The weeping team owner held up the game ball and vowed to leave the stadium with it.
Jim Irsay would be taking it to Chuck Pagano, who has everything to do with the Indianapolis Colts’ 30-27 shocker over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday — even though the head coach wasn’t on hand.
“We know what kind of man we have down the street, fighting, fighting for his life, and winning the fight,” Irsay said of Pagano, who has been hospitalized with leukemia. “Everyone in here knows how much that this means, and this ball is going right down the street.”
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne won it with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to complete the Colts’ second-half rally from a 21-3 deficit. Interim coach Bruce Arians acknowledged he was fighting back tears when he spoke to reporters afterward.
Wayne finished with 13 receptions for a career-high 212 yards — the second-highest total in Colts history behind Hall of Famer Raymond Berry in 1957. And he wore orange gloves instead of the traditional pink ones for breast cancer awareness month, because that’s the color for leukemia patients.
“I just wanted to do something, you know, for Chuck,” Wayne explained. “I had some equipment guys make some calls. If they (NFL officials) fine me, they fine me. I really feel like that would be a terrible thing to do, but if so, so be it, I’ll go ahead and take the fine and do it for Chuck.”
Green Bay (2-3) blew the 18-point lead, then had a chance to force overtime, but Mason Crosby badly hooked a 51-yard field goal with 3 seconds to go.
Also, it was New Orleans 31, San Diego 24; New England 31, Denver 21; Atlanta 24, Washington 17; San Francisco 45, Buffalo 3; Chicago 41, Jacksonville 3; Pittsburgh 16, Philadelphia 14; New York Giants 41, Cleveland 27; Minnesota 30, Tennessee 7; Miami 17, Cincinnati 13; Seattle 16, Carolina 12; and Baltimore 9, Kansas City 6.
• Drew Brees, Saints, finished 29 for 45 for 370 yards with four TD passes and an interception in New Orleans’ 31-24 win over San Diego. Brees broke a half-century-old NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game. His 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson eclipsed the mark of 47 consecutive games set by Johnny Unitas from 1956-60.
• Andrew Luck, Colts, finished 31 for 55 for 362 yards with two TD passes and an interception in Indianapolis’ 30-27 win over Green Bay. Luck is the first rookie in NFL history to pass for at least 1,200 yards (1,208) and get at least two wins in his team’s first four games. Luck and Cam Newton are the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards in three of their first four career games.
• Peyton Manning, Broncos, was 31 for 44 for 345 yards with three TDs in Denver’s 31-21 loss to New England.
• Matt Ryan, Falcons, was 34 for 52 for 345 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception in Atlanta’s 24-17 win over Washington. Ryan led the Falcons to 17 fourth-quarter points for his 18th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. That is the most by a quarterback in his first five seasons in the Super Bowl era.
• Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants, finished with 30 carries for 200 yards and a TD in New York’s 41-27 win over Cleveland.
• Stevan Ridley, Patriots, had 28 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 31-21 win over Denver.
• Jamaal Charles, Chiefs, had 30 carries for 140 yards in Kansas City’s 9-6 loss to Baltimore.
• Brandon Marshall, Bears, had 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown in Chicago’s 41-3 win over Jacksonville.•
• Tony Gonzalez, Falcons, had 13 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta’s 24-17 win over Washington. The TD was the 99th of his career, tying Gonzalez for eighth in NFL history with Hall of Famer Don Hutson.
• Michael Crabtree, 49ers, had six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s 45-3 win over Buffalo.
• Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs, Bears. Each player returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown in Chicago’s 41-3 win over Jacksonville. Tillman and Briggs also returned two of the team’s five interceptions for touchdowns in Monday night’s 34-18 victory at Dallas. Tillman and Briggs are the first set of teammates in NFL history to each return an interception for a touchdown in consecutive games. Also, it was the first time since 1950 that Chicago returned interceptions for touchdowns in three consecutive games.
Drew Brees set an NFL record with touchdown passes in 48 straight games, breaking the mark set by Johnny Unitas a half-century ago. The record-setting scoring strike was a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson against the San Diego Chargers. Unitas set the record between 1956 and 1960 and no one had come within 10 games until Brees began to close in late last season. Tom Brady has the third-longest streak, extending his to 37 games in a victory over Denver.
The 49ers amassed a franchise-record 621 yards in blowing by the Buffalo Bills 45-3. San Francisco also became the first team in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing. … Kansas City has committed 19 turnovers through its first five games, the most this early since the New Orleans Saints had 21 of them to start the 1997 season. … Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green had nine catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals’ loss to Miami. Green, who played his 20th career game, has 101 catches, 1,550 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 receptions, 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first 20 career games.
Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Matt Cassel were knocked out of their games with head injuries, and Steelers star safety Troy Polamalu limped off the field after aggravating his strained right calf. Redskins rookie Griffin sustained a “mild concussion,” according to coach Mike Shanahan, when he took a shot to the helmet while scrambling to try to avoid a sack during Washington’s 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Griffin left the game about 10 minutes in to the second half and did not return. He also was treated for a cut on his chin. Cassel, Kansas City’s quarterback, left with a head injury in the fourth quarter after getting hit by Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata while attempting a pass. Cassel remained flat on his back for several minutes before getting helped up and walking off the field under his own power. … The Steelers also lost linebacker LaMarr Woodley with a strained right hamstring.
“It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve never, ever — and I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams — I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than at that moment right there. I get emotional about it because these guys, they work their butts off. Matt Cassel hasn’t done anything to you people. Hey, if he’s not the best quarterback, he’s not the best quarterback, and that’s OK, but he’s a person. And he got knocked out in a game and we’ve got 70,000 people cheering that he got knocked out.” — Chiefs tackle Eric Winston on fans cheering when QB Matt Cassel was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a head injury.