Final Score: Tampa Bay 24, Indianapolis 17
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Even a new quarterback didn't help the Colts
avoid their worst start in 13 years.
LeGarrette Blount's 35-yard touchdown run with 3:15 to play helped the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers take a 24-17 win over Indianapolis.
The Colts (0-4) turned to Curtis Painter to start under center in place of an
injured Kerry Collins, who was signed into a starting role in late August
after it became apparent that Peyton Manning had not been fully recovered from
offseason neck surgery. Collins was knocked out of last week's game against
Pittsburgh due to a concussion.
Painter was effective in his first start as he threw for 281 yards and two
touchdowns, but he was just 13-for-30 and did lose a fumble as the Colts
matched their worst start since Manning's rookie season in 1998.
"He looked good out there all in all, but we didn't give him the protection
he needed out there on some of those plays," said Indianapolis head coach Jim
The Buccaneers (3-1), meanwhile, have won three straight games after opening
the season with a loss to Detroit thanks to a 25-carry, 127-yard game from
Blount along with a rushing and passing touchdown from Josh Freeman. He
finished the game 25-for-39 with 287 yards along with six carries for
"Good win, good start to the season," said Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris.
"Some of the things we can control we'll clean up, the rest we don't need to
worry about right now."
Trailing, 17-10, after a Pierre Garcon 59-yard TD catch, Tampa Bay came right
back with a 13-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game with 14 seconds left in the
third. On 3rd-and-7 at the Colts 13, Freeman hit Preston Parker over the
middle and he was able to stretch the ball inside the left pylon for his first
The Colts then moved 52 yards over 14 plays and lined up for a 43-yard field
goal, but the normally reliable Adam Vinatieri missed the kick to the left and
Tampa Bay took over at its own 33.
After an exchange of punts, the Buccaneers started the winning drive at their
own 40 and were quickly at midfield thanks to a 10-yard run from Blount.
Freeman later gained a first down on a 3rd-and-6 when he scrambled for seven
yards. Two plays later, Blount took a handoff to the right, cut to the hole in
the middle then bounced out to the right and was able to hold the ball over
the right pylon before being forced out for the go-ahead score.
The Colts were unable to get a first down on their next touch and the Bucs
converted a 4th-and-1 with a Freeman sneak to seal the win.
"I think we're close. We're scratching for a win here," Painter said about his
team's start to the season. "We're going to continue to battle and hopefully
get over that hump next week."
The Colts started the game with the ball and Painter took the team on a drive
that saw them get a 45-yard field goal from Vinatieri 4 1/2 minutes in.
Painter passed for 36 yards on the drive and converted two third downs before
seeing a 3rd-and-8 pass fall short.
Tampa Bay had to punt on its first possession, but got a turnover when Michael
Bennett swiped Painter's hand, forcing a fumble and recovering it at the
However, the Colts limited the Bucs to just four yards and a Connor Barth 46-
yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright.
On the final play of the first quarter, Arrelious Benn caught a pass and took
it 62 yards into the end zone, but he was ruled to have been out of bounds
before catching the ball. Tampa Bay challenged the call, but it was upheld.
Their second possession of the second quarter saw the Colts pinned at their
own two after a good punt from Michael Koenen. A defensive holding penalty and
seven-yard pass got the team out of the shadow of their own end zone. Painter
then lined a pass to the right sideline that Garcon caught near his own 30.
After breaking free of the nearest defender, he raced into the end zone
untouched on an 87-yard score and a 10-0 lead with 8:47 left in the second.
Tampa Bay, though, answered with a successful march as the team went 81 yards
in eight plays with Freeman keeping the ball himself on a one-yard sneak into
the end zone with 3:54 left in the half. The big play of the drive was a 43-
yard catch from Benn that got the ball past midfield.
Following a three-and-out from the Colts, the Bucs had plenty of time left on
the clock and got into scoring position. But on 3rd-and-1 with 20 seconds
left, Freeman was sacked. The Bucs got a successful Barth field goal off
before the clock expired, but there was still a player running off the field
and they were whistled for too many men, ending the first half.
"It really wasn't pretty at all times but that's kind of us," Freeman said
about the game. "You want to go in every week and play a spot free football
game but that's rarely how it goes."
During that drive, the Colts lost defensive tackle Eric Foster to a gruesome
right ankle injury after he got it twisted under defensive end Tyler Brayton
and it was visibly broken.
He was taken off the field on a cart with an air cast around his leg, but
seemed to be in good spirits as he was pumping his arm and talking to players
on the field.
The Bucs started the second half with the ball and went 54 yards over 10
plays, but stalled at the Indianapolis 28 and went to Barth, who nailed the
46-yard field goal to tie the game.
Following an exchange of punts, the Colts took a 17-10 lead when Painter threw
a quick screen out to the right for Garcon, who used good open-field running
and nice blocks from Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne for a 59-yard score with
7:10 left in the third.
It was later announced that Foster will be spending the night in a local
hospital...Garcon finished the game with two catches for a career-high 146
yards...It was Tampa Bay's first Monday night home game since a 19-13 win
over the Giants on Nov. 24, 2003...The Colts had won the previous two games
against the Bucs and are now 7-5 in the series...The Colts had not lost four
in a row since a five-game slide from Nov. 11-Dec. 10, 2001...Wayne had four
catches for 59 yards and has caught a pass in 84 straight games...The Bucs had
14 penalties for 106 yards in the game...Tampa had 466 yards of offense,
including 192 on the ground, and controlled the clock for 39 minutes...Tampa
Bay plays at San Francisco next Sunday while the Colts host Kansas City.
10/04 02:08:56 ET
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