Trailing the Minnesota Vikings 15-0 with 3:31 left in the third quarter, the Colts faced a third-and-six from their own 24-yard line.

Jared Allen nearly added Peyton Manning to his collection Sunday.

Jared Allen nearly added Peyton Manning to his collection Sunday.

An already depleted offensive line was now missing left tackle Tony Ugoh and Peyton Manning had been taking a beating all day. The Colts had just nine rushing yards, and the entire Metrodome knew Manning was dropping back to pass.

The Colts came up with a play for the highlight reel, perhaps the only play that could awake a team bloodied and against the ropes against a far more physical opponent.

Manning stepped up into the pocket, barely avoiding a charging Jared Allen – who had been terrorizing him since the Colts’ first snap, and fired a strike to Anthony Gonzalez over two Viking defenders.

While being taken down around the Vikings’ 20-yard line Gonzalez pitched a lateral to a streaking Reggie Wayne, who took the ball to the 1-yard line and set up a Joseph Addai touchdown run that changed the complexion of the game.

The Colts will take this win, but should be charged with grand theft. Manning struggled for much of the contest, the Colts’ running game didn’t exist – again, the special teams unit was predictably awful, and the defense was trucked by Adrian Peterson.

But with the game on the line, the Colts got big-time performances across the board.

Manning came through when it mattered, firing a 20-yard bullet to Reggie Wayne on third-and-nine to set up the game-winning field goal; with Bob Sanders sidelined, the Colts’ defense caused the Vikings’ offense to go three-and-out on its final two possessions – something they had only done once to that point; Adam Vinatieri hammered through the 47-yard game winner after hooking one from 30 yards out; and in perhaps the most undersold play of the game, the beaten down Colts’ offensive line opened a hole for Dominic Rhodes to run through on the game-tying two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.

For Indianapolis, a Week 4 bye – usually viewed as too early by coaches and management – has never looked so good. With Jeff Saturday and Dallas Clark sidelined for the Vikings’ game and Ugoh and Bob Sanders joining them by game’s end, the Colts badly need a week of rest – not a good thing two weeks into the season.

Before that break, the Colts will have to tangle with the Jaguars, who have also struggled early and sit at 0-2. Luckily for the Colts, Jacksonville’s offensive line is as banged up as theirs with both of its starting guards out for the season and its center sidelined. Good luck figuring out this one.

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