Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Colts Add Another Intriguing Story Line

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Colts Add Another Intriguing Story Line

Article excerpt

The past three NFL games have been decided on the game's final play. The latest fantastic finish took place Thursday night when Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers launched a 61-yard pass with no time on the clock that Richard Rodgers caught for a 27-23 victory in Detroit.

The longest desperation pass completed in a walk-off win was preceded by a Baltimore touchdown Monday night on a blocked field goal return against Cleveland (of course) and a 48-yard run Sunday night by Denver running back C.J. Anderson to hand New England its first loss of the season in overtime.

But those are only a sampling of some of the weird things that have taken place across the NFL landscape in 2015. Take, for instance, the curious case of a 40-year-old backup quarterback outplaying Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.

Matt Hasselbeck, who was slinging passes in the NFL when Luck was in elementary school, has a perfect 4-0 record and has kept the Colts' season afloat in the midst of an injury-riddled season for Luck.

Indianapolis approached its offseason with a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality. After Luck led the Colts to the AFC championship in his third season they went out and signed aging veterans Frank Gore and Andre Johnson to get the team over the hump.

The plan was having a hard time coming together even before Luck was injured. Luck was 2-5 in the seven games he started. He threw 12 interceptions and generally looked lost running the offense.

When the team disclosed Luck had kidney and rib injuries that were going to force him to miss games, the coaches turned to Hasselbeck, who is best known in these parts for being the opposing quarterback against the Steelers in Super Bowl XL when he played for the Seahawks.

All Hasselbeck has done is keep the Colts' playoff hopes alive with some vintage play from his past. He will start his third consecutive game and try to keep his magic going Sunday night when the Colts visit Heinz Field for an important AFC showdown with plenty of playoff implications.

"He's playing like a 22-year-old in terms of his excitement and passion to play," Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said. …

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