Indianapolis Colts: Marlin Jackson

Marlin JacksonAlbert Dickson/Sporting News/Getty Images
Score: Colts 38, Patriots 34

Date: Jan. 21, 2007. Site: RCA Dome

In a closer vote than it should have been, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson's interception against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game -- a play that helped seal an 18-point comeback and a spot in the Super Bowl -- was voted as the team's most memorable play.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Colts' history?

  •  
    40%
  •  
    22%
  •  
    38%

Discuss (Total votes: 30,682)

I went into the voting earlier this week thinking Jackson's interception would be the clear winner.

I was wrong. So were a number of other people, too.

That play received 40 percent of the more than 30,000 votes, barely edging out quarterback Peyton Manning's then-record breaking 49th touchdown pass against the San Diego Chargers in 2004. Manning's touchdown pass received 38 percent of the votes.

The Colts' 28-point comeback against Kansas City in the playoffs last season was a distant third in the voting (22 percent).

Manning's record-setting touchdown passing obviously is huge because it's a milestone during what will end up being a Hall-of-Fame career. But Jackson's interception was substantial for the franchise.

The Colts had been eliminated by the Patriots the previous two times they faced each other in the playoffs. Indianapolis finally got New England, the AFC power squad, off its back in a fashion that didn't seem possible when the Colts walked into the locker room down 15 points at halftime.

So after four consecutive playoff appearances that ended short of a Super Bowl appearance, Manning and the Colts celebrated clinching a Super Bowl berth in front of their fans.

"[The Patriots] were a nemesis of ours for years," Jackson said. "We beat them to get over the hump. And the fashion we were able to come back after being down by 18 points and still believing because of a great simple speech by coach Tony Dungy."

The Colts went on to beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in the Super Bowl.

An interception that helped the franchise eventually win a Super Bowl or a touchdown pass that set a single-season record?

Seems like an easy choice to make even if the voting didn't appear that way.
Peyton ManningAP 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

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Colts' history?

  •  
    40%
  •  
    22%
  •  
    38%

Discuss (Total votes: 30,682)

It didn't seem like 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."

 
Marlin JacksonAlbert Dickson/Sporting News/Getty Images
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is the second of three nominations for the most memorable plays in Indianapolis Colts history dating back to when they moved from Baltimore 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 final play is 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.

Score: Colts 38, Patriots 34
Date: Jan. 21, 2007 Site: RCA Dome.

The Colts were down 21-6 at halftime when coach Tony Dungy gave his team a speech that even had his players wondering what he was talking about.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Colts' history?

  •  
    40%
  •  
    22%
  •  
    38%

Discuss (Total votes: 30,682)

Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson, who sealed the 18-point come-from-behind victory for Indianapolis with an interception with 18 seconds left in the game, gives a breakdown of what happened on that late-January day in 2007.

“The speech Coach Dungy gave was quite simple and for us it quite shocking at the same time when he said it. He came in with his cool, calm demeanor. Most coaches wouldn’t be cool and calm at that point in the game. He said it almost jokingly. He goes, ‘You know we got them right where we want them.' He said, 'We’re going to come out after halftime we’re going to go down and score, we’re going to stop them, we’re going to score again and we’ll be right back in the game.’ We were like, ‘We got them what?’ That’s exactly what happened. I think it was his demeanor not as much as what he said, but the way he came across that there was no doubt in his mind that we were going to win the game. We fed off his interview at halftime.

"As far as the play goes, I remember leading up to that play there was a sense that they were coming out in a certain formation. It was trips to my side. Troy Brown was in the slot and a receiver to the outside. I can’t remember the tight end as the third guy. They were pretty much running the same play two to three times in a row, trying to hit the tight end down the seam. It was obvious the first two times when they were dumping the ball down to the back out of the backfield.

"On the actual play, I saw the formation was the same thing so I backed up deeper so I didn’t have to take a deep drop and actually have it be a wasted step making my break on the ball because I was anticipating he was going to go to the tight end in the seam. I knew because of my film study that [Tom] Brady always in those types of situations would throw blindly in the opposite direction and that’s exactly what he did. Snapped the ball, looked opposite of me so I knew once he turned back my way I had already broke on the tight end, which allowed me to get a great jump to make the play and get the interception.

"For me it was a moment of disbelief, like did that really just happen? Did I really just make that play? We were now going to the Super Bowl. It was even sweeter because it was a victory over the New England Patriots. That made it even more special because of the history of the organization leading up to that game. They were a nemesis of ours for years. We beat them to get over the hump. And the fashion we were able to come back after being down by 18 points and still believing because of a great simple speech by coach Tony Dungy.”
 
T.Y. HiltonBrian 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.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Colts' history?

  •  
    40%
  •  
    22%
  •  
    38%

Discuss (Total votes: 30,682)

But the Colts didn't know what hit them.

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.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider