COLTS FALL IN CLOSE CALL

The Colts traveled to Tampa, Fla., on Monday night to take on the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Quarterback Curtis Painter made his first NFL start and played solidly, but LeGarrette Blount and Josh Freeman performed superbly on the winning drive in Tampa Bay's 24-17 victory. *

INDIANAPOLIS – Running back LeGarrette Blount and quarterback Josh Freeman proved to be too much for a fatigued Colts defense on Monday night in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 24-17 victory at Raymond  James Staidum in Tampa, Fla.

The Buccaneers won it on a 35-yard run by Blount with 3:15 remaining. Blount burst up the middle, slid into open field and dove for the end zone. He ran for 52 yards on four attempts on the drive. Freeman scrambled twice for a total of 13 yards.

Later, Freeman, running a quarterback sneak, converted on 4th-and-inches in the final 2 minutes and cinched the victory.

The Colts fell to 0-4. Tampa Bay is 3-1.

Freeman completed 25-of-39 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown. Blount ran for 127 yards on 25 attempts.

For the Colts, quarterback Curtis Painter, in his first NFL start, completed 13-of-30 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

In stunning fashion, the Colts went ahead 17-10 with 7:10 left in the third quarter. Painter threw a quick screen pass to Pierre Garcon, who had Indy's line as blockers downfield. Garcon zigged and zagged a 59-yard touchdown.

Then the Buccaneers tied it 17-all when Freeman hit Preston Parker with a 13-yard scoring completion. It capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive.

The Colts led 10-7 at halftime after a frenetic two quarters. Tampa Bay's late drive to tie or go ahead failed when the Bucs were flagged for 12 men on the field as Connor Barth kicked a field goal in the final seconds.

Painter turned in a solid first half as he led the Colts to a 10-0 lead halfway into the second quarter. Adam Vinatieri opened the scoring with a 45-yard field goal on Indy's first drive of the game. In the second quarter, Painter completed an 87-yard touchdown pass to Garcon that was a thing of beauty down the sideline. It was the longest scoring pass of the team's Indianapolis era.

Painter completed 6-of-14 passes for 132 yards in the first half.

"Curtis has been doing all right,"  Coach Jim Caldwell said on the Colts' radio network during halftime. "He's been hanging in there. … We just need to give him a little more protection."

The Colts suffered a number of injuries. Rookie left tackle Anthony Castonzo departed the game in the first quarter with a leg injury. He was replaced by fellow rookie Ben Ijalana, who himself left the game with a fourth-quarter knee injury. In the second quarter, defensive lineman Eric Foster went down with a right leg injury. Doctors tended to him immediately and he left the game on a cart.

* *

SCORING RECAP

FIRST QUARTER (10:26 remaining)

The Colts struck first as Adam Vinatieri hit a 45-yard field goal, making him 7-of-8 in 2011. The Colts took the opening kickoff and received some poised work from quarterback Curtis Painter in his first NFL start. Painter completed 3-of-6 passes for 36 yards on the march. Colts 3, Bucs 0

SECOND QUARTER (8:47 remaining)

Indy and Painter went back to work in the second quarter. Painter spied Pierre Garcon on the right side and hit the fleet receiver with an 87-yard scoring pass down the sideline. It was the longest touchdown completion in the Indianapolis era of the Colts. Adam Vinatieri hit the extra point. It was a 98-yard drive in three plays.Colts 10, Bucs 0

SECOND QUARTER (3:54 remaining)

The Buccaneers got on the scoreboard with an 81-yard march that sent the Tampa Bay crowd into a frenzy. Quarterback Josh Freeman pushed it in from the 1-yard line. Freeman was 4-of-5 passing for 79 yards on the drive. Connor Barth hit the extra point.Colts 10, Bucs 7

THIRD QUARTER (9:43 remaining)

Barth tied the game with a 46-yard field goal. Two big pass plays, Freeman to Mike Williams, totaled 40 yards on the 52-yard scoring drive.Colts 10, Bucs 10

THIRD QUARTER (7:10 remaining)

The Colts hit paydirt again with the connection of Painter to Garcon. Painter threw a quick screen to Garcon, who had Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Indy's entire line out front in blocking position. Garcon weaved and darted down the field for a 59-yard touchdown. Vinatieri hit the extra point.* Colts 17, Bucs 10*

THIRD QUARTER (14 seconds remaining)

The Buccaneers tied it when Freeman hit Preston Parker with a 13-yard scoring completion. It capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive. A key play was an eight-yard rollout and run by backup quarterback Josh Johnson on fourth-and-1 at the Colts' 24-yard line.Colts 17, Bucs 17

FOURTH QUARTER (3:15 remaining)

The Buccaneers went ahead on a 35-yard run by LeGarrette Blount. He burst up the middle, found the open field and dove for the end zone. He ran for 52 yards on four attempts on the drive. Freeman scrambled twice for a total of 13 yards. Barth added the extra point.Bucs 24, Colts 17

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