Think about it. Just 14 minutes and 53 seconds.
It usually takes me longer than that to decide what to have for dinner or to find a pair of socks that match.
But for the Colts, it was all the time they needed on offense to orchestrate a performance that was both unusual and highly effective. Despite the lopsided time of possession favoring their opponent, and the whopping 239 net rushing yards they allowed Miami, Indianapolis managed to defeat the Dolphins 27-23 in a game that statistically defied all logic and then some.
The Colts wasted no time getting on the board with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Dallas Clark on the first play of the game. Miami countered with a nine play, 75-yard drive, which culminated with a 14-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Brown to even the score. Both teams would manage a pair of field goals in the second quarter and were tied at 13 at the half.
The third quarter would go off scoreless setting up a flurry of offense in the final stanza, which began with Miami scoring on Brown’s second touchdown run of the game.
The Colts would counter covering 70 yards in just six plays with rookie running back Donald Brown scoring the first touchdown of his career on a 15-yard run. The Dolphins would answer with a 10 play drive that ate another 6:16 off of the clock as kicker Dan Carpenter tacked on his third field goal of the night to give Miami a 23 -20 advantage. But Manning would continue his game long dissection of the Dolphin secondary with quick strikes to Reggie Wayne for 15 yards, followed by a 17-yard pick up to Clark. Manning then found second year pro Pierre Garcon on a short pass and the speedster from Mount Union College made the most of his only catch of the night and took it 48 yards to the end zone for his first career touchdown, and in the process giving Indianapolis a 27-23 lead.
Miami would have 3:13 left to drive for the winning score, but the Colt defense, which was maligned most of the evening and no doubt exhausted at this point, held the Dolphins in check and intercepted Chad Pennington’s last pass attempt of the game in the end zone to preserve an improbable win.
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell, while happy to escape with the victory, was candid afterwards regarding the performance of his defensive unit.
“We could not get them stopped enough,” said the first year coach when interviewed after the game. “That is something we are going to have to work on.”
Notes: The Colts ran only 13 plays in the entire second half.
Dallas Clark had a monster game with seven catches for a career high 183 yards and a touchdown.
Peyton Manning, who engineered his 37th career game winning drive, moved pass the legendary Johnny Unitas for most wins as a quarterback in franchise history with 119.
Manning spoke with great respect for Unitas after the game and made it clear he was both humbled and not comfortable with the comparisons. In typical Manning fashion, he handled yet another milestone accomplishment with class and dignity.
The Colts have now won eight of their last nine games on Monday Night Football, and their fifth straight road opener.
The next Colts game is Sunday Sept. 27 and will be broadcasted nationally on NBC Sunday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix.
Danny Bridges, who is still wondering why Joseph Addai was not on the field for the Colts last offensive series, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or Bridgeshd@aol.com.