Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Colts 23, Titans 20

Colts veteran Adam Vinatieri hits a 43-yard field goal as time expires to seal Indianapolis’ ninth straight 10-win season.

Getty Images

Colts veteran Adam Vinatieri hits a 43-yard field goal as time expires to seal Indianapolis’ ninth straight 10-win season.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts are back in the playoffs.

Peyton Manning threw two touchdowns, the defense limited Chris Johnson to 39 yards rushing and the always clutch Adam Vinatieri hit a 43-yard field goal as time expired Sunday to give the Colts a 23-20 victory over the Titans.

Indianapolis earned its seventh — and most improbable — AFC South title in eight seasons by winning its fourth straight after an unusual 6-6 start.

"We know what they were up against and how difficult it was and to overcome all that and win the division, it is extra special," owner Jim Irsay said.

The Colts tied Dallas' NFL record of nine consecutive playoff appearances, from 1975-83.

Manning set a mark for completions in a season (450), established hours earlier by Drew Brees against the Bucs.

Indy became the third team since 2000 to lose a Super Bowl and return to the playoffs the next year — all despite having 17 players on injured reserve.

The reward: a Saturday night showdown at home with the Jets in a rematch of last year's AFC title game. Indy earned the No. 3 seed thanks to Kansas City's 31-10 loss to Oakland.

Titans quarterback Kerry Collins fumbled a snap and Colts defensive end Robert Mathis recovered at the Colts 38, setting up Vinatieri's winner.

"They're never the same and you never take them lightly," Vinatieri said.

Collins (300 yards) passed John Unitas for 11th on the career passing list. Collins has 40,441 yards. Unitas had 40,239.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher told the TV broadcast crew he expected a quick decision to be made about his job status and later said he hoped to return. He has been on the job 17 seasons, most in the league among active head coaches at one job.


Colts 23, Titans 20 01/02/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 2, 2011 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Cal Foote said he was so young when his father, Adam, played in the NHL, he didn't remember their hug in the Avalanche's dressing room during the 2001 Stanley Cup celebration.

    Head shot of Times staffer Joe Smith. Joe Smith is the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the sports department. Staffer mug shot taken in Times studio on Tuesday (06/20/17).
  2. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Anthony DeAngelo of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
  3. Rays believe Matt Duffy takes positive step in effort to get on field

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After nearly four months of starts and stops where the pain in his left heal would not go away, the Rays finally feel they have some clarity on what is wrong with SS Matt Duffy. What's more, they believe it has been corrected.

    Derek Norris, right, celebrates with Logan Morrison as he scores in what could be his last game with the Rays.
  4. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  5. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey