The Indianapolis Colts beat the Baltimore Ravens 15-6 to advance to the AFC Championship game.
Adam Vinatieri and the resurgent Indianapolis defense helped the Colts heap another dose of misery upon Baltimore. Signed during the offseason specifically for his playoff experience, Vinatieri kicked five field goals Saturday to put his name in the NFL record book and carry Indianapolis past the
Baltimore Ravens 15-6 and into the AFC championship game.
Although unspectacular, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was efficient enough to make up for some of his previous playoff failures and keep alive his hope of playing in the Super Bowl for the first time.
Indianapolis never trailed in eliminating the No. 2-seeded Ravens (13-4), who were coming off a first-round bye and poised to extract a measure of revenge against the franchise that broke the hearts of Baltimore fans by sneaking out of the city to Indianapolis in March 1984.
The third-seeded Colts (14-4) will next face the winner of Sunday’s game between San Diego and New England. If the Patriots win, the game will be in Indianapolis.
Vinatieri won two Super Bowls with late field goals and scored 117 points in the postseason for New England. He was signed by Indianapolis as a free agent to replace Mike Vanderjagt, who missed a 46-yard field goal with 17 seconds left last season in the Colts’ 21-18 playoff loss to Pittsburgh. Vinatieri justified the acquisition with a flawless performance Saturday. He connected on field goal tries of 23, 42, 51, 48 and 35 yards; the fourth kick gave him set an NFL-record 33 career postseason field goals.
The Colts seem to have gotten their act together at just the right time. Ironically, they’re now winning on defense after Manning and the offense carried them all year.
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