Minnesota miscues prove costly in loss

Kevin Williams (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)

The Vikings missed sack opportunities, committed too many penalties, blew coverages and generally stumbled their way to a loss.

The Minnesota Vikings watched helplessly as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck picked apart their defense Sunday.

Penalties turned into first downs. Blown coverages became touchdowns. And when the Vikings needed one more stop to force overtime, Luck slipped away and started completing passes down field as well.

After rallying for two late touchdowns and finally tying the score in the final minute, the Colts quarterback took advantage of three more mistakes and got Adam Vinatieri into position for the decisive 53-yard field goal with 8 seconds to go for a 23-20 victory.

"We did some things today that really hurt us. We hurt ourselves," coach Leslie Frazier said. ‘We've got to figure it out. We've got to learn from it and not let it happen going forward. We really shot ourselves in the foot a few different times."

It was a frustrating day for the Vikings (1-1), who thought they had overcome the miscues and were headed to overtime again after tying the score at 20 with 31 seconds to play.

Luck made sure they didn't on a day when little went right for the Vikings.

Minnesota ended the first half by blowing a coverage that Luck exploited for a 30-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne for a 17-6 lead.

Then the Vikings allowed Indy (1-1) to start the second half with a 7-minute, 54-second drive with help from a roughing the kicker penalty on fourth-and-5 and a personal foul call on third-and-16. The penalties led to a 45-yard field goal.

And whenever the Vikings seemed to close in on Luck, he seemed to get away as he did on the 20-yard completions to Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne on the Colts' final drive. Then he drew them offside with 13 seconds left to move the ball into field goal range.

"I just told somebody that if we were flying a jet, we wouldn't have got to him (Luck)," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "He was throwing the ball quick. I don't know what we could have done different."

The victory came in Luck's home debut, something even Peyton Manning couldn't achieve.

A year ago, without Manning or Luck , the Colts started 0-13 and the older guys had to deal with all kinds of speculation about a winless season.

The No. 1 draft pick made sure it didn't happen again. Indy's new quarterback finished 20 of 31 for 224 yards on a solid, not spectacular day.

He played the entire second half without three starters on the offensive line, yet managed to move the Colts into field-goal position twice and actually did his most impressive work eluding pass rushers and throwing on the run.

"It's just amazing that the guy's able to go out there and do the things he does as a rookie," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He certainly had to put the ball on them, and he did."

Sure, Luck made a few miscues — such as taking a 17-yard sack on third-and-5 with 3:00 to play. Or spiking the ball when the clock was already stopped just before Vinatieri came onto the field for his field goal.

But he didn't let the miscues bother him.

"I guess some people were under the impression that the clock was going to run, so I guess we looked a little foolish killing the clock when it was already stopped ," Luck said, laughing as he explained why he spiked the ball with 12 seconds to play. "Oh well."

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