tom Zbikowski didn't make the trip. Joe Lefeged gets the start in his place, but look for Sergio Brown to get plenty of snaps as well.
Nothing major on the Lions inactive front. DE Kyle VandenBosch will play despite being banged up.
20 minutes til kickoff. Go Colts!
1:00 The Lions win the toss and will take the ball. No surprise here.
1:03 Pat McAfee boom the kickoff out of the end zone. Stafford goes right away to Calvin Johnson being covered by Cassius Vaughn.
1:05 The Colts stop Detroit on the first drive after Jerrell Freeman makes a nice pass breakup covering TE Tony Scheffler. Anytime the Colts defense leaves without surrendering points is a good thing.
1:10 Andrew Luck holds the ball too long and takes a sack on the opening play. That gets them behind the chains and forces a three and out. McAfee's punt is returned up to the Lions' 42 where they'll take over.
1:15 The Colts had Detroit in another third and long, but Robert Mathis jumped offsides. Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for a gain into Colts territory.
1:17 The Colts ends put good pressure on Stafford forcing him to throw early and incomplete. Jason Hanson hits from 48 yards out to put the Lions up 3-0.
1:21 Joe Reitz was carted off. That injury hurts as the Colts need to be at full strength to deal with Suh and Fairley.
1:22 Suh got a hit on Luck on a two-step drop. Not good. Luck finds TY Hilton on a post route though for 60 yards down to the Lions 17.
1:25 Luck recognizes the safety blitz and finds Donnie Avery right where the safety would be. Touchdown Colts! 7-3.
1:29 Stephan Logan inexplicably decides to take the kickoff eight yards deep out of his own end zone. The Lions start on their own 13.
1:30 The Lions dial up a screen pass to slow down the Colts hard-charging ends. Ball out to the 32.
1:31 Tony Scheffler tightropes the sideline and hauls in a long pass from Matthew Stafford for a 39 yard gain.
1:33 Another completion to Scheffler gets the ball inside the red zone for the Lions.
1:34 Brandon Pettigrew leaps over Moises Fouku for the Lions' touchdown. No way to defend that one. Lions back up 10-7.
1:40 A three and out for the Colts' offense as Luck nearly picked trying to hit the skinny post again. McAfee booms a punt and flips the field. Lions start on their own 25.
1:42 The first quarter ends with the Lions up 10-7. So far, Stafford exploiting LB coverage on the tight ends. This where Tom Zbikowski's absence is being felt.
1:45 Detroit gets into Colts' territory when Stafford improvises a pump fake and completion to Pettigrew. Ball on the Colts 38.
1:46 Calvin Johnson with a fabulous one-handed grab down the sideline. Lions first and goal at the Colts' 8 yard line.
1:48 Mikel Leshoure takes it in from six yards out and the Lions take a 17-7 lead.
1:52 Luck throws a well-executed tight end screen to Dwayne Allen that breaks big into Lions territory. Ball on the Lions' 40.
1:55 Consecutive penalties on Detroit gets the ball to the 30 yard line.
1:56 Luck finds Coby Fleener one on one on a linebacker from 26 yards out. The Colts cut the lead to 17-14.
1:59 Stephon Logan again takes a kickoff deep out of the end zone. The Lions start at their own 15.
2:01 Darius Butler strips what would have been a long completion to Calvin Johnson. That forces a Lions punt. Colts defense breaks serve.
2:05 A Lions' offside penalty negates what would have been an interception by Cliff Avril that would have given Detroit the ball in the red zone.
2:06 Drayton Florence picks it off for real on the next play. Jacob Lacey called for a clip on Luck during the return. Still Detroit gets the ball in the red zone.
2:08 The Colts defense holds inside their own red zone, forcing a Jason Hanson field goal. Lions 20-14, but that's a win for the Colts.
2:14 The Colts go three and out. The guards are getting manhandled by Suh and Fairley. McAfee boots a 48 yarder and the Lions take over at their own 35.
2:16 The Colts have switched Vontae Davis onto Calvin Johnson, but the results are the same. Lions at midfield.
2:19 Nice play by Antoine Bethea to break up a third down pass to Pettigrew. Jason Hanson booms a 51 yard field goal and the Lions are up 23-14.
2:23 The Colts get a first down via a Lions offside penalty followed by two nice Donald Brown runs to get the ball out near midfield.
2:27 Luck stared down his deep target and drew the safety over. Carey intercepts and the Lions have a chance to put more points on the board before halftime.
2:32 Matthew Stafford gives it back to the Colts when he throws it right to Robert Mathis for his first career interception. Luck and the Colts have 70 yards to traverse in a little over a minute.
2:34 The Colts go three and out forcing a McAfee punt which is fair caught inside the 10 yard line.
2:35 The Lions will run out the clock and the first half ends with Detroit leading 23-14. The Colts will get the ball coming out of the locker room. To this point, Detroit is getting the better of the matchup we profiled this morning. That's the difference. Luck not getting time to look down field.
2:51 The Colts open the second half with two good runs by Vick Ballard for a first down. Luck then finds Donnie Avery down the right sideline down to the Lions 22.
2:55 Ballard takes it in to finish off a critical opening drive in the second half. Colts cut the lead to 23-21.
3:04 Detroit gets the ball out to midfield after a couple of third down conversions. Calvin Johnson still having his way with 10 catches already.
3:06 The Colts defense holds with some nice play by the linebackers. Lions punt goes into the end zone and the Colts take over on their own 20.
3:11 Luck's pass to TY Hilton on third down was ruled incomplete, but Bruce Arians tosses the red flag for replay review. Looks inconclusive to me.
3:15 The call stands and the Colts forced to punt. Lions take over at their 42. Missed opportunity there.
3:19. The Lions go three and out. The Colts seem to have clamped down on their tight ends and they have no threat opposite Calvin Johnson. The front seven has kept the running game in check.
3:23 The Colts can't pick up a first down as the Lions tackles collapse the pocket on Luck. Lions again at their own 42.
3:26 Megatron picks up his 11th catch and a Lions first down in Colts' territory.
3:28 Matthew Stafford keeps a play alive and finally finds Calvin Johnson from 48 yards away. Hanson's extra point puts the Lions back up by nine.
3:33 The third quarter comes to a close with the Lions on top 30-21. The Colts must answer with points on this drive.
3:37 The Colts do exactly what they couldn't afford to do, go three and out. Again, Luck faced pressure in his face. Curiously, Vick Ballard has been absent since running very effectively in the opening drive of the half.
3:41 The Colts defense forces a punt. The key play was a nice tackle on Calvin Johnson by Cassius Vaughn.
3:45 Luck has the ball stripped by Cliff Avril but is able to fall on it. That puts the Colts way behind the chains though and forces another McAfee punt. He booms it to the Detroit 29 where it is fair caught. The Colts have to force a three and out here.
3:50 Joique Bell rambles 67 yards on a draw play that featured whiffs by Colts' defenders. Cassius Vaughn finally chased him down. The Colts defense holds in the red zone and forces a field goal attempt. Hanson makes it 33-21.
3:56 The Colts go hurry-up and quickly get out to midfield.
3:59 Andrew Luck airmails a pass intended for TY Hilton that's intercepted. Adding insult to injury, Bruce Arians got bowled over as the Detroit player barreled into him on the sideline.
4:03 The Colts force another Lions' punt. With just over four minutes left, it's not over, but pretty close to it. The Colts will have to score and score quickly.
4:09 Luck converts three third downs and then finds LaVonn Brazill 42 yards away for a touchdown. Adam Vinatieri's extra point brings the Colts within five points. Because they scored outside of two minutes, they can kick deep if they want.
4:19 The Lions pick up a first down on a ticky-tack pass interference call against Cassius Vaughn. At the two minute warning, they face third and five and the Colts are out of time outs.
4:24 Luck has the Colts in scoring position finding Reggie Wayne down the middle. 37 seconds left.
4:25 Luck scrambles to the Detroit 23 for another first down.
4:26 Dwayne Allen picks up another first down to the Lions 18.
4:29 The Colts have 8 seconds to travel 14 yards.
4:33 Luck scrambles and finds Donnie Avery alone in the flat. Avery beats everyone to the goal line and somehow the Colts pull off the improbable win.
You have to hand it to this team. They never quit. They just kept on going and going.
This win all but locks up a playoff spot. At eight wins and games left with Tennessee and Kansas City, this improbably journey is looking like it will include the post season.
Luck finishes with 391 yards and four touchdowns on the day. We'll await transcriptions from the locker room and have some post game analysis later on.
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