Final

Colts 35

(8-4, 3-3 away)

Lions 33

(4-8, 2-4 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 2, 2012

Ford Field, Detroit, MI 

1 2 3 4 T
IND 7 7 7 1435
DET 10 13 7 333

Top Performers

Passing: A. Luck (IND) - 391 YDS, 4 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: J. Bell (DET) - 7 CAR, 81 YDS

Receiving: C. Johnson (DET) - 13 REC, 171 YDS, 1 TD

Andrew Luck throws TD pass with no time left to lift Colts

ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- Andrew Luck was down to his last shot and his final option to lead the Indianapolis Colts to victory.

Luck dropped back, then moved up to avoid pressure and buy time for a teammate to get open, tossed a short pass to Donnie Avery, and the receiver did the rest -- racing untouched for a 14-yard touchdown and giving the Colts a 35-33 comeback win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"You always hesitate throwing the ball not in the end zone, for fear of the clock running out with a guy in bounds," Luck said. "Took the calculated risk that Donnie could get there in the end zone, and he did."

Luck made all the right moves when it mattered most, making his transition from Stanford to the NFL look relatively smooth to help Indy win a game in a way it hasn't since just after his first birthday.

The last time the Colts scored a game-winning TD with no time remaining on the clock was Sept. 30, 1990, according to STATS LLC, to beat Philadelphia 24-23.

Luck has won more games (eight) than any rookie quarterback drafted No. 1 overall in the Super Bowl era. He broke the mark by Sam Bradford, who helped St. Louis win seven games two years ago, and also surpassed Jim Plunkett in New England during the 1971 season.

The Colts (8-4) stayed in control of the AFC wild-card race by winning for the sixth time in seven games. Luck helped them move a step closer toward being in the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons, only this time without Peyton Manning.

"Some teams find ways to win," Indy interim coach Bruce Arian said. "Others don't."

The Lions (4-8) lost for the fourth straight time, including three in a row at home after leading in the final quarter.

They're the first team to lose three straight games when leading with 2 minutes left in regulation since San Diego did it in 2000, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and the first since at least 1983 to blow leads that late in three home games in a row.

"This is a tough league for tough people, and we'll find out now who is tough," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said.

Luck is -- that's for sure.

Ndamukong Suh, who was fined $30,000 for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub last week, sacked Luck on his first snap and he was hit and hurried many more times by a hard-rushing front.

On the game-winning play, though, Detroit let Luck run through a slowly collapsing pocket as the final seconds ticked away and he took advantage.

"If the pass rush does their job, he doesn't get free of the scramble and he never finds that receiver," Schwartz said. "All game, we focused on taking away his step-up lanes, and then on the last play, we don't do it."

Luck, who was 24 of 54 for 391 yards with four TD passes, made up for matching a season-high three interceptions by doubling his previous season high with his final TD on the winning, fourth-down play that started with 3 seconds left.

He had two interceptions in the first half and threw a third in the fourth quarter. He has thrown 13 of his 16 interceptions on the road.

Fellow rookie T.Y. Hilton had six receptions for 100 yards and Avery had five catches for 91 yards and two scores, the first of which gave the Colts their only lead -- until his second one won the game.

"I had no choice but to score," Avery said. "It was the slowest 11 yards that I ever felt like I ran."

Calvin Johnson had a career-high 13 receptions for 171 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown that gave Detroit a 30-21 lead late in the third quarter. Johnson made a one-handed grab that set up Mikel Leshoure's TD in the second quarter. Johnson had at least 125 yards receiving for the fifth straight game, matching an NFL record set in 1966 by Pat Studstill with the Lions.

"Calvin Johnson is always a bright spot," Schwartz said. "Maybe I should have had him on defense for the last play."

Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick overall in 2009, was 27 of 46 for 313 yards with two TDs and an interception late in the first half that hurt his team's chances of adding to its 24-13 lead.

Stafford also missed Johnson at times late in the game, including on the Lions' last scoring drive when he threw behind him in the end zone and that led to Jason Hanson's fourth field goal that gave them a 33-21 lead with 8:41 left.

Luck threw his third TD pass to LaVon Brazill to make it 33-28 with 2:39 left. Then, Nick Harris' poor punt from the 50 gave Luck the ball at his 25 with 1:07 left and no timeouts and the quarterback pulled off another dramatic finish.

Game notes


Lions WR Ryan Broyles (right knee) left the game, leaving the team thin at the position because it left Titus Young inactive because of his behavior and previously lost Nate Burleson to a season-ending knee injury. ... Colts OL Joe Reitz left in the first quarter and didn't return after undergoing a concussion evaluation. ... Indy rookie TE Coby Fleener, who missed the previous four games with a shoulder injury, made a twisting, 26-yard TD catch in the second quarter. ... Tigers star Miguel Cabrera was wearing a Suh jersey, as one of his guests at the game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
IND
DET
1st Downs2321
Passing 1st downs
1315
Rushing 1st downs
75
1st downs from penalties
31
3rd down efficiency
4-156-17
4th down efficiency
2-20-0
Total Plays7475
Total Yards459451
Yards per play6.26.0
Total Drives1716
Passing372313
Comp-Att
24-5427-46
Yards per pass
6.66.8
Interceptions thrown
31
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-190-0
Rushing87138
Rushing Attempts
1829
Yards per rush
4.84.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties4-368-61
Turnovers31
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
31
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession22:2237:38

Passing Leaders

INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Luck24/543917.2432-19
DETC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Stafford27/463136.8210-0

Rushing Leaders

INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ballard9414.6113
Luck33311.0016
DETCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell78111.6067
Leshoure21572.717

Receiving Leaders

INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hilton610016.7060
Avery59118.2242
DETRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson1317113.2146
Scheffler35518.3039

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERINDDET
detFG8:54Jason Hanson 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 29 yds, 3:45
03
indTD6:35Donnie Avery 17 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 2:20
73
detTD1:54Brandon Pettigrew 16 Yard Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 87 yds, 4:41
710
SECOND QUARTERINDDET
detTD11:32Mikel Leshoure 6 Yard Run (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 75 yds, 3:50
717
indTD9:55Coby Fleener 26 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 1:40
1417
detFG7:22Jason Hanson 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yds, 0:59
1420
detFG3:50Jason Hanson 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 31 yds, 2:29
1423
THIRD QUARTERINDDET
indTD12:11Vick Ballard 11 Yard Run (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 2:55
2123
detTD0:12Calvin Johnson 46 Yard Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 58 yds, 3:54
2130
FOURTH QUARTERINDDET
detFG8:45Jason Hanson 31 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 57 yds, 2:09
2133
indTD2:47Lavon Brazill 42 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 85 yds, 1:23
2833
indTD0:03Donnie Avery 14 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 1:07
3533

Research Notes

From Elias: The Lions are the 2nd team in NFL history to lose 3 straight games in which they led in the final 2 minutes of the 4th quarter. The 2000 Chargers are the other team -- they finished 1-15.
The Lions are the 3rd team in NFL history to lose 3 straight games, all at home, in which they led in the 4th quarter. They join the 1954 Packers and the 1980 Seahawks.
  [+]
QBR: Andrew Luck had a Total QBR of 31.4 in Sunday's win over the Lions, but it was late when he played at his best. Luck had a QBR of 96.7 in the final 5 minutes of the game after posting an 11.3 in the 1st 55 minutes.
The Lions are 4-8, but could easily be 7-5 if they had a clue in the 4th quarter. They've been home for their last 3 games, held a 4th-quarter lead in each game -- and lost each game. In each game, they relinquished the lead inside the 2:00 mark:
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: It took Andrew Luck some time to get going Sunday, but Luck's performance down the stretch was crucial to Indianapolis'' win. The Colts were down 12 points before Luck hit Lavon Brazill and Donnie Avery in the last 2:47 to finish off the Lions.
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Calvin Johnson caught 12-of-16 targets through the first three quarters for 163 yards and a 46-yard touchdown with 0:12 remaining in the third quarter. Johnson caught only 1-of-4 targets for eight yards over the final 15 minutes, although he did draw a 21-yard pass interference penalty on Cassius Vaughn.
From Elias: Andrew Luck now has 5 game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime this season. That is tied with Vince Young (2006) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) for the most by a rookie since the merger.
  [+]
From Elias: Andrew Luck: 4th rookie since 1970 to throw a game-winning TD pass with 0:00 left in game. The other 3 are Tim Couch (Browns at Saints, October 31, 1999), Matthew Stafford (Lions vs Browns, November 22, 2009) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks vs Packers, September 24, 2012)

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