4:49 P.M. EDT: Peyton Manning finds a wide-open Reggie Wayne as the Colts move to the Denver 14 .. Manning taking the fairways-and-greens approach as the flashbulbs pop around the dome.
4:50 P.M. EDT: Joseph Addai slices through the heart of Denver’s defense, bouncing off tacklers for the score. Denver’s lead is now 10-7.
4:51 P.M. EDT: Colts celebrate the touchdown with Bang the Drum All Day by Todd Rundgren. I feel like I’m at a Packers game.
4:53 P.M. EDT: Hixon gets hit at the 16, loses his balance and falls to the ground at the 20 after a 21-yard return.
4:55 P.M. EDT: I utterly despise the post-kickoff return timeout. Nothing demolishes the flow of a game in quite the same way. It’s like going to a basketball game where the two TV timeouts come within 30 seconds because there were no appropriate stoppages immediately after the 16:00 mark of the first half.
4:57 P.M. EDT: Broncos now at their 39 as they take timeout … lots of creative work by Denver … taking the Brandons — Marshall and Stokley — out of the huddle and replacing them with a timeouts just before a play.
4:59 P.M. EDT: I’ve seen ads for Hardee’s on the matrix boards and mullets on fans both here at the game and in downtown Indianapolis. I feel like I’m back home.
5 P.M. EDT: Twenty-four yards as Cutler throws across his body for Nate Jackson and moves the Broncos to the Indy 37. Jim Fassel is sitting down now. “Duff Gardens — hurrah.”
5:01 P.M. EDT: Broncos now with third-and-3 at the Indy 29 … Crowd at its loudest so far today … Graham at fullback, makes a block for Henry, and the tailback follows his escort for four yards and the first down.
5:02 P.M. EDT: Henry scoots right into a thicket of pads and helmets for 2 yards.
5:03 P.M. EDT: On the next play Cutler finds Brandon Stokley, who gains 12 yards and gets booed. Here’s the problem … you don’t boo a guy who did not leave of his own volition. The Colts didn’t want him back. Boo the Colts for letting him go, yes, but don’t boo the man. He loved the Colts. He loved Colts fans. Give No. 14 a little respect and love, okay?
5:04 P.M. EDT: Broncos now in third-and-8 from the 10 after Cutler had no chance to throw on second down, just barely getting rid of the football under pressure … crowd now at its noise apex so far today.
5:05 P.M. EDT: Bob Sanders stops Selvin Young two yards short of the necessary yardage … Denver opts for the field goal. It’s a long two yards … might even be closer to three, frankly … Elam drills the 22-yarder and the Broncos’ lead is 13-7.
5:07 P.M. EDT: Statistical guru Patrick Smyth informs me that Elam is now the fastest player to 1,700 points, making the milestone in just 224 games. Elam now has 29 points so far this season, leaving him on pace to pad his bulbous tally of consecutive 100-point seasons to open his career, which is now at 14.
5:08 P.M. EDT: I guess blocking-in-the-back isn’t what it used to be; looks like the guys in black-and-white stripes missed that one on T.J. Rushing’s 34-yard kickoff return.
5:11 P.M. EDT: Colts beginning to exert some will on the ground … while continuing to accelerate the game’s pace. Indy is three yards past midfield, and now at the Denver 40 after Addai runs into D.J. Williams following a 7-yard run.
5:12 P.M. EDT: Addai bounced off Williams as though it were a video game and not a real football contest … Indy now at the 36.
5:14 P.M. EDT: Two missed tackles as Reggie Wayne works his way upfield … one by Dre’ Bly; the other by Nate Webster. Indy now at the Denver 13.
5:15 P.M. EDT: Elvis Dumervil and Jarvis Moss get into the backfield on first-and-10 from the Denver 13; Dumervil gets a fingertip on the pass.
5:16 P.M. EDT: Third-and-6 from the Denver 9. This is the play that could illuminate the difference in this game … and it is, as Manning finds Dallas Clark in the back of the end zone. Indy is two-for-two in the red zone; Denver is one-for-three. That’s why the Broncos will be behind by one point assuming Adam Vinatieri makes the extra point.
5:18 P.M. EDT: And he does. The players often speak of getting better in the red zone … right now, the Broncos are just seeing red, down 14-13.
5:20 P.M. EDT: Broncos at the 20 after the touchback … The crowd seems to be growing louder with each Broncos possession … Broncos now have second-and-5 at their 25.
5:21 P.M. EDT: Gargantuan third-and-2 forthcoming … Broncos in the jumbo package, with three tight ends … Henry goes right and slams into Freddie Keihao … Broncos will punt on fourth-and-1 from the 29.
5:26 P.M. EDT: Colts now at their 26 to begin the drive … hold your breath, fasten your seatbelts, pull up your stockings … whatever.
5:27 P.M. EDT: Anthony Gonzalez makes Jeff Shoate miss; that turns a 4-yard-play into a 19-yard gain. Colts at their 45 with 1:23 left.
5:28 P.M. EDT: Manning for Gonzalez on third-and-5 from midfield is incomplete … but there’s offsetting penalties. Denver’s is an offsides against Elvis Dumervil. Can’t give No. 18 another chance like that.
5:29 P.M. EDT: Ian Gold, however, forces an incompletion with a timely hit … The Colts will punt with 58 seconds left before halftime … and Denver will start at its 8-yard-line after an illegal-use-of-the-hands infraction during the punt, which was fair-caught by Domenik Hixon. The Colts still have three timeouts, so Denver cannot simply run a couple of carries off-tackle and call it a half.
5:31 P.M. EDT: Travis Henry is over 100 yards (101) after gaining six yards on first-and-10 … The game stops as Colts linebacker Rob Morris is treated for injury on the field.
5:35 P.M. EDT: As the crowd rises to a standing ovation, a cart takes Morris from the field …. Back in the game, Henry goes five yards for a first down on the next play, and the Colts make no attempt to stop the clock. The teams will head to intermission with the Broncos down, 14-13.
Tags: Indianapolis Colts