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Indianapolis Colts

Colts Win In Atlanta Continues Heart-Stopping Season

Intro: The Colts (5-5) overcame a two-score, second-half deficit on Sunday afternoon, leaving Atlanta (6-4) with a 24-21 victory.


ATLANTA – An Adam Vinatieri game-winning field goal, a Joe Reitz reception and a Coby Fleener interception.

Only one of those is normal, but all three happened on Sunday.

In continuing a season-long trend of constant Colts theater (some more fun than the other, for Colts fans), Sunday was yet another chapter of heart-stopping drama, ending in a 24-21 road victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

"It was incredible," Colts Owner Jim Irsay said in the basement of the Georgia Dome, following the Colts squaring their record at 5-5. "It was tough and it was much needed (with Houston's win on Sunday).

"We feel we can get hot. We know we can get hot and winning in Atlanta, they are a heck of a football, and to be down 14, what a great win."

Coming back from the bye week, the Colts were stuck in familiar territory early on Sunday, after two straight turnovers to start the game.

It was catch up the rest of the way for the Colts with things beginning to turn late in the third quarter.

Down 21-7, Matt Hasselbeck brushed off a first throw interception to lead a 10-play, 90-yard drive ending with Ahmad Bradshaw flashing once again with a red zone touchdown.

The score would stay at 21-14 when the Colts had to punt near midfield with a little more than 10 minutes remaining.

A downed punt from Pat McAfee and Donte Moncrief at the one-yard line set up the play of the game.

Colts defensive leader D'Qwell Jackson figured the Falcons would dial up a play that had worked previous.

"We bit on (the play-action) the first time they ran it and the object is they want to suck the linebackers up and hit the quick slant behind us," Jackson said of his fourth-quarter interception. "If we take the cheese (bait), we better haul our (butt) to get out of there. That was my thought process was to get the hell out of there and get back to my drops, where I was supposed to be.

"I don't think Matt Ryan saw me. Just fortunate enough to make the play that presented itself and it was a huge play for us to win this game."

The six-yard interception return from Jackson tied the score at 21 and silenced the Georgia Dome, minus a section of blue-cladded Colts fans in the end zone where the pick six had just occurred.

Jackson and the defense weren't done.

With fourth-quarter pressure collapsing the pocket around Matt Ryan, the offense was going to get a chance to complete the comeback.

The clock ticked under five minutes when Hasselbeck and the offense took the field at the Indy 19-yard line. A second-down Frank Gore screen pass looked flawless, with the 32-year old running back scampering for 31 yards.

The Colts would then slowly dwindle down the clock with a key "play to win the game" third-down conversion to Donte Moncrief.

Hasselbeck called it the "play to win the game" because that's usually the case when you call Vinatieri a teammate.

Playing in his 300th career NFL game (only 10 players in league history have reached that number), Vinatieri would split the uprights from 43 yards out with 52 seconds left.

His 26th career game-winning field goal was written in sharpie after Fleener picked off a last second Hail Mary.

For stretches on Sunday, it wasn't pretty for the Colts.

In the end, the final score was a work of art.

"These are not perfect circumstances," Hasselbeck said after stretching his record to 3-0 as a starter this year. "Ideally, you'd like to have your starting quarterback playing. It's hard. It's not how we envisioned this year going.

"We are probably working harder than we've worked but just to come out on the right side of that fine line feels good. I think we are a really tight knit group. I think we are unselfish. Every team I've been on, we've kind of said that---it's pretty real here."

Photos from the week 11 game against the Atlanta Falcons

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