INDIANAPOLIS — COLTS 39, BRONCOS 33
Player of the Game
Robert Mathis, OLB, Colts
The 11th-year veteran’s blindside sack of Peyton Manning in the second quarter turned the game around. Manning fumbled on the play, and it resulted in a safety. On the ensuing drive, Andrew Luck threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to fullback Stanley Havili for a 19-14 lead Indianapolis never relinquished. With two sacks overall, Mathis now has 11.5 for the season – tying his career high after just seven games.
Offense: A –
It wasn’t perfect, but it was more than good enough. Playing against the legend he replaced, Luck completed 21 of 38 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and did not turn the ball over. A Trent Richardson fumble early in the fourth quarter was the lone blemish on a performance that included its share of creativity. Luck threw one touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey after a fake end around, and DHB later ran for 30 yards on a real end around. It was just the kind of balanced performance this team was built to accomplish.
Sure, the Broncos racked up 429 yards of total offense. But the Colts forced two turnovers – including a late fumble at Indianapolis’ 2-yard line. The Colts held Denver to 5 of 16 on third-down conversions and sacked Manning four times – just one less than his season total entering the game. Darius Butler was the game’s unsung hero, blanketing Wes Welker throughout the night and keeping the wide receiver without a touchdown for the first time as a member of the Broncos.
Special Teams: A
Adam Vinatieri made field goals of 27, 42 and 52 yards. Pat McAfee averaged 48.9 yards per punt and pinned the Broncos inside their own 20-yard line on six of his nine attempts. But Havili might have made the biggest play, stripping Denver punt returner Trindon Holliday at his own 11-yard line, leading to a touchdown that gave the Colts their first lead. McAfee later prevented a touchdown with a bone-rattling hit on Holliday down the sideline.