INDIANAPOLIS — The boxscore will show a 13-play, 75-yard drive taking 4:01 off the clock that culminated in a two-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to Erik Swoope, with an extra point from Adam Vinatieri.
But let’s take a closer look at the Indianapolis Colts’ Week 6 Drive of the Game, presented by Hays + Sons:
Not much had been going right for the Colts in Sunday’s game against the Jets after they briefly took a 13-10 lead with 11:24 left in the second quarter.
New York would close the first half on a 13-0 run to go into halftime with a 23-13 lead, and then needed just five plays to find the end zone on its opening possession of the third quarter and extend that lead to 17, 30-13.
But one thing the Colts have proven to their opponents over the course of their last three games is no second-half lead is safe.
From that point, Indy would get back on the board with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Luck to tight end Eric Ebron, and then hold the Jets to a 37-yard Jason Myers field goal, making it 33-20 New York.
The Colts’ offense took the field hoping to get into the end zone once again. Then it would really be anyone’s ballgame.
After a touchback, Indy started its next drive at the 25-yard line with 3:53 left in the third quarter, and, unlike the second-half comeback drives the team had put together the previous two weeks against the Houston Texans and New England Patriots, this time the Colts utilized — and were successful with — the run game.
First play? Handoff to running back Marlon Mack — 11 yards. Setting the tone.
Two plays later — after a holding call set up a 1st and 19 that resulted in a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Chester Rogers — another running back, Nyheim Hines, ran off the left side for eight yards.
Once the Colts got into New York territory — reaching the 28-yard line after a 12-yard pass play to wide receiver Ryan Grant — more handing it off. Mack, four yards; Mack, nine yards; Mack, three yards, but a facemask penalty on that play set up Indy in prime position, with a 1st and Goal at the six-yard line. Then, a pass interference call on the Jets gave Indy an even better opportunity, setting up 1st and Goal at the 1-yard line.
A quick primer: the Colts had already faced a 1st and Goal at the New York 1-yard line earlier in the game, and would only get a field goal out of it. The team had two plays result in a loss of one yard, and then Hines was unable to handle a Luck pass in the front of the end zone on third down.
OK, back to the end of the third quarter: 1st and Goal from the 1, and right tackle Braden Smith is called for a false start penalty. Not ideal. A four-yard pass gets Indy back to the 2-yard line, but on second down Luck’s pass attempt towards tight end Mo-Alie Cox falls incomplete.
The pressure’s now on, on 3rd and Goal from the 2; the Colts know they can’t squander away two different goal-to-go situations, given a fresh set of downs from the 1-yard line, in the same ballgame.
Just six seconds into the fourth quarter, Luck, lined up in shotgun with Rogers, the receiver, in the backfield to his right, takes the snap and has time to let the play develop.
Swoope, lined up just off the left side of the offensive line with two receivers, Marcus Johnson (inside) and Zach Pascal (outside) to his left, was able to break free in the back-left corner of the end zone as the Jets’ coverage got sucked in to the inside slants run by Johnson and Pascal.
Luck delivered a perfect strike right over the outstretched hand of a diving Parry Nickerson, and Swoope was the recipient of his second touchdown of the season — which is his second in two games.
After the extra point from Vinatieri, the Colts had, indeed, cut the Jets’ lead to just six points, 33-27.
New York would take over from there, however, eventually claiming a 42-34 victory.