INDIANAPOLIS – Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby could have ruined the whole thing and kicked the game ball right out of Colts owner Jim Irsay's hands before he could give it to Chuck Pagano.
But something funky happened.
The football on Crosby's 51-yard would-be game-tying field goal “came off a little weird,” and the Green Bay Packers last-second party killing moment failed to materialize. The Colts had a 30-27 win for their ailing coach, a game ball to present him, and the NFL story of the year so far.
“Everything up until the hit felt good,” Crosby said. “and then it just came off a little weird, the way I caught it, I guess. I haven't hit a ball like that in all of warmups. I haven't hit a ball that moved like that in a long time, so it's weird. We are going to have to look at the films and evaluate it.”
Packers coaches said Monday that Crosby's rhythm was off on the kick causing him to hook it.
Watch the replay of Crosby's final kick. The ball comes off his foot, then veers drastically left, like someone had reached up and batted it away in midair. Weird indeed.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck set season highs in completions (31), attempts (55) and yards (362) and became the first Colts rookie to throw at least one touchdown in his first four games since Bert Jones in 1973. Yes, even the great Peyton Manning didn't accomplish this feat.
Reggie Wayne, Luck's target 20 times (13 completes for 212 yards), said Luck's performance through four games is even more impressive considering what he's been digesting on offense.
“The thing about it is that they're throwing so much at him,” Wayne said. “I really believe if we were a simple offense, he would be doing wonders, but they're throwing so much at him. He's taking it all in, taking it in stride. He knows what's going on.
“…Especially as a receiver, you want to be there for him,” Wayne said. “You want to back him up and you want to make him look good no matter where he throws the ball. You want to give your body up to go and get it. He's going to be special, he really is.”
Wayne set a career-high with his 212 receiving yards and brought his total yards from scrimmage with the Colts to 12,214, moving him past Edgerrin James (12,065) in second place in team history. Marvin Harrison is the leader with 14,608.
Wayne has 36 catches for 506 yards (14.1 per catch), the highest four-game total of his career.
Luck's admiration for his favorite target is obvious.
“I told him after the game he's the best football player I've ever played with,” Luck said. “His leadership at halftime, on the field, before the last drive, I think I learned a lot from him from watching him operate. I'm very fortunate and blessed to be on a team with him.”
Some thought Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson paid too much to bring Wayne back. He appears to have been worth every penny so far.
His touchdown catch with 35 seconds left for the game-winner could go down as the season's top highlight.
“Andrew threw me he ball and I saw that end zone right there, got a grip on the ball, stuck it in there and tried to hurry up and sneak it back,” Wayne said. “It worked out for us. I wasn't sure at first how close it was, but when I saw it on the replay, it kind of shocked myself a little bit.”
Luck said Monday he was just as impressed by Wayne's play in retrospect.
"From watching the film, you realize those were a lot of big situations that he comes up in," Luck said. "It's not that hard to throw the ball in the vicinity of a receiver and he goes out and makes an amazing catch. He made everybody look good.”
Injured for now
Lost in the excitement of the win was the knee injury that send outside linebacker Rob Mathis to the sidelines. Mathis mouthed to the crowd “I'll be right back!” as he left the field, but he did not return.
Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said Monday that the team was still awaiting MRI testing to see the status of Mathis as well as defensive tackle Fili Moala.
On Monday, the Colts waived tight end Dominique Jones and placed guard Seth Olsen on injured reserve, designated to return. They also signed wide receiver Kris Adams to the practice squad.