By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus turned his head toward the sky as he left the field following Saturday’s AFC Wild Card playoff game.
His expression was equal parts gratitude and disbelief. And every football fan in the nation could have nodded in agreement.
The Indianapolis Colts secured their first postseason victory in three years with a franchise-record 28-point comeback in a 45-44 win Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Chiefs led 38-10 early in the third quarter, and the deficit was the second-largest ever overcome in NFL playoff history.
“I’m so happy we won,” quarterback Andrew Luck said after completing 29 of 45 passes for 443 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. “I’m so proud to be a part of this team. It felt for a moment like I was trying to lose the game. I’m happy my teammates and my coaches believed in me and trusted me.”
Luck made the iconic play in an unforgettable game, recovering a Donald Brown fumble at Kansas City’s 5-yard line and storming into the end zone to cut the deficit to 41-38 with 10:38 to play in the fourth quarter.
His 64-yard touchdown pass to a streaking T.Y. Hilton with 4:21 left proved to be the game-winner.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith’s fourth-and-11 attempt on the ensuing drive was caught by wide receiver Dwayne Bowe with 1:55 to play inside the Colts’ 20-yard line. But Bowe’s left foot came down out of bounds, and the pass was ruled incomplete.
Luck then kneeled on three consecutive plays to run out the clock and set off a wild celebration inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
“An incredible victory, a great team victory,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said. “One for the ages.”
The Colts (12-5) will travel to Denver for a Sunday game next week if the Cincinnati Bengals defeat the San Diego Chargers in Sunday’s playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium. Indianapolis will play at New England on Saturday if the Chargers win.