CLUTCH ONCE AGAIN

Kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on his 24th game-winning field goal to give the Colts their first win of 2012, a 23-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Vinatieri’s 53-yarder with eight seconds left is the longest game-winning kick of his career.

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INDIANAPOLIS – He has done it 24 times in his 17-year NFL career.

In snow.  In Super Bowls.  In different uniforms.

But ask kicker Adam Vinatieri how it feels to boot another game-winning field goal and his eyes will light up like he is a 1996 NFL rookie making his first one.

"It's always special," Vinatieri said following his 53-yard game-winning kick on Sunday.

"Any time you can go out and help your team win a game and put points on the board, it's a great feeling, no matter what the distance is and what the circumstances are.  It's nice to go out there and show them I still got some lead left in the pencil."

Vinatieri's 53-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining finally ended a stressful fourth quarter for Colts fans.

After surrendering a two-touchdown fourth quarter lead, the Colts offense drove 45 yards in just 23 seconds to set up Vinatieri's longest game-winning kick ever.

This marks the sixth game-winning field goal Vinatieri has had with the Colts and No. 4 was pretty confident once the ball came off his right foot.

"When it was halfway there I knew it was good," Vinatieri said.  "I felt like I hit it well, but you always have to follow through and look up to make sure it's confirmed that you hit it where you wanted to."

Standing in the locker next to Vinatieri, holder Pat McAfee was not afraid to hold his emotions back in telling what was going through his mind as the kick travelled through the air.

"Literally as soon as he hit that I wanted to start screaming and celebrating.  That's what Adam Vinatieri does," McAfee said.  "A lot of people say, 'He's too old, he's too old,' but he just proved why he's going to be a Hall of Famer."

Vinatieri credited everyone involved in setting up the field goal from the offense, to his offensive line, to McAfee and did not forget to leave out new long-snapper Matt Overton.

Flashback two weeks ago and Overton was not sure what his future would hold in the NFL.

Now, he can add his name to Vinatieri's storied career.

"It's one of those things you always dream about, a game-winning field goal like that especially when it's really far – 53 yards," Overton said.  "It just felt really good to contribute to our big win today, win it for the team, win it for the city, win it for the organization."

Ironically, this marks the third straight time that a Vinatieri game-winner has resulted in a final score of 23-20 in the Colts' favor.  Indianapolis topped Tennessee in 2011 by that count, along with beating San Diego in 2008.  That kick in San Diego was a 51-yarder.

Vinatieri is nearly double the age of a few of his teammates and for a man that has been so clutch for so long, he knows what a win can mean for a Colts team that is populated by youth.

"We showed a lot of character today and when you win tight games like this, it's builds a lot of confidence, not just for the older guys who have played in a lot of games and know what it takes but for some of the young guys as well," Vinatieri said.

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