Indianapolis Colts: Brandon Stokley
July, 9, 2014
By Mike Wells | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Michael Conroy» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
This is the last of three nominations for the most memorable plays in Indianapolis Colts history dating to when they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. The first nomination was second-year quarterback Andrew Luck leading the Colts from 28 points down in the second half to beat Kansas City in the AFC playoffs last season. The second was cornerback Marlin Jackson's interception of New England quarterback Tom Brady with 18 seconds left to seal the Colts' 18-point comeback in the AFC Championship Game in January 2007.
Score: Colts 34, Chargers 31
Date: Dec. 26, 2004. Site: RCA Dome
Peyton Manning would break Dan Marino's season touchdown passing record on this day. For 59 minutes you thought Manning would have to wait until the season finale against the Denver Broncos to pass the record.
Manning was untouchable by defenders all season leading up to the Week 16 game against San Diego.
But the Chargers sacked him four times, forced two fumbles and intercepted him once.
With the game on the line, though, Manning did what he does best: Be clutch.
Manning shook off the play call that came in through his headset and decided to make a backyard play call to receiver Brandon Stokley.
Manning told Stokley to run a post route.
Lined up in the slot, Stokley threw the defense off balance by faking a fade to the corner and cutting back inside on the post to catch the 21-yard touchdown pass from Manning. Chargers safety Terrence Kiel was faked out so badly by Stokley looking as though he was going to run the corner route that he fell in the end zone.
"You think the NFL is real complex," Manning told reporters after the game. "But it turns into street ball real quick."
The touchdown pass was the 49th of the season thrown by Manning, breaking the record set by Marino in 1984.
"It says a lot about Peyton that here we are, the game on the line, and he calls a play we've never run before," Stokley told reporters. "He calls a post. I just didn't want it to hit me in the face."
Manning spent the weeks leading up to that game talking about how playoff seeding was more important than passing Marino's record. The Colts beat the Chargers in overtime.
"At the time I threw it, there wasn't a lot of emotion for me, because if we don't get the 2-point conversion, this is a down locker room right now," Manning said after the game. "The fact that it happened, we won the game ... . It sure made for an exciting day."
July, 7, 2014
By Mike Wells | ESPN.com
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
This is one of three nominations for the most memorable plays in Colts' history dating back to when they moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore in 1984. In the next two days we'll feature: Peyton Manning's 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley for Manning's 49th TD of the season, which broke Dan Marino's single-season TD record in 2004, and cornerback Marlin Jackson's interception of New England quarterback Tom Brady to seal the Colts' 18-point comeback in the AFC Championship Game in January 2007.
Score: Colts 45, Chiefs 44
Date: January 4, 2014 Site: Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck was playing in his first home playoff game, against a team he had beaten two weeks earlier.
Seven-point deficit. Ten-point deficit. Seventeen-point deficit. Twenty-one point deficit. The deficit grew as large as 28 points, and many of the Colts fans at sold-out Lucas Oil Stadium sat stone-faced, not believing what they were watching on the field.
Luck wasn't helping the situation. He looked like a rookie quarterback taking his first snaps. His third interception of the game gave the Chiefs a short field to work with, which they used to increase their lead to 38-10 just 81 seconds into the second half.
“[Luck] kept telling us, even at 38-10, 'We're going to win this game,'" offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo said.
Luck wasn't worried about the double-digit deficit. He proved six prior times in his young career that he could lead the Colts back from a double-digit deficit.
Luck -- pun intended -- was on the Colts' side. Trailing 41-31 early in the fourth quarter, Colts running back Donald Brown fumbled a handoff and the ball bounced off of center Samson Satele's helmet. But Luck picked up the ball and ran in from 5 yards out to cut Kansas City's lead to 41-38.
Indianapolis completed the improbable comeback when Luck stepped up in the pocket and found receiver T.Y. Hilton streaking downfield for a 64-yard touchdown with less than five minutes left in the game.
The 28-point comeback was the second-largest in NFL playoff history. Long snapper Matt Overton called it an, “Instant ESPN Classic,” after the game.
“[Luck's] not giving you a bunch of bulls--- when he says that stuff,” Castonzo said. “At no point does he not believe we're not going to win. He's led us on a lot of comebacks for a reason. The guy does not freak out.”