Colts-Chargers: The NFL's Little Big Man Wins It in OT

Vincent JacksonCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2009

The home teams were underdogs coming into this year's Wild Card Weekend.  So far, they're 2-0.  Peyton Manning has another MVP award but this year, he won't have the Lombardi Trophy to add to it.

Darren Sproles capped off a 328 total yard (105 rushing, 45 receiving, 106 on kick returns, 72 on punt returns), two touchdown performance with a 22-yard scamper in overtime to give the San Diego Chargers a 23-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Sproles, playing in place of an injured LaDanian Tomlinson (who did score a touchdown), scored the game-winner after some questionable penalties gave the Chargers favorable field position.  The Chargers eliminated the Colts for the second straight postseason, ending their nine-game winning streak.

NFL MVP Peyton Manning carried most of the load, completing 25 of 42 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown, a 71-yard bomb to Reggie Wayne.  His counterpart Philip Rivers went 20 of 36 for 217 yards and an interception. 

Multiple reports before the game forecasted that Tomlinson would not play due to a torn tendon in his groin, but the former league MVP gutted it out finishing with 25 yards on five carries and a touchdown.

San Diego scored 14 points in the third quarter but still found itself behind late in the fourth with the Colts facing a critical third down-and-short situation.  A conversion would end the game, but Manning was sacked at the one-yard line. With good field position, Rivers then drove his team calmly down the field for the tying field goal.

The Colts never got the ball in overtime as San Diego won the coin toss. Three inexcusable penalties (two defensive holding calls and a facemask) by Indianapolis only made life easier for the Chargers and Sproles had no problem scoring the winning touchdown.

In what maybe his final game as head coach, Tony Dungy could only watch as his team failed to make a big play to give Manning a chance to win. 

The Chargers now move on to the Divisional Round to face either the Titans or Steelers next week.