|Reche Caldwell's dropped passes helped contribute to the Colts' comeback victory over the Patriots.|
First, Indianapolis overcame a 21-3 first-half deficit, making it the largest comeback in a conference final in NFL history. Second, the win came against the team that had knocked the Colts out of the playoffs in two of the previous three seasons. Third, it ended any talk that quarterback Peyton Manning could not win the "big game," an notion he further dispelled two weeks later by being named MVP of the Coltsâ Super Bowl XLI win over the Chicago Bears. And finally, it came at home, where long-suffering Colts fans could celebrate into the night.
The crucial swing occurred with the Patriots ahead, 34-31, late in the fourth quarter. After a big stop by the Indianapolis defense, Manning engineered an 80-yard drive culminated by Joseph Addaiâs 3-yard touchdown run with one minute to play. It gave the Colts their only lead of the game and the only one they would need, as Marlin Jackson preserved the win by picking off Tom Brady in the final seconds.