With the Colts’ defense continuing to keep the Broncos’ offense out of the end zone, Vinatieri connected on another 45-yard field goal at the 6:05 mark of the third quarter to cut Denver’s lead to 13-6.
But later in the quarter, when the Colts finally found the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Marlon Mack, Vinatieri’s extra-point attempt, which would’ve tied the game at 13, missed wide left.
But Colts head coach Frank Reich, whose unwavering support helped Vinatieri dig out of some struggles to begin the season, had a message for his kicker as he walked off the field after that miss.
“I said, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. Shake that one off, because you’re gonna win this game for us,” Reich recalled after the game.
The second-year Colts head coach proved prophetic on this day.
With the Broncos clinging to that one-point lead, 13-12, the Colts’ offense would go 56 yards in six plays, highlighted by a sensational escape-act play from quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was able to escape the grasp of All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller in the end zone to roll out and find wide receiver T.Y. Hilton along the sideline for a huge 35-yard gain.
Four plays and one defensive penalty later, after getting to the Denver 33-yard line, Reich’s confidence in Vinatieri paid off, as he drilled his 51-yard field goal attempt to give the Colts an improbable 15-13 victory.
“I knew that was money for Adam,” Reich said. “I have all the confidence in the world that he was going to make that. … We had a shot to win it, and that’s all we wanted there at the end.”