"It's not a lot of fun," Vinatieri said. "We're close in every game, and we're not just making a play to win the game."
Instead, they've become rather practiced at giving them away. This one got away on two plays.
"Each game, we're in it in the fourth quarter and something happens," defensive back Jerraud Powers said. "Something dramatic happens."
Once again, they had a chance at the end.
"I thought I was down," Garcon said. "Having it come down to that play, it's tough. It's the same story -- we've got to finish games off. We're close, but things happen."
Bad things happen, that is.
Two weeks earlier, Tampa Bay scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a 24-17 win over the Colts. Then, Kansas City scored three straight touchdowns to pull out a 28-24 win.
This time, they blew chances to catch up.
"We're close," linebacker Pat Angerer said. "We're not a bad team. We've got great players. We're not getting blown out. It's just a little thing here or there."
Clements got it going by stripping Dallas Clark of the ball on Painter's first completion, setting up Dalton's 11-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
Not a good way to go against the NFL's top-ranked defense.
Painter's 1-yard touchdown pass to Clark - the tight end made a one-hand catch at the back of the end zone - cut it to 20-17 with 9:33 left. He would get them in range for the tying field goal, only to have Clements - a free agent acquisition who replaced Johnathan Joseph - slap it away. Dunlap's fumble return ended Indy's chances.
"It's disappointing, but not discouraging," said Painter, who was 23 of 34 for 188 yards with his first interception in 115 attempts. "We're going to keep going and work for that win."
Notes: The Colts' other such starts: 1997 (0-10), 1991 (0-9), 1986 (0-13) and 1982 (0-6). ... Colts LB A.J. Edds left the game in the third quarter and was evaluated for a possible concussion. ... Nugent's miss from 43 yards into a swirling wind snapped his streak of 13 straight field goals to start the season. ... It was the Bengals' first blocked field goal since Antwan Odom blocked Kris Brown's try on Oct. 18, 2009 against Houston.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press