A decent amount of their players have gotten hurt. A number of games have gotten away.
Some of those injuries and losses came early, others in the middle, and some were late. Some of each were worse than others, but all made for an ending to a season unlike any other in this recent era of Indianapolis Colts dominance.
Yet in the end, all is well. Somehow, all is well.
The Indianapolis Colts have made the NFL playoffs for the ninth consecutive season on Sunday afternoon by winning the AFC South division before their game against the Titans was completed, thanks to a 34-17 loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Houston Texans.
About ten minutes later, they capped off a rather exciting game against the Tennessee Titans by winning 23-20, on an Adam Vinatieri 43-yard field goal as time expired.
At 10-6, the Colts clinch the third seed in the playoffs and will play the New York Jets in the opening round next Saturday at 8 P.M. at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts got on the board first with an 11-play, 42 yard drive that led to a Vinatieri 48-yard field goal and a quick home team lead. Following a long kick return, however, Tennessee went 46 yards mostly on passes by quarterback Kerry Collins, leading to a 26-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.
Vinatieri got another turn in the second quarter, when another promising Colts drive stalled at the Tennessee 26-yard line. The kicker then booted another field goal through the uprights-this time from 44-yards-to give the Colts a three-point lead. Again Tennessee responded, using a conversion on fourth-and-one to set up another Bironas field goal to tie it up at six.
Finally the Colts broke it up late in the first half, when they used a healthy mix of passes and runs to creep down the field, reaching paydirt when Reggie Wayne caught a slant from Manning for a seven-yard touchdown and a 13-6 lead.
Collins and the Titans offense finally completed a drive to open the second half, as Collins found Kenny Britt for a 21-yard touchdown pass to tie the score up. Fitting to the pace of the game, Indianapolis proceeded to take the lead back when Pierre Garcon snagged a 30-yard touchdown pass from Manning to put the Colts up 20-13.
Just under five minutes later, Collins helped to bring the game back to even when he hit Chris Johnson for a 15-yard touchdown pass to knot the game up at 20, completing a nine play 70-yard drive.
Things stayed calm till the last 2:28, when turnovers turned thing a little crazy down the stretch. Dominic Rhodes fumbled the ball at the Colts 48-yard line, which after a return gave the Titans the ball at the Colts' 37-yard line.
But then Tennessee gave it back two plays later when Kerry Collins fumbled, which was recovered by Robert Mathis. The Colts then went 37-yard in five plays to set up Vinatieri's game winning 43-yard field goal.