FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A little guy who came out of nowhere overshadowed the NFL's biggest stars.
Sure, Tom Brady outdueled Peyton Manning Sunday in New England's 31-28 win over Indianapolis. Yet Danny Woodhead, a 5-foot-8 running back from Division II Chadron State, got most of the attention — if you could find him. The Colts couldn't.
Woodhead, picked up when the Jets cut him in September, scored on a weaving 36-yard burst in the third quarter, showing power, speed and agility. Seconds later he made a tackle on the ensuing kick return, drawing as many cheers as he did scooting into the end zone.
"I do everything to make the play, whether I'm a runner, a receiver or on a kickoff," said Woodhead, who kiddingly asked if he could have a step stool the next time he spoke at a podium. "Maybe (I carry) a little chip, but I'm not too worried what everybody thinks about my size, weight or height. My worry is about doing my job, whatever that might be."
Brady had only six incompletions in 25 passes and threw for two TDs as the Patriots built a 17-point lead and held on.
Perfectionist that he is, Brady felt the Patriots let it get too close before James Sanders' interception at the New England 6 with 31 seconds left.
"Any time you play these guys, you've got to play to the end," Brady said.
Manning blamed himself for that throw.
"I feel sick about it," he said. "About not extending the game, not executing to give (placekicker Adam) Vinatieri a chance for a field goal. It was a bad throw."