Vinatieri's 47-Yard Field Goal Helps Colts Beat Vikings, 18-15
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – What Adam Vinatieri wanted late Sunday was a second chance. He got it.
And what Vinatieri did for the Colts against the Minnesota Vikings in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Sunday afternoon was what he has done so often in his 13-year career when given a chance to kick a late-game, game-winning field goal.
He took full advantage.
Vinatieri, after missing a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter, converted a 47-yard field goal – his longest successful field goal since the 2006 season – with three seconds remaining, giving the Colts a dramatic, 18-15 come-from-behind victory over the Vikings.
"We were down," Vinatieri said. "It looked like we were down and out, but we found a way to get back into it.
"We fought the whole game back and found a way to get it done."
Vinatieri's earlier miss came with 14:51 remaining in the game and the Colts trailing, 15-7.
"We wanted to give Vinatieri one more shot," Manning said. "We felt good about the chances of that next one going in."
Vinatieri said he pushed the 30-yarder right, and that although he thought it might have sailed over the upright – which would have made the attempt successful – he also said, "You have to push it between them, not over them."
He said he spent most of the rest of the fourth quarter hoping for another chance.
"Good, bad or indifferent, you just forget about the last one and keep moving forward," Vinatieri said. "Thank goodness we had another opunity to make that one at the end. . . .
"Some of the young guys learned that it's a long game. You just keep fighting to the end and see how it goes."
GETTING IT DONE: Ryan Diem said he never imagined what he saw on Sunday when he looked left.
No Jeff Saturday. No Ryan Lilja. No Tony Ugoh.
All of those players were projected starters in the off-season, yet when Ugoh – a second-year left tackle – left Sunday's game with a groin injury in the first half, none were in the lineup. Lilja, a starting guard, is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and Saturday has missed the first two games with a knee injury.
"It's a little different for us, sure," Diem said. "We're looking forward to getting some guys healthy, but in the meantime, guys are doing great."
When Ugoh left the game, the Colts' offensive line was Diem, rookie Steve Justice at center, rookie Jamey Richard at center, veteran Dan Federkeil at guard and veteran Charlie Johnson at left tackle.
Aside from Diem, the group has 12 regular-season NFL starts.
"We got it going," Diem said. "We had some young faces filling in. I thought they did a good job. It all goes back to the attitude of, 'Next man has to be ready at all times.' Across the board, it wasn't our best and it wasn't our prettiest game, but it was good enough to win."
NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Manning said while he was happy with the victory, the Colts must improve before next Sunday's game against AFC South rival Jacksonville.
One area Manning mentioned specifically was the running game.
The Colts, after rushing for 53 yards against Chicago in the season opener, rushed for 25 yards on 19 carries on Sunday.
"Our running game – it's hard to call it a running game right now," Manning said. "We really don't have much of that. We're a pretty one-dimensional team."
MADE IMPROVEMENT: The Colts, a week after allowing the Bears 10-of-16 on third-down conversions, held the Vikings to 2-of-13 on third downs.
"That's what we want to do – get off the field on third down and get our offense on the field as much as we can," Colts defensive tackle Raheem Brock said. "I think we did a pretty good job."
Said middle linebacker Gary Brackett, "That was huge. That was something we wanted to do, considering last week when we didn't play well on third down. This week, we did."
RICHARD, SANTI START: Richard started for the Colts at center for a second consecutive week.
Richard, a rookie seventh-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft from Buffalo, started in place of three-time Pro Bowl selection Jeff Saturday, the Colts announced shortly before the game. Saturday was inactive for a second consecutive week with a knee injury.
Richard started last week in the Colts' regular-season opener against Chicago.
"Pretty impressive effort on his part," Manning said of Richard.
Colts starting tight end Dallas Clark, who sustained a knee injury against Chicago, also was placed on the pre-game inactive list.
The Colts' other inactives were:
Guard Mike Pollak (knee), wide receiver Roy Hall (knee), tight end Jacob Tamme (ankle), defensive tackle Daniel Muir (knee), defensive end Marcus Howard and defensive end Curtis Johnson.
Rookie Tom Santi, a sixth-round selection from Virginia, started in place of Clark.
UGOH, SANDERS LEAVE: Ugoh sustained a groin injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Safety Bob Sanders, the 2007 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, sustained a fourth-quarter ankle injury. He also did not return.
"Let's face it," Manning said. "There's no question we're not playing at full strength. We don't use that as an excuse. We never have around here, but the facts are facts. You have to adjust and deal with it and play to the players' we have strengths. . . .
"Some of those young guys stepped in and fought their butts off today."
HOW THEY SCORED
COLTS 00 00 07 11 – 18
VIKINGS 06 03 06 00 – 15
VIKINGS 3, COLTS 0
Ryan Longwell 45 FG, 10:10 first quarter. Drive: Six plays, 31 yards, 2:14. Key play: Adrian Peterson 29 run on 2nd-and-9 from Vikings 43.
VIKINGS 6, COLTS 0
Longwell 27 FG, :09 remaining first quarter. Drive: Eight plays, 33 yards, 3:56. Key play: Peterson 13 run on 2nd-and-1 from Colts 43.
VIKINGS 9, COLTS 0
Longwell 53 FG, :00 remaining second quarter. Drive: Three plays, 45 yards, :21. Key play: Bobby Wade 22 pass from Tarvaris Jackson on 1st-and-10 from Vikings 43.
VIKINGS 12, COLTS 0
Longwell 46 FG, 10:38 remaining third quarter. Drive: Eight plays, 34, 4:22. Key play: Aundrae Allison 21 pass from Jackson on 3rd-and-6 from Colts 46.
VIKINGS 15, COLTS 0
Longwell 28 FG, 4:09 remaining third quarter. Drive: Eight plays, 36 yards, 3:31. Key play: Allison 16 pass from Jackson on 3rd-and-6 from Colts 29.
VIKINGS 15, COLTS 7
Joseph Addai 1 run (Adam Vinatieri kick), 1:24 remaining third quarter. Drive: Six plays, 80 yards, 2:45. Key play: Anthony Gonzalez 58 pass from Peyton Manning with 17-yard lateral to Reggie Wayne on 1st-and-10 from Colts 24.
COLTS 15, VIKINGS 15
Wayne 32 pass from Manning (Dominic Rhodes run), 5:54 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Three plays, 61 yards, 1:15. Key play: Wayne 17 pass from Manning on 1st-and-10 from Colts 39.
COLTS 18, VIKINGS 15
Vinatieri 47 FG, :03 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Five plays, 21 yards 1:04. Key play: Wayne 20 pass from Manning on 3rd-and-9 from Vikings 49.