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National Football League

       === Luck rallies surprising Colts to thrilling win over Lions ===
 Detroit,  MI (Sports Network) - Andrew Luck and Donnie Avery got together on a
 14-yard  score on the final play of the game as the Indianapolis Colts shocked
 the Detroit Lions, 35-33, at Ford Field on Sunday.
 The  Colts  (8-4) were  down by 12  points late  in the game,  but went on two
 straight  scoring  drives that Luck  capped with  touchdown passes to help the
 team win for a sixth time in the past seven games.
 Luck  finished the game 24-for-54 for 391 yards with four touchdown passes and
 three  interceptions,  while also totaling  33 rushing yards on three carries.
 Avery  caught  two of  the scores,  while LaVon Brazill  and Coby Fleener each
 caught a touchdown pass in the win.
 "Some  teams find  a  way to  win, others  don't,"  said Indianapolis  interim
 head  coach  Bruce Arians.  "Today our guys  did and I  couldn't be prouder of
 them.  This  was a bug team  win and everyone took  part in it. This was a big
 win on the road against a quality opponent."
 Detroit's  Calvin Johnson  continued his fantastic run with 13 catches for 171
 yards  and  a touchdown. The  NFC Offensive Player  of the Month for November,
 Johnson  had a career-high for catches in the game and tied an NFL record with
 his fifth straight game of at least 125 receiving yards.
 On  the  season, he has an  NFL-leading 1,428 yards  and is 420 yards from the
 league record set by Jerry Rice in 1995.
 Matthew  Stafford passed  for 313 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on
 27-of-46  attempts,  while Brandon Pettigrew  also caught a touchdown pass for
 the  Lions (4-8), who have dropped their past four games to hurt their chances
 of consecutive playoff appearances.
 "We  did a  poor job protecting the end  zone and we did a worse job defending
 the  quarterback," said  Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "But that wasn't the
 only  thing the lost the game for us, we had other chances to stop them and we
 just didn't get anything done. We were up two scores, this is inexcusable."
 Detroit  had  just picked  off Luck  for a third  time with  6:40 to play, but
 didn't go anywhere and punted the ball back to the Colts with 4:02 to play.
 Starting  at his own  15, Luck scrambled for eight yards on a fourth down play
 that  saw the team get another 15 yards on a horse collar tackle penalty. Four
 plays  later,  Luck avoided pressure in  the pocket and went deep for Brazill,
 who  came  down with the  42-yard score to  make it a  33-28 game with 2:39 to
 The  Colts held Detroit and forced a punt to get the ball back at their own 25
 with  1:07 left in the game. Luck went nine yards on the first snap then found
 Reggie  Wayne for 26  yards. Another Luck scramble moved the ball 16 yards and
 his  10-yard toss  to Dwayne  Allen got  the ball  to the  Detroit 14  with 18
 seconds to play.
 Three  straight incompletions saw the team down to one snap with three seconds
 on  the clock. Luck stepped up in the pocket and made a short toss just before
 crossing the line of scrimmage to Avery, who ran in for the winning score with
 no time showing on the clock.
 "We  seemed to get  stalled there and it was tough to sit back there and throw
 it  when they were playing those zones," said Luck. "I figured I'd buy us some
 time  and run  around. I didn't want to  throw it not in the end zone for fear
 that  he would  get tackled and we'd run  out of time, but I took a calculated
 risk and it worked this time."
 After  each team  had a touch to start  the game, Detroit got the ball back at
 its  own 42 and a 14-yard catch by Johnson got the team down to the Colts' 36.
 The  team only managed seven more yards, and a Jason Hanson 48-yard field goal
 made it a 3-0 game with 8:49 to play in the first.
 The  Colts, though, answered just over two minutes later to take the lead with
 a  60-yard catch-and-run from T.Y. Hilton getting the ball down to the Detroit
 16.  Three plays  later, from the 17,  Luck found Avery over the middle and he
 raced in for a score and a 7-3 lead.
 Detroit  came right  back with a touchdown of  its own. On a first down at his
 own  32, Stafford lofted the ball down the right sideline where Tony Scheffler
 made  the  catch and  dragged the  right foot  for a  39-yard play. Five plays
 later,  Pettigrew made a leaping catch in the end zone for a 16-yard score and
 a 10-7 lead with 1:48 left in the first.
 The  Colts went  three-and-out on their next  touch as Detroit went to work at
 its own 25. On a first down just before midfield, Stafford went down the right
 sideline  and Johnson  came up with the  one-handed catch for 32 yards down to
 the  Indianapolis  6-yard line, Two plays  later, Mikel Leshoure took it in up
 the middle for a 17-7 lead with 11:27 to play in the first half.
 Indianapolis got a 40-yard catch on a screen by Allen on the first play of its
 ensuing  drive to get the ball to the Detroit 40. Four plays later, Luck threw
 the  ball  down the left  sideline where Fleener came  up with a leaping catch
 near the goal line for his first career touchdown on a 26-yard play to make it
 a 17-14 game with 9:47 left in the half.
 Detroit  then went three-and-out, but Luck was picked by Drayton Florence, who
 took  the ball  down to  the Colts'  10, but  an illegal  block on  the return
 brought  it back  10  yards. The  Colts'  defense held,  and  a 33-yard  field
 goal from Hanson made it a 20-14 game.
 The  Colts again  had to punt and three straight completions by Stafford moved
 the  ball 26 yards. The drive stalled at the 33, and a 52-yard field goal from
 Hanson gave the Lions a 23-14 advantage with 3:46 left in the half.
 Luck  got his  team near midfield, but  was picked off by Don Carey. The Lions
 then made it to the Colts' 41, but Robert Mathis came up with his first career
 interception to kill the short possession.
 The  Colts started the  second half with the ball and quickly got into scoring
 position  on a  42-yard catch by Avery.  Four plays later, Vick Ballard took a
 handoff  on a draw  through the left side and broke a couple of tackles on his
 way to an 11-yard score, the first rushing touchdown of his career, to make it
 a 23-21 game less than three minutes in.
 Each  team  then punted  twice, but  the Lions  gave themselves some breathing
 space  after starting with  the ball at their own 42. On the sixth play of the
 drive  from the Indianapolis 46, Stafford rolled out to the right to avoid the
 rush  and  went deep for  Johnson, who  made the catch  near the goal line and
 rolled in for a 30-21 lead with just two seconds left in the third quarter.
 "You  show  up every Sunday expecting  to win and we  played a lot of parts of
 this  game  well enough  to do  that," said  Stafford. "But  for one reason or
 another, we didn't win today."
 Detroit  added to its lead on its second possession of the fourth quarter as a
 67-yard run up the middle on a draw play by Joique Bell led to a 31-yard field
 goal by Hanson for a 33-21 advantage with 8:41 left in the game.
 Indianapolis  went  to the no huddle  and got into Detroit territory, but Luck
 was picked off for a third time in the game as Carey came down with his second
 interception in the contest.
                                   Game Notes
 Hilton's  60-yard  catch was  the  longest  passing  play  of the  season  for
 Indianapolis  ...  Colts  linebacker  Justin  Hickman left  the  game  with  a
 hamstring  injury while  tackle Joe  Reitz left  in the  first quarter  with a
 possible  concussion ... Bell's 67-yard run was a career-high ... Detroit wide
 receiver  Ryan  Broyles left  the game with  a knee injury  ... The Colts, who
 improved  to 3-3  on the  road  this season,  host Tennessee  next Sunday  ...
 Detroit  plays its next two games on the road with a matchup in Green Bay next
 Sunday  ... The  Colts have won six  of the last eight games against the Lions
 ... All eight of Detroit's losses this season have come by 10 points or less.
 12/02 20:45:31 ET

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