Same sum, different math.
The Indianapolis Colts’ improbable run continued Sunday with a 27-23 victory against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The game hewed close to a familiar script on many themes. Indianapolis improved to 8-1 in games decided by one score or less, and it was the seventh straight home game to come down to the final drive.
But the Colts (9-4) tweaked the ending a bit this time around. It was the defense making the big, game-changing plays and the offense holding on to the lead late.
“It was a great team win again, and like I said earlier, there won’t be any blowouts with this team,” Indianapolis interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “This team is too young. We just try to figure out a way to win every week, and so far we’ve been able to do that.”
The latest victory brings the Colts to the brink of the postseason. Losses by the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) on Sunday gave Indianapolis a two-game lead for the AFC’s fifth playoff spot with three regular-season games to play.
The formula for the Colts clinching a playoff spot remains convoluted, taking into account possibilities such as the 6-7 New York Jets winning out and the Bengals and Steelers playing to a tie in their Dec. 23 meeting.
Indianapolis also will remain alive in the race for the AFC South title if the 11-1 Houston Texans lose tonight against the 9-3 New England Patriots.
With so much uncertainty remaining in the picture, it’s best the Colts remain focused on tending to their own business.
Against Tennessee (4-9) that meant overcoming a rugged first half that left Indianapolis with a 20-7 deficit.
Andrew Luck was responsible for part of that margin, throwing his third interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter with the Colts trailing 10-7.
Replays appeared to show at least one of Luck’s knees — if not both — was down before he released the football. But referee Peter Morelli didn’t see enough on video to overturn the call.
“I saw it on the [video board],” Luck said. “I was hoping that they would call me down. But I probably deserved a pick-six for trying to throw a football in that position going down, right at a defender. So learn from it, and don’t do it again, hopefully.”
The Titans also scored on an 18-yard pass from Jake Locker to Jared Cook on the game’s opening drive and a pair of Rob Bironas field goals in the second quarter.
Locker finished with 262 yards, but he gained just 49 in the second half and was intercepted twice.
“We were ahead of the chains in the first half and we weren’t in the second, and that can make a difference,” Locker said.
Meanwhile, the Colts’ offense sprung to life.
After managing just a 4-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne in the first half, Luck directed an 80-yard drive to start the third quarter that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Delone Carter and cut the deficit to six.
Cornerback Cassius Vaughn erased it entirely exactly three minutes later. On the first play after Pat McAfee pinned the Titans at their own 1-yard line with a 52-yard punt, Vaughn intercepted Locker’s pass and returned it 3 yards to the end zone for a go-ahead score.
Vaughn said Locker had been going to his side on intermediate routes throughout the first half. He gambled the quarterback would try the same thing again and won.
“It was one of them moments where we knew we had to try to make a play,” he said. “We made a play, and that turned the game around for us.”
After the teams traded field goals, Darius Butler grabbed the second interception against Locker. His came at the Titans’ 28-yard line and set up a 40-yard Vinatieri field goal to end the scoring.
Tennessee had one final chance to win. The Titans picked up a first down at their own 30 but believed they had a third-and-short and called a quarterback sneak. Locker was stopped for no gain on the play and then threw a pair of incompletions to force a punt.
Indianapolis took over at its own 10-yard line. Vick Ballard picked up a first down with a 13-yard run, and Luck sealed the game with an 11-yard pass to tight end Dwayne Allen on second-and-10 from the 24.
Luck finished just 16-of-34 for 196 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But he surpassed Peyton Manning’s franchise record for rookie passing yards, and he’s now just 259 yards shy of Cam Newton’s NFL record.
As usual, however, the only record Luck was focused on was 9-4.
“I think it’s the best team game in the world, I really do,” he said. “You have to rely on so many guys and so many different phases of the game. It’s fun when you can get team victories.”
Same sum, different math.
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SOFTBALL: Kings repeat
For the second straight year North Miami brought a highly ranked and highly accomplished softball team to face Lewis Cass for the sectional championship.
And for the second straight year the Kings came out on top.
Logan baseball tops Harrison 8-0 to advance
Neither Harrison nor a 36-minute rain delay could slow down Logansport’s baseball team on Wednesday.
The Berries got a strong pitching performance from Kyle Jordan and broke open a close game with a five-run fifth inning in an 8-0 win over the Raiders in a Class 4A, Sectional 7 first-round game at Highland Park.
SOFTBALL: Logan lets 9-run lead slip away in sectional loss to Jeff
Logansport’s softball team hovered around .500 this entire season, but the Berries knew they had the talent to contend for the always highly competitive Class 4A, Sectional 7 title.
Kings begin sectional title defense with win over Northfield
It’s been an up and down season for the Lewis Cass softball team.
But the Kings were in postseason form in the opening game of the Class 2A Cass Sectional. They opened the defense of their sectional crown with a 4-2 win over Northfield.
BOYS TRACK: Calisto claims sectional title
Logansport junior Alex Calisto was nearly in the identical spot he was in exactly one year ago.
But this time, he didn’t have to settle for second place.
Timing can be everything.
Unfortunately for Logansport senior Seanna Redman, she suffered a devastating knee injury right in the middle of her senior year.
GIRLS TRACK: Regional bound
The Logansport, Lewis Cass and Pioneer girls track teams made the long trek to Madison-Grant High School for action in the 2013 Madison-Grant sectional. Several area girls had successful nights and will be advancing to regional action.
SOFTBALL: Berries bring intensity in win at Cass
Intensity and defense.
An abundance of the former and a lack of the latter made the difference in Monday night’s softball matchup between the Logansport Berries and the Lewis Cass Lady Kings.
Trey Baseball: New Castle star leads sweep
There were approximately 30 Major League scouts on hand to watch New Castle star Trey Ball Saturday afternoon at Jim Turner Field.
FRIDAY ROUNDUP: Panthers end Warriors’ MWC title streak in boys golf
Pioneer’s boys golf team took down Midwest Conference stalwart Winamac at the conference meet at Pond View G.C. on Friday.
The Panthers defeated the Warriors by five strokes, 338-343. The Panthers won their first MWC title since 2002.
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- SOFTBALL: Kings repeat