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Vanderjagt Gets Kicks In for Colts

October 14, 2002|From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Vanderjagt didn't think he had been kicking properly all season.

On Sunday, he got it right. Five times.

Vanderjagt's career high was capped by a 38-yard game-winner that completed Indianapolis' last-minute rally for a 22-20 victory over Baltimore.

"I haven't been real confident all year, but on Wednesday, I kicked some field goals and kind of realized what I was doing wrong," Vanderjagt said. "To learn on Wednesday is a good time, because today I had a lot more confidence."

There were no signs of Vanderjagt's concern before Sunday.

He was still the league's most accurate kicker despite going five for seven in the Colts' first four games.

Although the Ravens (2-3) forced him to nearly match that total in four quarters, the Colts (4-1) never doubted Vanderjagt would come through.

"He tells me all the time that he's the most accurate kicker in the history of the league, so just get him close and he'll put it through," Coach Tony Dungy said.

The Colts relied on Vanderjagt, and he produced with field goals of 39, 50, 43 and 25 yards before making the game-winner, and on a defense that proved nearly as formidable as Baltimore's. Indianapolis forced seven fumbles, recovering two.

Baltimore, playing without All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis for the first time in 64 regular-season games, held Edgerrin James to a career-low 43 yards in 17 carries.

But it was a defensive mistake that gave quarterback Peyton Manning a chance to complete the comeback.

With a little more than a minute left and Indianapolis facing fourth and 10, Baltimore chased Manning from the pocket. He lobbed an errant pass for Qadry Ismail. When Ismail jumped for the ball, cornerback Gary Baxter plowed into him, drawing a 22-yard pass interference that put Indianapolis at the Baltimore 42.

It took Manning five more plays to put Vanderjagt in position for the winning kick, giving the Colts their third victory in a row.

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