Gonzalez Calls Lateral Dumbest Thing He's Ever Done
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Anthony Gonzalez said if he had the chance to make the same decision, he probably wouldn't.
Gonzalez, a second-year wide receiver the Colts, said late Sunday afternoon when he watches football on television, if he sees a player improvise and lateral during a play, he typically feels something close to disgust.
Yet, there Gonzalez was Sunday . . .
After catching a long pass from quarterback Peyton Manning, he was being tackled and he saw wide receiver Reggie Wayne running behind him.
Gonzalez said he surprised himself by what he did next.
"It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done," Gonzalez said after the Colts (1-1) rallied from a 15-0 deficit for an 18-15 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (0-2) at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Sunday afternoon.
"It worked out. Hooray for us, I guess."
With 3:31 remaining in the third quarter, the Colts faced 3rd-and-6 at their 24. They trailed 15-0.
On the play, Manning threw deep to Gonzalez, who was tackled near the Vikings 15. Just before his knee touched the ground, he pitched the ball to wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who caught the ball, broke a tackle and advanced to the Vikings 1 for a 75-yard gain.
Officials initially ruled the play a touchdown, but reversed it to spot the ball on the 1.
"He was running with the ball and I'm running down there to help block," Wayne said. "He was going down and pitched it back.
Wayne then broke into a smile.
"It stuck to my hand," he said. "That was it."
From the 1, Manning sneaked twice to inch the ball near the goal line. On 3rd-and-goal, running back Joseph Addai scored on a 1-yard run to cut the Vikings' lead to eight. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress challenged the touchdown, but officials upheld it.
The Colts, who began the game without tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, as well as guard Mike Pollak and center Jeff Saturday, were also without left tackle Tony Ugoh on the goal-line series.
"The injuries hurt our goal-line personnel," Manning said. "We really didn't have our goal-line personnel down there at the end."
Of Gonzalez's pitch to Wayne, Manning said, "I'm not quite sure what he was doing. I'm not sure he really knew, either. He probably regrets it. I don't think we really want to see much of that again."
However it happened, Manning said the play gave the Colts momentum.
"Talk about needing a play," Manning said. "We needed something to happen."
The Colts, who had 100 yards, seven first downs and no points in 41 minutes before the lateral play, had 226 yards, 10 first downs and 18 points in 19 minutes thereafter.
Gonzalez, who caught nine passes for 137 yards, said what mattered most wasn't his lateral – or even the wisdom of it – but avoiding the team's first 0-2 start since 1998.
"At the end of the day, we were just happy to make some kind of progress and put it together in the fourth quarter," Gonzalez said. "This was huge. We needed this. We needed this in the worst way."
And the Colts got it, partly because their second-year wide receiver made a play he couldn't have imagined himself making and probably wouldn't do again.
"There's not much you can say about it," he said, smiling. "I would like to have scored by outrunning everybody. Once that didn't happen, I was trying to make a play, I guess.
"That's one of those things where if I'm watching on TV I'm going, 'What is he doing?' But it worked out."