Colts win 1 for ailing coach

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) is congratulated by Donald Brown after their 30-27 win over the Green Bay Packers in an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.

Michael Conroy, Associated Press

The weeping team owner held up the game ball and vowed to leave the stadium with it.

Jim Irsay would be taking it to Chuck Pagano, who has everything to do with the Indianapolis Colts' 30-27 shocker over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday — even though the head coach wasn't on hand.

"We know what kind of man we have down the street, fighting, fighting for his life, and winning the fight," Irsay said of Pagano, who has been hospitalized with leukemia. "Everyone in here knows how much that this means, and this ball is going right down the street."

Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne won it with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to complete the Colts' second-half rally from a 21-3 deficit. Interim coach Bruce Arians acknowledged he was fighting back tears when he spoke to reporters afterward.

"You guys doing this today, Bruce coming in, all you guys pulling together, Reggie being so close to Chuck going back for so long," Irsay told his players.

Wayne finished with 13 receptions for a career-high 212 yards — the second-highest total in Colts history behind Hall of Famer Raymond Berry in 1957. And he wore orange gloves instead of the traditional pink ones for breast cancer awareness month, because that's the color for leukemia patients.

"I just wanted to do something, you know, for Chuck," Wayne explained. "I had some equipment guys make some calls. If they (NFL officials) fine me, they fine me. I really feel like that would be a terrible thing to do, but if so, so be it, I'll go ahead and take the fine and do it for Chuck."

They all did it for Chuck on Sunday.

Also, it was New Orleans 31, San Diego 24; New England 31, Denver 21; Atlanta 24, Washington 17; San Francisco 45, Buffalo 3; Chicago 41, Jacksonville 3; Pittsburgh 16, Philadelphia 14; New York Giants 41, Cleveland 27; Minnesota 30, Tennessee 7; Miami 17, Cincinnati 13; Seattle 16, Carolina 12; and Baltimore 9, Kansas City 6.

The week's action began with St. Louis (3-2) beating Arizona (4-1) on Thursday night, 17-3. On Monday night, Houston (4-0) is at the New York Jets (2-2).

Off this week were Dallas (2-2), Detroit (1-3), Oakland (1-3) and Tampa Bay (1-3).


At Indianapolis, Green Bay (2-3) blew the 18-point lead, then had a chance to force overtime, but Mason Crosby badly hooked a 51-yard field goal with 3 seconds to go.

After Adam Vinatieri gave Indy its first lead at 22-21 with a 28-yard field goal, Aaron Rodgers threw an 8-yard TD pass to James Jones to make it 27-22 with 4:30 left before the Colts rallied.

"I've got 12 years of (special) games," said Wayne, who has known Pagano since they were at the University of Miami together in the late 1990s. "But this did mean a lot, just with the whole deal with how the week's been going. You know, I talked to coach Pagano and he wanted us to win so bad. Is it a high? Yeah. I don't necessarily have one other than the Super Bowl game. But it's up there."

Green Bay already is two games behind Minnesota and Chicago in the NFC North.

"We just didn't make any plays," Rodgers said. "They got a little more aggressive in the second half, we turned the ball over and got them into a two-score game and then we kind of got back mentally into the game."

But not enough to win it.


At New Orleans, Drew Brees broke John Unitas' half-century-old NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game, and the Saints (1-4) finally won. Brees' 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson eclipsed the mark set by Unitas from 1956-60 and began his big night.

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