DISAPPOINTING END

The Colts rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to take a late lead before losing to the New York Jets, 17-16, in an AFC Wild Card Game at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday. 'Anytime you lose on a last-second field goal in a playoff game, it stings,' Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said.

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Nick Folk's 32-Yard Field Goal as Time Expires Gives Jets 17-16 Wild Card Victory over Colts
INDIANAPOLIS – In time, Peyton Manning said the big picture may be appreciated.

Late Saturday night was not that time.

Manning, the Colts' 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback, said in the wake of a 17-16 last-play loss to the New York Jets in an AFC Wild Card playoff game in front of 65,332 at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Saturday night all that mattered was the immediate reality.

That reality:

The season, as memorable as it may have been, ended when Nick Folk kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired.

And that, Manning, said, is a reality that hurt. A lot.

"It's certainly disappointing tonight," Manning said after the Colts rallied from a four-point second-half deficit to take a 16-14 lead in the final minute before a long kickoff return and clutch passes by Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez set up Folk's game-winning field goal.

"That's really all you think about at this point. I think at some point you sit back and reflect on the entire season, but it's disappointing in the way we lost the game tonight. Anytime you lose on a last-second field goal in a playoff game, it stings."

The loss ended a season in which the Colts:

*Won a seventh AFC South title in eight seasons.

*Tied an NFL record with a ninth consecutive post-season appearance.

*Won their final four regular-season games to make the post-season despite a slew of injuries.

"Our guys fought hard all year long," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "They overcame a lot of things along this stretch. It was a great effort. We just ran out of time."

The Colts, who earlier this season placed players such as tight end Dallas Clark, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie, cornerback Jerraud Powers and safeties Bob Sanders and Melvin Bullitt on injured reserve, on Saturday placed Kelvin Hayden on the season-ending list.

Hayden had missed the last five games of the season with a neck injury.

The Colts also on Saturday played a 10th consecutive game without outside linebacker Clint Session, and were also without right tackle Ryan Diem and defensive tackle Antonio Johnson.

Rookies Kavell Conner and Pat Angerer started at outside linebacker, with rookie free agent Jeff Linkenbach starting at right tackle and Fili Moala and Dan Muir started at defensive tackle.

Still, the Colts rallied from second-place in the AFC South with a month remaining to win the division, and on Saturday – after Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson gave the Jets a 14-10 lead with a pair of 1-yard second-half touchdown runs – the Colts rallied again.

On the possession after Tomlinson's second touchdown, Manning drove the Colts 67 yards on 13 plays, with Adam Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal pulling the Colts to within one point, 14-13, with 4:37 remaining.

After the Colts forced a Jets punt, Manning drove the Colts 48 yards in eight plays, with Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal with :53 remaining giving Indianapolis a 16-14 lead.

But Antonio Cromartie returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to the Jets 46, and three passes by Sanchez helped set up Folk's field goal as time expired.

The Jets rushed for 169 yards on 38 carries, and controlled the clock early in the second half. New York finished with 23 first downs to 16 for the Colts, and the Jets out-gained the Colts, 353-312.

"They ran the ball on us in the second half and really controlled the clock," Caldwell said.

The Jets and Colts each punted on three first-quarter possessions, with the Jets stopping Indianapolis on 3rd-and-1 to end each of the Colts' first three possessions.

Indianapolis began put together its first extended drive late in the quarter.

The Colts, after being out-gained 47-44 in the first quarter, moved toward the Jets' goal line with three first downs in the late first and early second quarters, but the drive stalled for another Colts punt.

The Jets drove near the 50 on the ensuing possession, but the pressure of the Colts' defensive front – along with a solid effort early against the run – again forced a punt.

On the Colts' fifth possession, they took the lead.

The Colts started at the 20 after a touchback off yet another Jets punt, and four plays later, had first down on their 43.

Manning dropped, and with time, threw deep to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who caught the pass just in front of Cromartie and ran the final 20 yards into the end zone. Garcon caught 11 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in the Colts' 30-17 victory over the Jets in the AFC Championship Game last January.

Garcon's touchdown gave Indianapolis a 7-0 lead with 5:25 remaining in the half.

The Jets put together their best drive of the half on the ensuing possession, moving to the Colts 19 before cornerback Justin Tryon intercepted Sanchez at the goal line.

The play preserved the Colts' seven-point lead entering the half.

The Jets tied the game 7-7 on their first possession of the second half, driving 63 yards on 10 plays for a 1-yard touchdown run by Tomlinson with 9:48 remaining in the third quarter.

The Colts then re-took the lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Vinatieri.

The Colts entered the fourth quarter with the three-point lead, but the Jets put together another long drive that used 9:54 at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter. Tomlinson capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The drive used 17 plays and covered 87 yards.

The Colts pulled to within one, 14-13, on a 37-yard field goal by Vinatieri, then forced a Jets punt with just over two and a half minutes remaining.

The ensuing punt bounced into the end zone to set up the Colts' final drive. When Vinatieri converted from 50 yards, the Colts had what turned out to be their final lead of a season that Caldwell said featured great effort and memorable moments, but in the end ended a bit too soon.

"Our guys fought hard, but our standards are high around here," Caldwell said. "We got into the playoffs, but we've always believed that our goal is to win championships here. We're disappointed with this game tonight. We didn't win it. We didn't move forward, regardless of the circumstances.

"I commend our guys for what they were able to do, overcoming some tough situations along the way, but we had an opunity here."

Said Colts safety Antoine Bethea, "We wanted to get to the Super Bowl, regardless of what we went through. We wanted to get to the Super Bowl, the big game. We fought. We were division champs. That's something to smile about, but we fell short and we're not happy about that."

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