for this game

Bironas kicks winning 60-yard field goal, Titans upset Colts

Dec 3, 2006 - 9:33 PM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Rob Bironas pulled off his version of a "Music City Miracle." It was not an uplifting experience for Peyton Manning.

Bironas kicked a franchise-record 60-yard field goal with seven seconds left to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 20-17 upset of the first-place Indianapolis Colts.

Indianapolis (10-2) had a chance to clinch its fourth straight AFC South title under coach Tony Dungy with a win. But the Colts squandered a 14-point lead and watched helplessly as Bironas drilled the fourth-longest field goal in NFL history.

"Let's see, it's from the middle of the football field. That (equates) to maybe a halfcourt shot in basketball," Bironas said. "The field wasn't the greatest, but we had a good, brisk wind behind us."

It marked the second straight week Bironas kicked a winning field goal to cap a dramatic comeback for Tennessee (5-7), which erased a 14-point deficit and snapped a seven-game losing streak against their division rivals.

"It was a great kick and a great way to end a ballgame against a very good team," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "There was a distinct wind, a definite wind, a prevailing wind all day. (Holder) Craig Hentrich was adamant he (Bironas) could make it."

Last week, The Titans rallied from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit in a 24-21 victory over the New York Giants as Bironas drilled a 49-yarder with six seconds remaining. Rookie Vince Young orchestrated both comebacks. His 18-yard pass to Bobby Wade helped set up Bironas' latest winning kick.

"A 60-yard kick. That was beautiful," Young said. "I'm really happy for him. We're trying to bring the excitement back to Nashville for our fans. Everything is going to work out for us."

Young, the third overall pick in the draft, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards.

Manning, a two-time MVP, passed for 351 yards and a score, but was also intercepted twice.

"Losing is no fun," Manning said. "This is disappointing, no question about it. We knew it would be a tough game coming in."

Manning connected with Marvin Harrison on a 68-yard touchdown with 3:51 left in the first quarter and Dominic Rhodes scored on a two-yard run with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter to help the Colts build a 14-0 lead.

Manning and Harrison are the NFL's most prolific tandem with 100 touchdowns, 15 more than the runnerup pair of Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Harrison finished with seven catches for 172 yards.

"This was the first time we lost a two-touchdown lead since I have been here and it doesn't feel very good," Dungy said.

The Titans closed the half with 10 points in a span of 1:38. Bironas kicked a 25-yard field goal with 1:49 left in the second quarter to cap a 12-play, 70-yard drive.

Linebacker Keith Bulluck then intercepted a pass by Manning at the Indianapolis 42. Three plays later, Young fired a 20-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Drew Bennett with 11 seconds remaining in the half.

Tennessee took its first lead when Young hit Brandon Jones with a nine-yard touchdown pass with 12:24 left in the fourth quarter, capping an 11-play, 95-yard drive.

The Colts tied the game, 17-17, when Adam Vinatieri kicked a 20-yard field goal with 2:38 left.

But Indianapolis squandered a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead with a 1st-and-goal at the Tennessee 1. Rookie Joseph Addai was stuffed by Bulluck and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for a one-yard loss. On the next play, tight end Ben Utecht was called for offensive pass interference, moving the Colts back to the 12.

On 3rd-and-goal, Manning scrambled for five yards and lateraled to Addai, who ran for another five yards before being tackled by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and safety Chris Hope.

"It just comes down to limiting the big plays and that's what we did today," Vanden Bosch said.

With 4th-and-goal at the 2, Colts coach Tony Dungy decided to go for the game-tying field goal.

Young then directed a nine-play, 33-yard drive. He scrambled twice up the middle for 13 yards before hitting Wade with an 18-yard pass to the Indianapolis 41.

"Vince Young is obviously a different type of threat and he made some things happen," Dungy said. "We really didn't do a good job of getting him down. He was able to scramble and make a lot of big plays."

"It our responsibility as a defensive line to get him (Young) down and we didn't do that today," Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said.

The field goal by Bironas eclipsed the franchise record of 56 yards by Al Del Greco against San Francisco on October 27, 1996. It also tied Morten Andersen and Steve Cox for the fourth longest kick in league history.

The loss also snapped Indianapolis' 12-game winning streak against AFC South opponents.

The Colts again proved to be susceptible to the run. The Titans rushed for 219 yards on 35 carries, including 93 by Travis Henry and 78 by Young.

Indianapolis yielded 214 rushing yards in a 14-13 win over the Titans on October 8.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!