El Dorado Hills’ Collie helps Colts make the Super Bowl
El Dorado Hills native Austin Collie is going to the Super Bowl. After an amazing performance in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, he was a main reason the Indianapolis Colts got in the big game, but he now could be a big reason the Indianapolis Colts win it, too.
Collie put a stamp on his stellar rookie NFL season with a seven-catch, 123-yard performance yesterday, including the most important touchdown catch of the game.
Just like he did in his days as an Oak Ridge Trojan, Collie found a way to take over the game, and with the help of quarterback Peyton Manning, carried his team back into a game they were on their way to losing.
Down 17-6 against the New York Jets late in the second quarter, things looked dismal for the Colts. Playing the best defense in the NFL, the Colts drove downfield twice earlier only to come away with field goals. Then, with only 2:11 left before the half, Manning changed the game plan to focus on Collie.
In just four plays, the Colts drove 80 yards down the field in 58 seconds to get an important score and swing the momentum before halftime. The first play was an incomplete pass to tight end Dallas Clark, Manning’s usually surefire target. The other three went to Collie.
On second down, Manning threw a pass short left to Collie, who then ran with the ball after the catch for a reception totaling 18 yards. On the following play, Manning threw deep to Collie, who beat double coverage for a 46-yard catch before being tackled at the New York 16 yard line. On the final play, Manning threw over the top of defenders in the back of the end zone to a diving Collie who caught a 16-yard touchdown.
The Colts went into halftime only down 17-13 shortly after that drive. Essentially, that series may have won them the game.
The Jets went scoreless the entire second half, deflated from Manning and Collie’s first-half heroics. The Colts, meanwhile, used the momentum they gained from that final score to rattle off 17 more points in the second half and seal a spot in the Super Bowl.
Much of the praise after the game went to fellow Colts’ receiver Pierre Garcon, who finished a fantastic game with 11 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. While Garcon was born in Florida, his family is originally from Haiti, and many members still lived there as earthquakes recently devastated the country. The focus naturally went with his success in the game, as his 11 receptions were an AFC Championship game record and his touchdown was the go-ahead score for the Colts.
But Collie’s effort won’t be forgotten, despite being overshadowed. He is completely on Manning’s radar now, and with each team focused on shutting down top receiver Reggie Wayne, Manning has become an expert at finding alternative sources for scoring.
“They had their shine on today,” Wayne said of Collie and Garcon to reporters after the game. “Those guys have been working all year, just been grinding, waiting for the opportunity. And the AFC championship game was a great time to show it.”
Garcon and Collie provide a one-two punch no team can stop, not even the best defense in the NFL.
With the New Orleans Saints coming into the big game with a defense nowhere near as talented, look for the Colts to light up the scoreboard again, and look for Collie to continue to make a name for himself and the Sacramento area with every opportunity he gets.