Top 5 Wins of Indianapolis Colts’ 2013 Season
5 Best Indianapolis Colts Wins of 2013
The Indianapolis Colts’ 2013 season was a roller coaster ride to say the least. Before the season even truly began the injury bug hit with full force. Second-year players Vick Ballard and Dwayne Allen were lost after just one game while star running back Ahmad Bradshaw was placed on IR just three weeks into the season. The trade acquisition of Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson was expected to offer renewed hope, but it soon fell flat.
The Colts were blown out several times this year, including an embarrassing 38-8 home loss at the hands of the St. Louis Rams followed by two road games in which Indianapolis were outscored a total of 82-39. The loss of superstar receiver Reggie Wayne in Week 7 was particularly damaging to an already patchwork offense, but several young players took the next step in their careers and helped to fill the void left by Wayne’s unrivaled talent. T.Y. Hilton had over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career; Da’Rick Rogers caught six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut in Week 14, and second-year wideout LaVon Brazill scored his first postseason touchdown and then added another during last week’s defeat to the New England Patriots.
While 2012 is remembered for fourth quarter comebacks and game-winning drives (seven to be exact) this season will be remembered for how the Colts performed against the powerhouses of the NFL. The footballing gods delivered Indianapolis a particularly tough hand this year with games against the AFC West and NFC West, the best division in the league. Here are the top 5 games of the Colts’ 2013 season which offer much promise moving on to 2014.
5. Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16
The Colts traveled to Missouri in Week 16 to face the 11-3 Chiefs in a preview of the AFC Wild-Card game which would take place two weeks later. After giving up a 30-yard Jamaal Charles touchdown run in the first five minutes, the Colts took control of the contest and shut out the Chiefs for the remainder of the game. Indianapolis running back Donald Brown had a huge game, scoring on a 33-yard screen pass and 51-yard run.
The key to victory was the takeaways generated by the Colts’ defense. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman had a career day, intercepting Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith on two occasions and forced him to fumble late in the fourth quarter. The Colts ran out comfortable victors with a 23-7 score line to extend their win total to 10.
4. Seattle Seahawks in Week 5
The Seahawks arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium with their unbeaten record still intact and were looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. The game marked the first meeting of 2012 NFL Draft picks Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck with the former getting the better of the early exchanges. The Seahawks led 12-0 late in the first quarter before Luck found Hilton with a 73-yard bomb to cut the deficit to five points.
A blocked Seattle field goal attempt and subsequent recovery by Delano Howell led to an Indianapolis touchdown and the momentum swung in the Colts’ favor. Another touchdown pass from Luck to Hilton followed by a Darius Butler interception late in game secured a frantic 34-28 win for the Colts.
3. San Francisco 49ers in Week 3
The Colts traveled to Candlestick in Week 3 coming off a disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium. Richardson scored his first touchdown in a Colts uniform while Bradshaw rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown with his smash-mouth brand of downhill running.
This was also one of the better defensive performances from Indianapolis who limited Colin Kaepernick to just 13 complete passes and managed to turn the ball over twice. The Niners were forced to punt seven times, and Luck stamped his authority on the contest with a perfect bootleg play midway through the fourth quarter. The 27-7 victory for the Colts was the first of just two losses suffered at home by the San Francisco during the regular season, a 10-9 defeat to the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 being the second.
2. Denver Broncos in Week 7
Peyton Manning returned to Indianapolis in Week 7 to face his old team for the first time since joining the Denver Broncos in 2012. The Manning-led Broncos entered the contest with a perfect 5-0 record while the Colts were hoping to bounce back from a pitiful 19-9 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football the previous week.
After a 30-second tribute to their returning hero, the Indianapolis crowd got behind their team and enjoyed one of the greatest games in recent Colts memory. Luck threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns while the defense sacked Manning four times, intercepted him once and created two forced fumbles. The highlight of the game came in the second quarter when linebacker Robert Mathis stripped the ball from Manning deep in Broncos’ territory resulting in a safety. In typical fashion down 33-14 in the second half, Manning was able to claw Denver back into the game but the Colts held on for a historic 39-33 win.
1. Kansas City Chiefs on Wild-Card Weekend
There is no doubt about it. The Colts’ meeting with the Chiefs on Wild-Card weekend is not only the best win of season; it is the best win since the Super Bowl triumph against the Chicago Bears in 2006. Trailing 38-10, Luck rallied the troops and produced an outstanding second-half performance with four touchdown passes and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Hilton caught 13 passes for 224 yards to break franchise records, and the 28-point deficit marked the second largest comeback in playoff history. Chuck Pagano and Luck each won their first postseason games with the Colts,while the image of Luck diving into the end zone after recovering the fumble will live long in the memory of every Colts fan for years to come.