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Indianapolis Colts

Spirited Halftime Talks Turns Into Third Straight Colts Win

Intro: Down 12-6 at halftime, the words of a couple key veterans helped the Colts (6-5) dominate the second half in a 25-12 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6).


INDIANAPOLIS – The main halftime speakers were Matt Hasselbeck to the offense, and Kendall Langford to the defense.

Hasselbeck, with a slew of input from Andrew Luck, skill guys and offensive coaches, was addressing an offense that came into intermission after sputtering twice in the red zone.

Langford, a man who isn't known for his "rah-rah" speeches, had the defense's attention in a "brother-to-brother" talk for a group that allowed three scores in three first-half drives.

The messages got across, quickly.

A 19-0 shutout delivered by the Colts in the final two quarters on Sunday sent the AFC South leaders to their third straight victory, over a trio of teams in the thick of their respective playoff races.

"Overall, I don't know if we had enough juice or enough energy in the first half," Hasselbeck said of his fourth win in four starts this season, thanks to the Colts overcoming a 12-6 halftime deficit.

"That was a little bit of the conversation (at halftime). It was definitely X's and O's…but more than that, I think it was just about us picking the energy level up, a lot."

The tone of the second half began with Langford and the defense.

With four second-half sacks, a fourth-down stop, and a game-sealing interception, the Colts defense gave up no points in the fourth quarter for a second straight week.

The Colts second-half shutout on seven possessions was even more impressive considering Tampa had scored on nine of their 15 previous drives, dating back to last week.

In the final two quarters, the Colts allowed 120 total yards on 33 plays.

After the 25-12 victory, the defenders wanted to credit Langford.

"He showed a passion that we hadn't seen," D'Qwell Jackson said of the halftime message. "So when we heard it, everyone responded."

The complementary second half of football saw the offense score on its first four drives following half, with the 40-year-old Hasselbeck once again doing the leading.

Two T.Y. Hilton touchdown receptions and a four-field goal day from Adam Vinatieri made up the scoring on Sunday.

Hasselbeck was 26-of-42 for 315 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, finding eight different pass catchers.

On the season, Hasselbeck is just one of three quarterbacks left in the NFL with undefeated records (Tom Brady and Cam Newton).

Not many NFL players can say they are getting better with age. Hasselbeck can.

"I will say that being up here (in Indianapolis), practicing with Andrew Luck---he's a really good player and a very, very hard worker. They coach him hard, and he asks to be coached hard. I do believe that I've gotten better being coached hard and being around him," Hasselbeck said on Sunday afternoon.

"I've learned a lot of football. I came here kind of thinking, 'What else could you know, what else can you do to the man or zone or this kind of thing?' I've learned a lot of football here. I think I've gotten better just being around him and this coaching staff."

With Reggie Wayne in the building Sunday, watching Hilton's 95-yard day and Donte Moncrief's 114-yard outing, the Colts were dominant when it mattered the most on Sunday.

It was a third straight victory for a team needing to keep pace atop the AFC South with the month of December nearing.

"We decided at halftime, because of you guys, to go out and play Colts football," Chuck Pagano said in his post-game locker room speech.

"We can be as good as anybody in the National Football League and beat anybody on any given Sunday."

Photos from the week 12 game against Tamp Bay

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