Playoff win is welcome diversion for Colts' Garcon

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pierre Garcon was smiling again.

The Indianapolis Colts' wide receiver spent the week worrying about family members in Haiti after a devastating earthquake Tuesday. He has heard from some relatives, but many are still missing.

A divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens provided a needed diversion for Garcon. He caught five passes for 34 yards in the Colts' 20-3 win Saturday night that moved them within one victory of the Super Bowl.

"Winning the game always helps you forget about your problems a little bit," Garcon said. "Sports does that a lot. Hopefully, us winning helps the people back (in Haiti) feel a little bit better. It's now back to reality, but sports helps you forget a little bit."

Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell said Garcon was strong, both during the week and in the game.

"He's one of those guys that, he doesn't get rattled very often," Caldwell said. "He's really had, I think, great, extraordinary focus. Obviously, the circumstances that he's dealing with are very, very difficult. For him to be able to come out and focus in on the ballgame and perform extremely well says a lot about him."

Garcon acknowledged that getting focused was a challenge.

"It was a little tough," he said. "I wasn't as hyped as I would usually be. But once you start playing, start hitting, you kind of just go out and battle."

Garcon caught back-to-back passes for 8 and 7 yards on the Colts' opening drive, which ended in Matt Stover's field goal.

His biggest play was a forced fumble. Baltimore safety Ed Reed intercepted a deep pass intended for him and put together a nifty 38-yard return, but Garcon caught up with him and punched the ball out. Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark recovered, and Stover made a 33-yard field goal to make it 20-3.

"We had him beat," Garcon said. "He took my touchdown away, so I had to go get it back."

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had hoped to get Garcon a touchdown.

"We had a missed assignment in the route, and it kind of allowed Reed to free up over the top of Garcon," Manning said. "We should have had somebody running the middle to kind of hold him, but he got the interception."

Manning said Garcon made a heads-up play.

"Great play by Garcon, forcing the turnover," Manning said. "Really, a huge play. The turnover could have been avoided, but once it happened, great job by Pierre."

Even as Garcon enjoyed the win, his mind was on his family. He carried a Haitian flag to the podium for the postgame news conference and talked about how people have responded to his fundraising efforts on Twitter and Facebook.

"We've gotten a lot of support," he said. "Support from all over. People in Indianapolis, on the team, everybody has handed out a hand to help me help the country and help us get back on our feet."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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