Redskins

Comebacks becoming regular part of Colts legacy

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Comebacks becoming regular part of Colts legacy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts keep doing unthinkable things.

They're winning close games with a rookie quarterback and one of the league's youngest teams. They're winning with an interim head coach, and now, they're on the verge of making it back to the playoffs without Peyton Manning.

And it's all thanks to a new cast of comeback kids.

``You know you have a chance until the last tick goes off the clock with those guys -as long as you can keep it within a manageable striking distance,'' coach Bruce Arians said Monday describing his experiences with three quarterbacks he's coached: Andrew Luck, Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.

Manning and Roethlisberger have the Super Bowl rings to prove it.

Luck doesn't have his ring yet, but his resume is getting stronger each week.

He's led the Colts to last-minute winning drives against Green Bay and Minnesota, an overtime win at Tennessee and, on Sunday, delivered another masterpiece with two TD passes in the final 2:39 to rally Indy from a 33-21 deficit to a stunning 35-33 win at Detroit as time expired. It was Indy's first winning score with no time left since 1990, yet another chapter in Luck's uncanny rookie season.

The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up has already broken Cam Newton's single-game record for yards passing by a rookie; broken Manning's record for most 300-yard games as a rookie (six); and has won more games (eight) than any quarterback taken No. 1 overall since the 1970 merger. He's still on pace to break the league's single-season rookie marks for attempts, completions and yardage, and when Luck has needed big passes in clutch situations, he's been almost unstoppable.

In one key measure, games decided by eight or fewer points, Luck is a gaudy 7-1. The only loss came on an improbable an 80-yard TD pass with less than a minute to go after Luck had given Indy the lead with another last-minute score. Compare those numbers to Manning, who won eight one-possession games at four different times during his 14 seasons with Indy, and had a career-high nine only once, in 1999.

Luck's latest chapter came in Manning-like fashion Sunday when the 6-foot-4, 234-pound quarterback threw a perfect 42-yard strike to LaVon Brazill despite having a defender wrapped around his legs. That score got the Colts within 33-28.

After a desperately needed defensive stop, Luck went back to work with 1:07 on the clock and no timeouts.

He started the drive with a 9-yard run, then dropped a perfect lob into Reggie Wayne's hands for 26 yards with 52 seconds left. After a spike, Luck sprinted around Ndamukong Suh and stepped out of bounds for a 16-yard gain. He followed that with a 10-yard completion to Dwayne Allen that gave Indy four chances at the end zone from the 14 with 24 seconds left. Luck's first three passes all fell incomplete, but on the final play, a scrambling Luck spotted the open Donnie Avery short of the goal line, flicked the ball to him and nearly outran Avery into the end zone as time expired.

``They don't know no better, don't know any better, man,'' Wayne said after the game. ``They just know to just keep playing, at the end of the game, just see the way we fall out. That's a credit just to the coaches. Just keeping the guys into it, keeping them to play toward the end and guys just go out there and keep fighting and fighting till it's all over.''

It also explains why the Colts are closing in on an improbable playoff trip.

If Indy beats Tennessee (4-8) at home Sunday, all the Colts would need to clinch a postseason spot is one more win and a conference loss by either Cincinnati (6-5) or Pittsburgh (6-5). Since the franchise moved to Indy in 1984, the Colts have made the playoffs just three times without Manning.

But with only two teams outside of the AFC's four division leaders having fewer than seven losses, and because Indy hasn't played either the Bengals or Steelers, the tiebreaker would be based on AFC record. With two wins in their last four games, the Colts would be 10-6 overall and 7-5 against the AFC. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, who play Dec. 23 in Pittsburgh, already have five losses each against AFC foes.

Indy closes the season by hosting Tennessee, visiting Houston and Kansas City before facing the Texans in a Dec. 30 rematch at Lucas Oil Stadium - a game the Colts have pegged as the possible return for head coach Chuck Pagano.

Arians, who took over for Pagano after he was diagnosed with leukemia Sept. 26, has gone 7-2. Only three coaches in league history have won more games after a midseason coaching change: San Diego's Don Coryell (8-4 in 1978), Wally Lemm (9-0 in 1961) with the Houston Oilers in the AFL, and Hamp Pool (9-2 in 1952) with the Los Angeles Rams.

But Arians isn't looking at records, closing flurries or the playoffs. He wants the Colts to focus on what they did do best - succeeding when nobody else expects it.

``There's some really good football teams behind us and we just have to take care of our own business, and we will worry about all that (later) because a lot of the teams will play each other in these last few weeks,'' Arians said when asked about looking at possible playoff scenarios. ``There's plenty of time to worry about it.''

Notes: Arians said Pagano was expected to complete his third and final round of chemotherapy Tuesday and he could be back at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, though Arians said it would be ``tough'' because this is when Pagano's white blood-cell count is expected to drop. ... Indy's players got a second straight Monday off, their reward for winning on Sunday. ... Arians did not update the injury status of starting offensive linemen Winston Justice or Joe Reitz, who both left Sunday's game with possible concussions. ... Arians did, however, give his own injury update after taking a hard fall when Lions safety Don Carey ran into him following an interception. ``Just a little stiff, a little stiff,'' Arians said. ``But I'm OK. I can take their best shot.''

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.