Detroit 39, Indianapolis 35
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, September 11, 2016
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS -- Matthew Stafford wanted Matt Prater to have a chance for redemption. Just a chance.
After Prater missed a crucial extra point with 4:04 remaining and then watched the Indianapolis Colts take their first lead with 37 seconds to play, Stafford was on a mission.
"I have seen him make so many big ones in the past," Stafford said. "If we could just get him close, I knew he would make it. We were able to make some big plays there."
Sure enough, Prater's 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, and then a safety on the ensuing kickoff, gave Detroit a wild 39-35 victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis took a 35-34 lead on Andrew Luck's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle and Adam Vinatieri's extra point.
"We were excited at that point, but it's the NFL, and if you leave time on the clock, the other team is getting paid to play, too," Doyle said. "That's a tough way to lose."
Stafford completed four passes for 50 yards to move the Lions into field goal range, and then Prater nailed the game-winner. Indianapolis was called for an illegal forward pass in the end zone on the kickoff pushing the final margin to four points.
Stafford finished 31 of 39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Luck was 31 of 47 for 385 yards and four TDs.
The Colts tied it at 28 with 8:19 remaining on Luck's 16-yard touchdown pass to Doyle. Indianapolis drove 94 yards in nine plays.
Vinatieri's 40-yard field goal with 14:17 remaining pulled Indianapolis within 28-21.
After the Colts had scored 15 unanswered points, Stafford threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ameer Abdullah, pushing the Lions' lead to 28-18 with 2:20 to go in the third quarter. That seven-play drive covered 71 yards.
Indianapolis sliced its deficit to 21-18 with 8:41 left in the third quarter on Luck's 19-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen and a two-point conversion pass to Allen. That nine-play drive covered 85 yards.
The Lions drove 80, 82 and 75 yards for first-half touchdowns, building a 21-10 lead through 30 minutes. Detroit finished the game with 448 total yards.
"This was a game that was there to be won, and we could not make a play at the end," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said, "We dug ourselves in a huge hole at 21-3. We came back, but you have to finish. Their running backs were an issue for us. Our quarterback was exceptional, so this one is disappointing as heck. We ran out of gas at the end."
Theo Riddick's 21-yard touchdown run capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive the first time Detroit had the ball, good for a 7-0 lead with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter. Stafford completed 4 of 5 passes for 48 yards on that drive.
Detroit extended its lead to 14-0 with 9:11 remaining in the second quarter on Dwayne Washington's 1-yard run, capping a 15-play, 82-yard drive that was highlighted by Stafford's 27-yard pass to Marvin Jones, Jr., to the Indianapolis 37.
The Colts pulled to within 14-3 with 4:50 left in the half on Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal.
The Lions responded with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by Stafford's 6-yard pass to tight end Eric Ebron, giving Detroit a 21-3 lead.
Luck said the Colts' slow start was extremely frustrating.
"I am tired of all these slow starts, especially at home," said Luck, noting that Indianapolis is 4-5 in its nine most recent regular-season home games. "We must get out of the gate faster. We finally found a rhythm with the pass and the run, but this just wasn't our sure.
"Sure, you would like to score at the very end and win the game with zero seconds on the clock, but we had to score and take the lead when the opportunity was there."
Indianapolis pulled to within 21-10 at intermission on Luck's 2-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief with five seconds left in the second quarter. The Colts drove 75 yards in eight plays for that score.
Colts safety Mike Adams said Indianapolis has only itself to blame for the loss.
"Our tackling (stunk)," Adams said. "That drive when they scored their last touchdown (with 4:04 remaining), they should not have scored because we missed I don't know how many tackles. It's unacceptable."
NOTES: Indianapolis' already shorthanded secondary lost backup FS T.J. Green to a sprained knee in the second quarter and then lost starting left cornerback Patrick Robinson to a concussion in the same quarter. Regular starting RCB Vontae Davis has been injured and was inactive Sunday. ... Lions RB Theo Riddick left the game in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury but returned with 6:19 left in regulation. ... The meeting was the first between the teams since Dec. 12, 2012 when the Colts won, 35-33. ... Before Sunday, Indianapolis led the all-time series, 21-18-2. ... Detroit coach Jim Caldwell was the Colts' head coach from 2009 through 2011.
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Indianapolis will play their next game on the road against Denver. The Colts have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .000 after a loss.
Detroit will play their next game at home against Tennessee. The Lions have a W/L % of 1.000 after a win and .000 after a loss.