Vinatieri's 5 FGs lead Colts past Titans 22-14

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm •  Published: December 1, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Vinatieri still has it. Donald Brown does, too.

When both delivered throwback performances Sunday, it lifted the Indianapolis Colts closer to the playoffs.

Vinatieri, the oldest player in the league tied a career-high with five field goals and matched an NFL record with four 40-plus yard field goals in one game.

Brown, the Colts' forgotten 2009 first-round pick, scored on a 4-yard TD run with 1:56 left to give Indianapolis a 22-14 victory over Tennessee.

"Those are by no means chip shots," Andrew Luck said after another troubling offensive showing with only 264 total yards. "To have a guy like that (Vinatieri), it, well, it really makes a difference."

Indy (8-4) has a three-game lead over the Titans (5-7) with four left and a sweep of the season series. The Colts can wrap up their eighth AFC South title in 11 seasons with one more win, one more Titans loss or a tie by either team.

It hasn't been easy reaching this point, especially after losing five offensive starters with season-ending injuries, and with Trent Richardson struggling.

So coach Chuck Pagano shook up things after two blowout losses in the last three weeks. He surprised many by moving Brown into the starting lineup ahead of Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2012 by Cleveland who Indy traded for in September. Pagano replaced Mike McGlynn at right guard with Jeff Linkenbach and also started cornerback Darius Butler ahead of Cassius Vaughn.

Vaughn picked off two of Ryan Fitzpatrick's passes, and Brown continued to beat up on the Titans despite rushing for only 8 yards in the first 52 minutes. He had 46 yards on the final drive and gave Indy its only touchdown.

"I guess it was time to put something together and with the division hanging in the balance, the guys manned up," Pagano said, explaining that Brown earned a rare start and the two backs would both continue rotate. "Just like the first game down there, we were able to run the ball, chew up the clock."

They needed Vinatieri even more than Brown.

The soon-to-be 41-year-old resembled his much younger self, tying a career high with four field goals in the first half and matching his full-game career high when he hit a perfect 49-yarder for a 15-14 lead late in the third quarter. His fifth field goal also equaled Jason Elam's NFL record with a 16th 100-point season, and he joined Morten Andersen as the only players to score 800 points with two teams. He's the 10th player in league history to make four 40-yard field goals in a game.



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