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Heyward Provides Inspiration for the Colts

November 16, 1998|From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — After the game was over, it wasn't Peyton Manning's name the Indianapolis Colts were calling out. It wasn't Marcus Pollard's either.

As the Colts ran into the locker room after Manning's touchdown pass to Pollard with 24 seconds left set up a 24-23 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday, they began chanting "Iron-head, Iron-head," paying tribute to fullback Craig Heyward, who underwent surgery on Thursday for a benign tumor at the base of his skull.

"He hasn't been here long, but he's become a team favorite," Colt Coach Jim Mora said. "I know all the guys were busting their tails for him."

The Colts set aside the game ball for Heyward, who remained in serious but stable condition at a hospital in Indianapolis. Heyward, who played under Mora at New Orleans from 1988-91, joined the Colts early in the season after being released by the St. Louis Rams.

Pollard, the Colts' tight end, appeared stopped just short of the goal line, but stretched his arms into the end zone before he hit the ground, tying the game. Mike Vanderjagt, whose missed field goal at the end of the first half led to a Jet touchdown, then kicked the extra point to allow the Colts to win for the second time in 10 games. The Jets (6-4) had a win streak end at four games.

"It was will and determination," Pollard said. "I had to make the play, or we lose."

The Colts went 80 yards on the game-winning drive. Manning, the first pick in this year's draft, also had touchdown passes of four yards to Torrance Small and 38 yards to Marvin Harrison, and was 26 of 44 passing for 276 yards.

"Talk about the odds being against us . . . we kept believing something good would happen, and it finally did," Manning said. "We stopped ourselves some in the first half. It was just a matter of being patient and getting a chance to win in the fourth quarter.

"Marcus is a great athlete. I thought he would have a chance to drive it in the end zone."

After Pollard's touchdown, the Jets reached their 47-yard line before quarterback Vinny Testaverde fumbled the snap and the Colts' Al Fontenot recovered with six seconds remaining.

"We deserved to get beat," Jet Coach Bill Parcells said. "We weren't sharp. The receivers couldn't catch, we couldn't tackle.

"That's a big loss for us, a big step back. I'm just really, really disappointed."

The Jets seemed to have the game in control with a 23-10 lead after Aaron Glenn returned a missed 63-yard field goal by Vanderjagt 104 yards for a touchdown with no time left in the first half.

"I had the easy job. I just ran. Everybody else did all the work. They blocked for me," said Glenn, who also had a fourth-quarter interception. "All that sounds good, but when you lose, it takes away from the excitement."

Testaverde, unbeaten in his first six starts for the Jets, was 12 for 28 for 249 yards--virtually all in the first half--and a touchdown. He threw an interception on his first pass of the game and was sacked four times.

But he used big plays for each of the first three scores by the Jets, including a 26-yard pass to Wayne Chrebet that set up the first of three field goals by John Hall.

The touchdown pass from Manning to Small gave Indianapolis a 10-3 lead after one quarter, but the Jets tied it with a 63-yard pass play to Chrebet. On the next New York possession, Testaverde hit Chrebet for 15 yards and Keyshawn Johnson for 22 and 33 yards, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Hall for a 13-10 lead.

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