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INDIANAPOLIS 9, CLEVELAND 6

A Kick Start for Colts

September 08, 2003|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Mike Vanderjagt kicked and made up with the Indianapolis Colts.

Vanderjagt, whose off-season comments in an interview irked his coach, quarterback and teammates, booted a 45-yard field goal with one second left Sunday, leading the Colts to a sloppy 9-6 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm one of the boys on the team, not some idiot kicker," Vanderjagt said.

Shortly after the Colts lost in the playoffs last season, Vanderjagt said Coach Tony Dungy was too nice, quarterback Peyton Manning needed to show more emotion and other players lacked passion.

The normally reserved Manning responded at the Pro Bowl by calling Vanderjagt "an idiot."

And although he had been publicly forgiven, Vanderjagt's game-winning kick probably didn't hurt his popularity with Manning or the other Colts.

"Everything is fine and dandy between me and Mike in Coltsville," Manning said.

Manning, who had two passes intercepted in the first half and wasn't sharp for most of the afternoon, drove the Colts 65 yards in the final 2 minutes 39 seconds to set up Vanderjagt's third field goal.

"Mike and I did that on purpose to win it like that," Manning joked. "Seriously, and we haven't been lying to you, it has been a closed book on the topic since February."

Vanderjagt's winning kick ended what many had expected to be a shootout between two of the AFC's best offenses. Instead, it was an error-filled matchup of penalties, turnovers and blown chances.

"If you would have told me this would be a 9-6 game, I would have said you were crazy," said Cleveland quarterback Kelly Holcomb, who twice had the Browns inside the 10-yard line but couldn't get a touchdown. "That's what caused us to lose."

Manning completed 27 of 43 passes for 211 yards.

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