INDIANAPOLIS -- Matt Hasselbeck, the NFL's oldest quarterback at 40, continues to turn back the clock on his career. The Colts veteran, subbing for the injured Andrew Luck, lifted his season record as a starter to 4-0 Sunday as Indianapolis knocked off Tampa Bay, 25-12.
Hasselbeck passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-42. Jameis Winston, the league's youngest quarterback at 21, completed 20-of-36 for 245 yards with one score and one interception.
That interception, by the Colts' Dwight Lowery, came late in the game and extinguished Tampa Bay's hopes.
In the first half, the Colts defense yielded 12 points, 224 yards and 11 first downs. But after halftime, Indy held the visitors scoreless. After surrendering 94 rushing yards in the first half, the Colts gave up only 38 in the second.
THE TURNING POINT – It came early in the third quarter. The Colts stymied Tampa Bay on its first two possessions, holding the Buccaneers without a first down. The Colts offense produced a field goal and then a touchdown, grabbing the lead. With Indy's defense playing at such a high level, the Colts basically took over the game.
THE SIGNIFICANT PLAYS – Give credit to Colts receiver Donte Moncrief. He led the team with eight receptions for 114 yards. Even more significantly, of his eight catches, all produced important first downs that extended drives. All of those drives ended in Indianapolis scores. On the 15-play, 76-yard march that sent the Colts to a 13-point lead with 5:53 left in the game, Moncrief had four catches for 50 yards – all for critical first downs.
THE BEST DEFENDERS – The Colts sacked Winston five times, led by linebacker Erik Walden with two. Walden also recorded a pair of tackles for loss. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson led the team with 11 total tackles. He also had a sack, a quarterback hit and a pass defense.
THE UNSUNG HEROES – The Colts offensive line deserves some notice. The line had to be juggled and reworked this past week after a knee injury sidelined left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Still, the blockers turned in solid work, allowing only three sacks and often giving Hasselbeck time to find his downfield targets.
THE QUARTERBACK'S QUOTE – "Overall, I don't know if we had enough juice, or energy, in the first half," said Hasselbeck, whose Colts trailed 12-6 at the break. "That was kind of the conversation at (halftime). It was definitely Xs and Os. … But more than that, I think … it was just us picking up the energy, a lot."
THE SCORING RECAP
FIRST QUARTER (8:13 remaining)
The Colts jumped on the scoreboard first with a 49-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. It came at the end of a 15-play drive that consumed 6 minutes, 47 seconds. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed four passes on the march, including three that produced first downs.Colts 3, Buccaneers 0.
FIRST QUARTER (2:50 remaining)
This time, it was the Buccaneers who put together a lengthy drive but had to settle for a field goal. Connor Barth connected from 38 yards for the three-pointer after a 12-play march. Quarterback Jameis Winston completed passes of 16 and 15 yards for the big gainers.** Colts 3, Buccaneers 3.
Photos from the week 12 game against Tamp Bay
SECOND QUARTER (12:44 remaining)
Vinatieri added another field goal, his 14th straight this season. To set it up, Hasselbeck hit Andre Johnson with a 22-yard pass completion and threw to T.Y. Hilton for a 29-yard gain. Colts 6, Buccaneers 3.
SECOND QUARTER (5:38 remaining)
The field goal battle continued, with Barth hitting from 30 yards this time. Winston conducted a 15-play drive with some nice passing, throwing for 75 yards. But the drive stalled after the visitors pushed to the Colts' 3-yard line. Colts 6, Buccaneers 6.
SECOND QUARTER (1:54 remaining)
Tampa Bay's Winston connected with Cameron Brate for a 20-yard touchdown pass following a five-play, 76-yard drive. The big play was a 56-yard run right up the middle by Doug Martin. Barth missed the extra point. Buccaneers 12, Colts 6.
THIRD QUARTER (10:01 remaining)
The Colts got another Vinatieri field goal – a 26-yarder – to pull within three of the visitors. Hasselbeck completed 3-of-5 passes for 53 yards on the drive. Buccaneers 12, Colts 9.
THIRD QUARTER (7:22 remaining)
The Colts scored in a different fashion this time. No long drive. No field goal at the end. Hasselbeck led them on a three-play, 46-yard touchdown march. He hit Donte Moncrief with a 31-yard pass and then Hilton with a 19-yarder for the score. Vinatieri added the extra point. **Colts 16, Buccaneers 12.
THIRD QUARTER (1:02 remaining)
The Colts inherited good field position at the visitors' 41 after a missed field goal and a personal foul penalty against Tampa Bay. The Colts gained just one first down, but it was enough to put Vinatieri in position for another field goal. He hit from 44 yards.Colts 19, Buccaneers 12.
FOURTH QUARTER (5:53 remaining)
Hasselbeck and Moncrief turned in some nifty plays as the Colts extended their lead with another TD. Hasselbeck passed for 58 yards on the march, with four of his passes going to Moncrief for 50 yards. The Colts also were aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Buccaneers, who were flagged for "leaping" on a Vinatieri field goal attempt. The Colts retained possession and Hasselbeck completed a 3-yard pass to Hilton for the touchdown. Vinatieri missed the extra point. ** Colts 25, Buccaneers 12.