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Colts Feel Close-Loss Sting

A team that had won nine straight games decided by seven points or less had another chance Sunday after wiping out an 11-point deficit. A last-chance drive failed deep in Miami territory, and the Colts felt the sting of a home loss for the first time in 51 weeks.


INDIANAPOLIS – Sunday's game had the feel of last week, of others last year when victory with late heroics would be achieved.

Ultimately, the Colts drove from their 14 to the Miami 23 with 1:50 to go, but four final cracks at a ninth comeback win in the last 18 outings failed. 

Andrew Luck was swarmed under by a Miami defense holding tough at its 23 and like a few other occasions Sunday, points went unscored as the Colts fell at home, 24-20.

After winning nine straight times in games decided by seven points or less and triumphing at home seven straight times, Chuck Pagano stood at the podium on the short side of the score at Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time in 51 weeks.

"We win as a team and lose as a team.  We'll make the corrections and put this one behind us.  This is a marathon.  This ain't a sprint," said Pagano, nearly spitting his words.  "It's week two. We want to win at home.  We want to win every ballgame.  We're going to compete and prepare to win every game."

The Colts are 1-1 after two weeks for the second straight season.  Opposed to last year reaching this juncture with a win, this one came in a battle where Indianapolis erased an 11-point second-quarter deficit before taking a three-point lead.

The Colts forced a turnover to start the second half and failed to take a seven-point advantage when a touchdown was called back by a penalty after forcing a Miami turnover.  Instead, the Colts settled for a field goal.

The 20-17 lead lasted two Miami possessions, and the 24-20 lead the Dolphins took with 4:40 left in the third quarter held the rest of the way.

Subsequent Colts possessions ended with two punts and an interception in the Miami end zone, then the last chance effort ended with four missed plays from the 23.

"(We're) disappointed in the loss.  We had our chances.  We made plays," said Pagano.  "Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field and couldn't convert and score touchdowns. 

"We gave up too many big plays in the first half.  We knew they were going to generate pass rush on us.  They made just enough plays to get out of here with a win."

Adam Vinatieri missed a 52-yard field goal to open the game, and his 30-yarder with 4:07 left in the first quarter was sandwiched by two Miami touchdown drives that gained 138 yards in nine plays and took less than four minutes.

Ryan Tannehill (23-of-34 passing, 319 yards) hit Mike Wallace on an 18-yard touchdown to open the scoring, and his 67-yard completion to Charles Clay set up a 10-yard sweep by Lamar Miller.

Luck engineered an 80-yard drive early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to four, then pushed the Colts into the lead just prior to the half with a 78-yard march.  Miami countered with a half-ending 54-yard field goal for a 17-17 tie.

Luck (25-of-43 passing, 321 yards, 1 TD/int.) was 17-of-27 passing in the first half for 242 yards, teaming with T.Y. Hilton six times for 124 yards.  Four of Reggie Wayne's five receptions came in the first 30 minutes as well.  Indianapolis had 315 first-half yards, 448 for the game.

"It was a disappointing last series," said Luck.  "You start thinking about plays afterward.  Instead of throwing the ball up for grabs, take the underneath guy, get five yards and take second-and-five.  We ended up in second-, third- and fourth-and 10.  (I didn't handle) that particularly well. 

"They did a good job pressuring on the last play.  You never want to get sacked on fourth down.  I was disappointed in myself.  We didn't make the plays when it counted, they did.  Credit them.  They deserved to win."

Miami was playing its second straight road game.  In last week's win at Cleveland, Miami had six sacks, three interceptions and allowed one third-down conversion. 

While the Colts fared better, Miami's second-half performance earned the win.

"Good defense.  They had a solid week one.  They got after Cleveland real good – six sacks, held them to seven percent (one-of-14) on third downs," said Pagano.  "We made some plays.  We had 133 yards rushing, over 300 passing.  I think we had 450 yards offense. 

"What matters is the final score, and we were four points short.  You had a touchdown called back, which hurt.  It changed momentum.  It was a big deal."

The Colts bounced back from each of their five losses in 2012.  They will be tested with a road trip to NFC Champion San Francisco next Sunday. 

"We've always been resilient.  I think that's what our team is," said Wayne.  "The only thing this does is prove we won't go undefeated.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  Hopefully, we correct our mistakes and remember this bitter taste we have.  Hopefully, we turn this thing around."

INJURY UPDATE -- Pagano said guard Donald Thomas suffered a quadriceps injury that necessitates surgery, and he could be lost for the season.  Darrius Heyward-Bey had a shoulder injury and missed part of the second half.  He will have an MRI, and more information will be available on Monday.

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