INDIANAPOLIS -- A ridiculously nervy fourth-down attempt by the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter in their own end of the field came up short, and the Colts didn’t let Bill Belichick off the hook.
Poised until then for their first loss of the season, the Colts took full advantage: A four-play march to a touchdown that turned a game, and doubtlessly the NFL world, on its head.
Peyton Manning’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne gave the Colts their ninth win, 35-34, over AFC archrival New England, and surely sparked the most heated round of questioning Belichick will field since his days as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
It washed away an off night for Indy that included a limited pass rush, a pretty bad case of the dropsies, some uncommonly bad throws by Manning and some serious coverage issues that allowed Randy Moss to run wild.
The city will have a tough time falling asleep tonight and an awfully hard time responding to its alarm clock in the morning.
Once the euphoria dies down, the Colts will dive into a big pile of work.
Jim Caldwell has been selling his team on the idea that, despite the record, it was far from perfect, and players -- led by perfectionist quarterback Manning -- were clearly buying it.
Even with the miracle finish made possible by Belichick’s call, it’s an easy-to-renew theme from here, with a tough trip to Baltimore next week before a divisional rematch on the road in Houston.