CLEVELAND --- 11 plays, 90 yards, in 3:14. Andrew Luck's 12th game-winning drive gave the Indianapolis Colts a 25-24 win on the road against the Browns, with clutch plays by Luck's supporting cast along the way.
On 3rd and 7 from his own 13, Luck found rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief on a deep crossing pattern in the middle of the field. It seemed, at first, like Luck threw it too far in front of Moncrief, but the rookie caught up to the ball for a 27-yard completion.
"It was a concept pattern. The back-side (receiver) had a different route. It was a dagger. I went inside, and I won (against the defensive back)," said Moncrief after the game. "I was just waiting on the ball. Once I saw it, it was way in front of me. So, I had to speed up a little bit, keep my eye on the ball, and make the play for the offense."
With 2:12 left, tight end Dwayne Allen drew a defensive pass interference on the very next play. The 40-yard penalty moved Luck and the offense across midfield to the Browns 25-yard-line.
After an incomplete pass, the 2 minute warning, and another incomplete pass, tight end Coby Fleener converted on 3rd down with a 13-yard reception in the middle of the field, down to the 12-yard line with 1:25 left in the game.
"I think it's something we learned the hard way," Fleener said of his catch to move the chains for another crucial first down. "Two years ago we had a similar play call and a similar defense (Fleener said later it was against the Dolphins two years ago), and I screwed it up. Thankfully, we were on the same page, and Andrew made a great throw."
A Luck scramble for 9 yards came after an incomplete pass to Hakeem Nicks. That set up 3rd and 1 at the Cleveland 3-yard-line with 1:08 to go. He was stopped for no gain; although, it appeared on replay Herron made the line of gain. The officials reviewed it. The call on the field stood, meaning there wasn't enough video evidence to overturn it.
That set up 4th and inches with the game on the line at the 3-yard-line with 44 seconds left. The Browns initially stuffed Daniel "Boom" Herron on the off-tackle run to the right, but Herron's second and even third effort somehow got him enough for a first down. Instead of a devastating turnover on downs, Herron pulled a spin move in traffic that left the press box asking how he converted the 4th down.
"Man, it was amazing that it happened," said Herron after the game, with a huge smile on his face. "It was kind of clogged up in there. I was just like, 'Let me try and get outside.' I just kind of spinned off the lineman. It was a little crease there. Thank God I got through it, man, and got the first down."
Most of Colts Nation probably shares in that sentiment. But Indianapolis wasn't in the endzone yet. After a timeout though, it only took one more play. A 1-yard pass to the left in the flat to T.Y. Hilton to cap his 10 reception, 150 yard, and two touchdown day.
"It was kind of a busted play. We got caught up, ran the wrong thing. Then we just freelanced," said Hilton. Yes, the Colts game-winning touchdown was a busted play. "He was able to find me. We scored."
Then Andrew Luck in his jubilation decided to get down on one knee and tie his receiver's shoelaces.
"At the end of the play, he tried to jump over me and took my shoe off," Hilton recalled. "My shoe was off. So, I was trying to come off the field, and Andrew said, 'Come here! Come here! Come here!' He put on my shoe. I was out there with my shoe untied just trying to make a play.
Yes, the Colts game winning touchdown was a busted play...and Hilton's shoe was untied. Whatever works.