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Vikings trail Colts 17-6 at the half

  • Blog Post by: Mark Craig
  • September 16, 2012 - 1:31 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Looking much more polished than the Vikings' Christian Ponder, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has carried the Colts to a 17-6 halftime lead in his NFL home debut.

Luck has completed 11 of 17 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The second TD was a perfectly-thrown 30-yarder to Reggie Wayne, who got behind nickle middle linebacker Erin Henderson and split safeties Mistral Raymond and Harrison Smith and made an easy catch in the end zone with 7 seconds left in the half.

Ponder has completed 8 of 10 passes for 60 yards. For the second time in two weeks, he lost a fumble that was converted into a field goal. Ponder also misfired badly to Percy Harvin on third-and-six late in the half. That forced the Vikings to go three-and-out, turning the ball back over to the Colts with 1:11 left in the half, plenty of time for Luck to take the Colts 64 yards in eight plays.

The Vikings took the opening kickoff and went 44 yards in 12 plays. Blair Walsh kicked a 51-yard field goal, tying a franchise record with at least one field goal of 50 yards or longer in consecutive games. Fuad Reveiz set the record during the first two games of the 1992 season.

The Colts took the ensuing kickoff and went 80 yards in 13 plays. In a five-wide set on third-and-goal from the 3, Andrew Luck found tight end Dwayne Allen in the front of the end zone for the touchdown and a 7-3 lead. Allen caught the ball in front of safety Mistral Raymond and cornerback Antoine Winfield.

The highlight of the drive came three plays earlier when Donnie Avery beat Winfield for a 41-yard catch to the 3-yard line. Luck also overcame three third-down situations and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Allen during the drive. Before the TD throw, he scrambled seven yards on third-and-four and completd a 13-yard pass to Avery on third-and-nine.

The Vikings scored again on their second drive, closing to within a point when Walsh kicked a 29-yard field goal. The nine-play, 46-yard drive stalled when Ponder's swing pass to Percy Harvin went five yards on third-and-7. Harvin caught the ball five yards behind the line of scrimmage and was pushed out of bounds short of the first down.

After holding the Colts to a three-and-out -- with Jared Allen batting down a Luck pass on third-and-three -- the Vikings turned the ball over when Ponder lost his second fumble in as many weeks. He lost two all last season.

On an all-out blitz, Ponder held the ball too long, allowing inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman to come up with a strip sack up the middle. End Cory Redding fell on the ball at the Vikings' 48-yard line.

Nine plays and 40 yards later, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 26-yard field goal with 1:49 left in the half. The Vikings went three-and-out, taking only 23 seconds off the clock and setting up Luck for the late TD throw.

The Colts got even more bad news regarding their offensive line when center Samson Satele left the game with an injury. He walked to the locker room early. The Colts already were missing two starters on the line with left guard Joe Reitz (knee) and right tackle Winston Justice (concussion) inactive because of injuries. The starter at left guard is Seth Olsen, who spent the past two years on the Vikings' practice squad.

When Satele went out late in the second quarter, the Colts moved right guard Mike McGlynn to center and put Trai Essex at right guard. Essex, the former Steeler, was signed on Monday.

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