Colts pull stars, suffer first loss
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts kept saying 16-0 didn't matter. Apparently it didn't. Coach Jim Caldwell pulled Peyton Manning and a handful of other starters for the previously unbeaten Colts in the third quarter, and the Jets took advantage by rallying for a 29-15 victory that ended the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak at 23 games.
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts kept saying 16-0 didn't matter. Apparently it didn't.
Coach Jim Caldwell pulled Peyton Manning and a handful of other starters for the previously unbeaten Colts in the third quarter, and the Jets took advantage by rallying for a 29-15 victory that ended the NFL's longest regular-season winning streak at 23 games.
With Manning on the sideline, helmet on and standing next to his offensive coordinator, the Colts lost for the first time since Oct. 27, 2008, at Tennessee, ending a franchise-record 13-game winning streak at home.
"It was the plan, the organizational philosophy that we were going with," Manning said, "and, as players, we support that."
The Jets took control of their playoff destiny with the win, and would make the postseason for the first time since 2006 with a win next week at home against AFC North champion Cincinnati.
Caldwell made the move to sit Manning & Co. while leading by 15-10 with 5 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third, focused on a Super Bowl run rather than regular-season perfection. But to the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium, who wanted to send the Colts to Buffalo with a chance to match New England's perfect 2007 regular season, it mattered.
On the second series the starters sat out, fans started booing. The boos grew louder with each play, reaching a climax when Manning's replacement, rookie Curtis Painter, was hit by Calvin Pace while setting to throw and lost the football. Jets defensive end Marques Douglas fell on it and rolled into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
And with Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai out, that was all the Jets needed to take over.
New York sealed it with two fourth-quarter scores - a 43-yard field goal from Jay Feely and a 1-yard TD run from Thomas Jones.
As the clock wound down, some fans were silent and many left. Others booed as players shook hands, an odd way to end the record-setting 23-game streak.
"I'm disappointed," Manning said. "There were some chances, I think, to do some things better out there. The turnover and the kickoff return, those are plays that we haven't given up this year, and when you do, it's hard to win. So we've got some things to get corrected, and that will be the plan starting tomorrow."
The Colts' downfall began at the start of the second half when Brad Smith fielded Pat McAfee's kick 6 yards into the end zone, ran it out, found a seam along the right side, and then raced down the sideline for a 106-yard score.
N.Y. Jets 0 3 15 11 – 29
Indianapolis 6 3 6 0 – 15
Ind–Addai 21 run (kick failed), 6:55.
Ind–FG Vinatieri 22, 11:46.
NYJ–FG Feely 35, 1:44.
NYJ–B.Smith 106 kickoff return (Feely kick), 14:48.
Ind–Brown 1 run (run failed), 10:13.
NYJ–Douglas 1 fumble return (Keller pass from Sanchez), 1:29.
NYJ–FG Feely 43, 13:23.
NYJ–Jones 1 run (Edwards pass from Sanchez), 5:38.
First downs 17 18
Total Net Yards 293 277
Rushes-yards 44-202 24-64
Passing 91 213
Punt Returns 2-28 2-8
Kickoff Returns 1-106 5-123
Interceptions Ret. 1-7 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 12-19-0 18-32-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-15 2-23
Punts 5-42.6 6-46.2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-52 3-15
Time of Possession 33:06 26:54
Rushing: N.Y. Jets, Jones 23-105, Greene 16-95, B.Smith 2-16, Sanchez 2-0, Clowney 1-(minus 14). Indianapolis, Addai 6-40, Brown 16-22, Painter 1-3, Collie 1-(minus 1).
Passing: N.Y. Jets, Sanchez 12-19-0-106. Indianapolis, Manning 14-21-0-192, Painter 4-11-1-44.
Receiving: N.Y. Jets, Cotchery 4-45, Keller 3-19, Edwards 2-18, Clowney 1-11, Woodhead 1-8, Richardson 1-5. Indianapolis, Collie 6-94, Clark 4-57, Wayne 3-33, Baskett 2-16, Santi 1-22, Brown 1-12, Robinson 1-2.
Missed Field Goals: None.